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Modelling as a Research Tool in Poultry Science

20 January 2014

Poultry Science journal

Professor Rob Gous reviews the use of models in developing our understanding of the poultry science in this newly published research paper.

The World's Poultry Science Association (WPSA) is a long-established and unique organization that strives to advance knowledge and understanding of all aspects of poultry science and the poultry industry, according to R.M. Gous of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

In a paper published in Poultry Science, he explains that WPSA's three main aims are education, organisation and research.

The WPSA Keynote Lecture, entitled 'Modeling as a research tool in poultry science', addresses two of these aims, namely, the value of modelling in research and education.

The role of scientists is to put forward and then to test theories. These theories, or models, may be simple or highly complex, but they are aimed at improving our understanding of a system or the interaction between systems. In developing a model, the scientist must take into account existing knowledge, and in this process gaps in our knowledge of a system are identified.

Useful ideas for research are generated in this way, and experiments may be designed specifically to address these issues.

Professor Gous concludes that the resultant models become more accurate and more useful, and can be used in education and extension as a means of explaining many of the complex issues that arise in poultry science.

In his paper, he examines models as a teaching tool as well as the contribution of modelling to our understanding of:

  • feed intake and growth in broilers
  • reproduction in laying hens and broiler breeders, and
  • predicting age at sexual maturity.


Gous R.M. 2014. Modeling as a research tool in poultry science. Poultry Science. 93(1):1-7. doi: 10.3382/ps.2013-03466

Further Reading

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January 2014

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