Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Poultry Science (PhD)

Degree Level



Poultry Science


Orlowski, Sara K.

Committee Member

Anthony, Nicholas B.

Second Committee Member

Kidd, Michael T.


Broilers, Genetics, Poultry, Quail, Statistics


The poultry industry is integral to the global agricultural system as consumption rates continue to rise worldwide. With the global population projected to reach 10 billion by 2050, there is an increasing need for efficient and sustainable animal protein sources. Feed efficiency is a significant factor in poultry production costs, as feed accounts for 50 to 70% of total production costs. Given increasing concerns surrounding feed efficiency improvements, there is a focus on the genetic improvement of broiler digestibility to improve nutrient utilization and reduce production costs. Water availability is also of critical concern for the poultry industry, as estimates suggest that freshwater availability needs to increase by ~25 percent to meet the needs of increasing population and production. Although broilers have the lowest water footprint of any meat protein, there is still an opportunity to improve water efficiency in broilers. One study aimed to evaluate the effect of sex on the growth performance and feed efficiency of Japanese quail. Female quails consistently reported higher body weights and feed intake; however, no differences were reported in FCR among male and female quails, suggesting that male quails may have the potential for increased relative feed efficiency. Another study assessed the efficacy of conventional and novel water monitoring systems on commercial broiler strains. The study demonstrates that bell waterers lack accuracy and result in increased water intake. Furthermore, the novel low-flow water monitoring system accurately measures water-related production traits without negatively affecting growth performance. Lastly, a final study examined the influence of conventional and novel water monitoring methods on the processing performance of commercial broiler strains. Research results show that water monitoring methods have minimal impact on processing performance and meat quality. These results are encouraging in that the novel low-flow water monitoring system is an accurate and viable method of measuring water intake in poultry. The poultry industry has made significant strides in improving efficiency and sustainability; however, further research into resource sustainability is critical for ensuring food security and reduced environmental impacts in the face of an increasing global population and resource scarcity.

Available for download on Friday, August 30, 2024