Poultry Ectoparasite Projects
Research projects in the lab have focused on host-parasite interactions, specifically with ectoparasites of livestock. This system allows for basic research with agricultural applications. Novel control methods for use in furnished-cage, cage-free, and organic egg production have been tested and found to be helpful tools for integrated pest management (IPM) of common ectoparasites such as the northern fowl mite and chicken body louse.
The lab is currently working on measuring the effects mites and lice have on animal welfare and behavior. Welfare is a growing concern in animal agriculture, and the effects arthropod pests and parasites have on animal welfare is not well defined. This work has been a collaborative effort with computer scientists & engineers and animal scientists to develop and use on-animal sensors to track behaviors. Results from this work will provide better insight into the effects arthropods have on animals.
Emerging ectoparasite issues in poultry are of special interest to the lab. Poultry housing changes are wide-spread as consumer demand for cage-free eggs increases. These housing changes can impact ectoparasite communities associated with chickens, and practical management solutions will need to be developed to solve real-world issues.
Sampling ectoparasites in Mallorca, Spain 2017