The University of Guelph is internationally recognized for its poultry research vision to meet the needs of industry. They have created the Poultry Health Research network to harvest the momentum of poultry research in Guelph and enhance its impact with other universities in Canada and Abroad. PHRN creates a cross-disciplinary network of research excellence in poultry health, integrating cutting edge research with high quality education for the next generation of poultry specialists and researchers.

Research at University of Guelph

  • Over 70 expert researchers
  • State-of-the-art facilties
  • High-health flock and specialized lines of chickens at Arkell research station

Working with industry & government on leading-edge solutions in

  • Health

  • Welfare

  • Food safety & quality

  • Nutrition & productivity

Poultry Research for the International Poultry Network - World-class research for healthier flocks

 Our Expertise


Our members conduct a wide range of research on poultry health and disease with the goal to protect poultry flocks against pathogens which can cause significant economic losses to the industry and are a concern to human health.

PHRN members have expertise in infectious agents such as avian influenza virus, Marek’s disease virus, fowl adenovirus, Clostridium perfringens, and Eimeria (which causes coccidiosis). Our members’ studies enhance understanding of how these microorganisms cause disease and how their hosts recognize and respond to them. These investigations help develop better strategies to control these infectious agents.

As well, PHRN members are involved in development and routine use of diagnostic tests for these and other poultry pathogens. Our members also have expertise in epidemiologic investigation of disease, disease modeling and disease control at the field level.


Optimizing management practices and advancing our understanding of poultry nutrition are indispensable to a successful poultry industry. Our members have been involved in advanced poultry nutrition research for several decades and have made several discoveries in this area. They are also researching better methods for mycotoxin control in poultry feed. Other research focuses on better understanding the influence of lighting on egg production, and on general health and welfare of poultry.


Pathogens such as Campylobacter and Salmonella may be transmitted from poultry or poultry products to humans, causing food-borne illness. Researchers are investigating ways to reduce these bacterial infections in chickens and control transmission to humans. Research has been conducted to develop probiotic formulations and to create vaccines against food-borne pathogens. As well, ongoing programs are monitoring presence and distribution of antimicrobial resistance in food-borne pathogens that infect poultry. These studies have important implications for human health.


Poultry welfare is increasingly a central component of our poultry industry. Producers are exploring new ways to enhance flock welfare and well-being. Our members are engaged in pioneering research examining ways to optimize flock management while improving poultry welfare. Researchers are examining various caging systems and their effects on bird health, productivity and welfare.

Improving Poultry Welfare - Transport Decision Tree

Developed by the Ontario Poultry Industry, the decision tree has been designed as a decision aid regarding the loading and transportation of poultry.

This project received funding from The University of Guelph, Knowledge Transfer and Translation, Poultry Industry Council, Chicken Farmers of Ontario, Egg Farmers of Ontario, Turkey Farmers of Ontario, Ontario Broiler Hatching Egg and Chick Commission, Association of Chicken Processors and the Ontario Farm Animal Council.

>> visit Poultry Industry Council website for brochure, posters and further details.


PHRN members also conduct research in other diverse areas, including the poultry industry’s impact on the environment, poultry’s role in international development and use of birds as models of human disease.