The College of The Bahamas :: Oakes Field :: P.O. Box N-4912 :: Nassau, The Bahamas :: Tel (242) 302.4300 :: Email cob@cob.edu.bs

   Research > The Poultry Research Unit (PRU)




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Poultry Research Unit (PRU)

As part of a Sustainable Science Initiative (SSI), the Poultry Research Unit is a long-term project of the Marine and Environmental Studies Institute, which operates a fully automated broiler production system.

PRU carries out research and training programmes focused on sustainable broiler production for The Bahamas. The Unit focuses on sustainable tropical island agriculture and allows avenues for collaboration with counterparts with similar concerns or research foci and fundraising.

The College of The Bahamas completed construction of the first phase of PRU in mid-2004 with the generous funding provided through the Freedom Foundation and is located on a three-acre lot provided by the Ministry of Agriculture at the Gladstone Road Agricultural Centre, New Providence, Bahamas.

An Excellent Situation for Research in Broiler Production
The Bahamas is an excellent locale in which to conduct research in poultry production. Broiler production is critical to providing both locally-grown food as well as economic opportunities in the agriculture sector. There is a tremendous demand for chicken within the country, but about 70% of the local demand is imported. A conservative estimate of local consumption is 100 pounds or 25 chickens per person per year. This translates to a family of four consuming about two chickens per week; or an annual consumption of seven million chickens in The Bahamas, this does not include consumption by tourists.

Historically, poultry production has been carried out on the extreme scales:
  1. Large farms with over 10,000 birds produced per week
  2. Very few small farms with fewer than 1000 per week, and
  3. Subsistence farming by local households.

Goals of PRU
Through the Poultry Research Unit, COB is committed to
  • developing better small production models to improve the nutritional value of broiler chickens and reduce the environmental impacts of intensive poultry farming
  • producing case studies, outreach materials and scientific publications that address the technical economic and environmental impacts of broiler farming in The Bahamas and may prove useful to programmes in other small island states.
The production capacity of the PRU is approximately 24,000 chickens in a six-week cycle, utilising a tunnel-ventilation/evaporation cooling system when operating fully staffed. Using seven workers, a batch processing facility permits the processing of about 800 chickens per day. This facility provides a hygienic environment for processing and waste treatment through an adjacent septic system. There is no comparable facility available in The Bahamas. The implementation of the batch processing facility is part of the longer-term development plan of the PRU to look at the overall poultry production process for raising chickens to marketing a high-end product.

Future Developments at PRU
An additional phase to the PRU will be the incorporation of a compost system to create a closed cycle of production where all chicken waste, including dead chickens, viscera from post processing, including manure, will be broken down in an intensive composting process to produce soil-like humus that can be utilised in sustainable crop production.

Outreach and Educational Programmes
A recent outreach programme involved the participation of six public schools, which purchased day-old chickens from the PRU for use in school broiler production projects. Participating groups were responsible for the construction of poultry units to address poultry husbandry housing systems and environmental concerns. All the houses were an estimated 15' x 15', using natural ventilation. The revenue from the sale of chickens was earmarked for future cycles of chicken production.
The College of The Bahamas :: Oakes Field :: P.O. Box N-4912 :: Nassau, The Bahamas :: Tel (242) 302.4300 :: Email cob@cob.edu.bs
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The College of The Bahamas :: Oakes Field :: P.O. Box N-4912 :: Nassau, The Bahamas :: Tel (242) 302.4300 :: Email cob@cob.edu.bs
The College of The Bahamas :: Oakes Field :: P.O. Box N-4912 :: Nassau, The Bahamas :: Tel (242) 302.4300 :: Email cob@cob.edu.bs