PhD student in the research education subject: Animal Science, Ethology



Department of Animal Environment and Health in Uppsala 
PhD student in the research education subject: Animal Science, Ethology

Never wake a sleeping broiler - An undisturbed natural resting pattern in broilers

Broilers are reared in large mixed-sex flocks with a typical lighting regime of 6 hours darkness and 18 hours light. Young chicks with a mother hen rest often during daytime (about 40 minutes brooding with 40 minutes intervals) and this pattern may be disturbed in commercial practice, where chicks are reared without mother hens.

Rest and sleep are considered to serve vital functions like tissue restoration and growth, energy conservation, immune competence, neurobehavioral and neurocognitive performance, memory processing and learning and increased waste clearance in the brain.

This project aims to minimize disturbance of resting in broilers and induce a sleep/wake rhythm that resembles a natural pattern. The hypothesis is that less disturbance and a more natural pattern will result in improved welfare (e.g. lower fearfulness, fewer leg problems) and better
productivity (e.g. growth, feed conversion, immune status) and thus create shared value for animals, farmers and consumers.

The main focus of the project is on the provision of dark periods either by the use of dark brooders or lighting regime. The effects of diverse enrichments will also be evaluated. The project is in collaboration with researchers in Denmark.

The student will plan the project together with supervisors, perform behavioural observations and other data gathering (including literature studies) in the project, perform statistical analyses and write manuscripts of publications alone or together with the supervisors. Some laboratory work is also involved. Staff from SLU or other facilities and/or students may be involved in the practical
work. To acquire general and specific competences and research skills, the student will participate in various courses and trainings. The research student, with the support of the supervisory team, has primary responsibility for the delivery of a thesis of an appropriate standard within the time frame of the project.

We are seeking a highly motivated PhD student with a strong background in biology or the animal sciences to work in a multi-disciplinary research group. You should have good knowledge of ethology applied to animal welfare. You should be conscientious, open-minded, independent and able to express yourself well orally and in written text in English. Some knowledge of Swedish is a benefit. A stay in Denmark for several weeks is foreseen. The practical part of the project will be carried out at the university poultry facilities so a driving license is required.

Forms for funding or employment
Employment as PhD student

SLU is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

A person has basic eligibility for third cycle education if he or she has taken a second cycle qualification or has completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, including at
least 60 higher education credits at second cycle education. Upper secondary school grades equivalent to English B/English 6 are a basic requirement.

Selection among applicants meeting the requirements is made with reference to written application including curriculum vitae, copies of degrees and transcripts of academic records, one copy of the
dissertation for masters or undergraduate degree, a list of at least two references familiar with the applicant's qualifications, certified knowledge of the English language and an interview.

Read about the PhD education at SLU at


Further information:
Professor Harry Blokhuis,,

Academic union representatives
SACO Saco-S föreningen SLU +46 (0)18 67 10 85
SEKO Linda Thörnström +46 (0)18 67 10 57
ST Lotta Olsson +46 (0)18 67 15 36

Applications, marked with ref no SLU ua 2018.2.5.1-517, must
have arrived at the Registrar of SLU, P.O. Box 7070, SE-750 07
Uppsala or no later than 2018-03-12.