Poultry Health Course delivers access to world-leading expertise on infectious diseases

To claim your 25% discount, enter ‘BEAK25’ into the ‘Promotional / Discount Code’ field on the ‘Funding and Finance’ section of your AFTP online Poultry Health Course application. This offer is limited to five course participants on a first-come, first served basis and applies to the online course only.


The Poultry Health Course is one of the UK’s longest-running poultry courses. It was established at the Houghton Poultry Research Station in the 1970s and continues to provide industry professionals with up-to-date information about the nature, diagnosis and control of infectious diseases of poultry.

The course is now accredited by the University of Nottingham and is available online from October 2018 to June 2019 via the AgriFood Training Partnership in association with the Pirbright Institute.

A 25 per cent discount on course fees is available to the first five people to apply for the online course. The offer is limited to the first five course participants on a first-come, first served basis.

A residential face-to-face version of the Poultry Health Course is also available each Spring, with the next course starting on 23 April 2019.

Professor Venugopal Nair OBE, Head of Avian Viral Diseases at the Pirbright Institute will deliver lectures on Marek’s Diseases and Virus, Lymphoid Leukosis Virus and Reticuloendotheliosis Virus. He said: “The major challenge to the sustainable growth of global poultry farming comes from diseases.

“This course will be immensely valuable for those working towards improved control of avian diseases. Comprehensive lectures covering the most recent advances on various avian pathogens and associated diseases are given by highly experienced experts in the field.”

World-renowned poultry scientists and veterinary practitioners

The course will provide a comprehensive background to the rearing of chickens, turkeys, ducks and game birds for meat and poultry, including the global industry.

Michael Clark, Veterinary Adviser at Boehringer Ingelheim, whose modules focus on diseases of ducks and game birds said, “Graduates in the poultry industry often want to further their knowledge of poultry health and production. There is no better place than the Poultry Health Course to learn from world-renowned poultry scientists and experienced poultry veterinary practitioners.”

Paul Barrow, Professor of Veterinary Infectious Diseases at the University of Nottingham is one of the foremost global experts in avian salmonellosis. He said: “Poultry is a major source of high quality, healthy, meat eaten by the majority of the world’s population. Much of it is produced by rearing methods which are intensive to different degrees. The presence of large numbers of birds in a single site facilitates the rapid spread of infectious diseases which is an important cause of economic loss to the industry.

“The global nature of trade also means that new diseases and pathogens spread very easily.

“It is important to understand the nature and causes of these diseases and their infectious agents and what might be done to minimise the effects and avoid diseases in the first place. The Poultry Health Course is of relevance to the global poultry industry for the 21st century.”

Studying the course online

Since 2015 the Poultry Health Course has been available online as well as face-to-face. Designed for those unable to attend the residential course, the information available from this world-class course is now available to a global audience.

For each topic, a brief video introduction is given by the lecturer followed by the full series of slides accompanied by an audio commentary delivered by the lecturer. Participants then have the opportunity to test the knowledge they have gained through an online tutorial session.

Topics will usually be released at a rate of one per week. There will be a short break in December, and a revision period before the exam in Summer. All participants will, therefore, work through the course at approximately the same pace. Participants will have access to an online forum where they can discuss the topics and ask questions to the module convenor. The expectation is that participants who start the course in October 2018 will complete it by June 2019 with the opportunity to sit an exam in the summer following completion of the course.

Dr Susan Baigent, Avian Pathology and Virology Scientist at the Pirbright Institute, includes molecular approaches to diagnosis of poultry diseases in the modules she delivers. She said: “The Poultry Health Course will equip poultry veterinary surgeons, technical staff, managers and industry professionals with knowledge, understanding and practical skills which they can apply immediately to benefit their job role.”

Topics and areas covered

Richard Jennison from Minster Veterinary Practice will deliver lectures on hatchery practice, the turkey industry, turkey diseases and biosecurity. He said, “Speaking as a presenter, as well as a former delegate, the Poultry Health Course provides a comprehensive programme of scientific and practical information in this fast moving and innovative livestock industry.”

Subjects covered include poultry rearing, nutrition, pathology, parasitology, virology and bacteriology coupled with applied subjects such as vaccination, post-mortem examination and laboratory diagnosis.

Key areas include:

  • Major and emerging viral pathogens of poultry.

  • Major bacterial, protozoan and fungal pathogens of poultry

  • Poultry production

  • Biosecurity and field investigations

  • Laboratory approaches to control diseases in poultry

  • Medication and vaccination

Learn more about the Poultry Health Course

An overview of the course is available here

Full details are available on the dedicated Poultry Health Course microsite. The course can form part of a Post Graduate Certificate together with a course on poultry nutrition and the economics of the poultry industry. This can contribute to a full MSc in Agrifood.

Video: Why companies need someone with a profound understanding of poultry health.

To claim your 25% discount, enter ‘BEAK25’ into the ‘Promotional / Discount Code’ field on the ‘Funding and Finance’ section of your AFTP online Poultry Health Course application. This offer is limited to five course participants on a first-come, first served basis and applies to the online course only.

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