4 December 2007

Who would have thought that animal nutrition studies would lead to an intense interstate rivalry? Students from the School of Animal Studies at The University of Queensland’s Gatton Campus have again defended State pride this month, being announced overall winners of the second annual "State of Origin Chicken Challenge".

The competition, between the students at UQ Gatton and the University of New England (UNE) at Armidale, is putting the students' animal nutrition knowledge to the test. According to Team Queensland captain, Dr Gordon Dryden, a senior lecturer with the School of Animal Studies, the students have to devise a range of feeding rations designed to maximise the growth and efficiency of food use of broiler chickens.

“According to the rules of the competition, the students at each University have to feed a total of seven diets, including three designed by the UNE team, one commercial diet and three diets designed by the UQ students," Dr Dryden said.

“The winners of the competition were awarded based on overall weight gain and efficiency of food use.”

The "State of Origin Chicken Challenge" has become part of the animal nutrition course at the UQ Gatton Campus and the students have keenly followed the progress of their feathered friends, incorporating learning about this very important topic with a small amount of friendly interstate rivalry.

This year’s victorious UQ team consisted of 20 students and Dr Dryden. Students travelled to Armidale for the announcement of the winners and an informative day of information-sharing between the institutions.

“The chicken industry in Australia is worth more than one billion dollars a year to the Australian economy – these Gatton students are working on developing their understanding of one of the basic principles governing the industry, standing them in good stead to be future industry participants and leaders," Dr Dryden said.

Media inquiries: Susanne Schick – UQ Gatton Campus (5460 1229, 0409 265 587).

Further information/comment: Dr Gordon Dryden (5460 1255).