After considering the study design, pilot studies and necessary preparations, we’ve been running our preference test for a couples of weeks now. This means that a few groups of our chickens are moved from their home pen to the test pen, where they will be observed closely for a couple of days. Observations run through a live camera system and are executed multiple times a day. The results are our so called ‘data’ and play the lead role for my degree project. Analysing these data will keep me busy for probably the rest of summer!
A sneak peek into our ‘research kitchen’ – Keeping an eye out on both halves of all test pens
The idea sounds not too difficult, but it took some time to get the hang of a smooth practical execution. Because after each round of observations the chickens need to be moved back to their home pens, lights will need to be swapped and the pens cleaned before moving in the new groups. And also, how are you going to catch and handle the chickens, without causing them a lot of stress? Turning of the lights in the stables completely, turned out to be a magic spell to be able to catch and lift the chickens in a calm manner and move them into their moving boxes. Though it’s quite fun to do, it’s physically demanding, on one day you might have to catch and move almost a hundred chickens!
Any questions? Feel free to ask them below.
Last week we changed from the first half of the Autumn semester to the second half. It’s hard to believe already a quarter of this academic year has flown by again. I am kind of sad that the horse-course is over, but I guess all good things must come to an end. However I am planning on writing a few more posts on the course and also I haven’t gotten my exam back yet… so might not be over at all. However, for now I would like to tell you about my new course. Actually, it’s not really a ‘course’-course, I am starting this period with my degree project – also known as master thesis. This project is accountable for a quarter of the total amount of ECTS in the master programme Animal Science, so yes, kind of important 😉
“For most of us the degree project will be the first time to actually take part in an experiment.”
As I see it a degree project is kind of a sneak peak into academic life, like an internship on a PhD-position. Even though you may already have written a thesis for you bachelor, for most of us the degree project will be the first time to actually take part in an experiment. As a student in Animal Science this often concerns animal experiments, something that should not be considered lightly. Luckily a lot of these studies are not invasive to the animals, but it depends strongly on what direction your specializing in.
Right now I am going through the registration process and am working on my research plan proposal. This means that I already should have a clear idea of what and how I am planning to do the research. As my project is part of a larger project, certain things are already decided while other aspects are still open to my own interpretation. And of course everything is guided by your supervisor.
I am looking very much forward on the work ahead in the degree project but I must admit that the beginning is a bit of a struggle. In Dutch we have a saying ‘Alle begin is moeilijk’, which literally translates to ‘all starts are difficult’. I think there’s a lot of truth to it, or at least there is for me, haha. However, there is another saying ‘Een goed begin is het halve werk‘ which means ‘a good start is half the job’. My point being that the start may be difficult, but doing the beginning properly will pay off later 🙂