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Meet Rick van Emous, our new member of the board

We have some great news to share. It’s with pleasure that we  announce Rick van Emous  will be joining DPC as a member of the board.  We’re delighted Rick is here! On behalf of our team we’d like to extend our warmest welcome and best wishes to Rick!

We asked Rick to introduce himself.

"Born on a mixed farm in the eternally beautiful Putten, my interest in animals is in my DNA. Like any good Veluwe farm, we kept cows, pigs, chickens (broiler breeders), dogs, cats, ponies, etc. It’s interesting to consider why I have such a passion for broiler breeders – especially given how much I remember being eight years old and having to hatch eggs (by hand) in a fairly hostile environment. At that time, broiler breeders could still go ‘broody’, which meant they could react with aggression towards innocent little hands coming to ‘snatch’ their offspring. There were cockerels running around too, weighing in at about five kilogrammes each, looking to chase away any intruders. To ultimately escape the coop without getting injured or breaking any of the eggs, I used to collect eggs (with a stick) with my brother, who was three years younger than me. My passion for broiler breeders, over animals like cows and pigs, may have to do with the smaller size of the breeding stock. I think that generally, you could say that poultry has been a recurring factor in my life. During my college days, catching chickens with my brothers and friends was a tough but financially appealing way to supplement my basic scholarship. It was always evening and overnight work which, under the name ECCC (Emous Chicken Catch Crew), meant that we had some pretty tall tales to share within our family.

Foto Rick1 small

During my studies at CAH and, in particular, my six-month internship at De Schothorst in Lelystad, my interest in research was piqued. This almost logically led to my first role at the then COVP (Centre for Research and Information on Poultry Farming) in Beekbergen. After some time spent with other organisations and doing other work, I ultimately ended up with a combination of my first love – research with chickens – back in 1998. After years of working on laying hens, I was able to return to broiler breeders in 2003, much to my delight. After completing a project on fertilisation problems in broiler breeders in 2007, I conceived the idea of taking a serious look at the nutrition given to modern broiler breeders. I was triggered that year by statements made by two breeder farmers about the feed given to broiler breeders, especially the absence of fat in the birds. With these comments, along with indications from specialist literature, the realisation began to grow that the feed was no longer fit for the requirements of a modern broiler breeder, particularly the energy-to-protein ratio, which should be higher. Many years of selective breeding meant that broilers and breeders were growing ever more meat (breast fillet) and much less fat (reserve). This was the starting point for a major project in which I researched the effect of modified feeds in the rearing period on the production period. After just over four years of study, I received my PhD on the subject in Wageningen on 6 February 2015: Body composition and reproduction in broiler breeders: impact of feeding strategies.

I currently work as a Senior Researcher at Wageningen Livestock Research in Wageningen. It is my job to conduct research (on broiler breeders, broilers and laying hens), but mostly it’s to find the budget for the research. Researching and working with broiler breeders is still my great passion, which I think has to do with the fact that in breeder houses, you need to keep two wholly different animals with their different needs and behaviours. In spite of those differences, these animals need to work well together in order to achieve optimal results.

I have conducted a lot of interesting and fun experiments and jobs. Developing the ‘Quality Time’ house was one of them. Writing the book ‘Breeder Signals’ together with Roodbont was also extremely rewarding. I hope to remain active in the poultry industry for many more years to come! Rick van Emous"

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