The chirping of baby chicks rang through a poultry lab on LSU’s campus. LSU AgCenter poultry specialist Theresia Lavergne had a research associate and graduate and undergraduate students helping her sort, weigh and band the birds for a research project.
The poultry science program is a small but valuable part of the LSU College of Agriculture’s School of Animal Sciences. Students in the program can get hands-on experiences with birds in their classes and as student workers or volunteers in labs.
“They learn how to feed it, how to make sure it has water at all times, to collect data, so they actually get experience raising birds so they have that experience when they finish their degree,” Lavergne said.
LSU’s poultry science curriculum includes poultry grading and evaluation, incubating and hatching, poultry biology and management classes.
Students can get experience working with birds in research projects on campus like the one Lavergne was conducting on nutrition. Students also can lead their own research projects.
Ariel Bergeron, a junior in poultry science from Houma, has worked on undergraduate research projects. She said the experience has changed her career path. She was interested in going to veterinary school, but now she would like to pursue a career doing research for the nutrition sector of the poultry industry.
“The thing I like about research is it is something different every day. It is very innovative, and you are always trying to find a new solution to a problem,” Bergeron said.
Bergeron will be interning in Washington, D.C., this summer with the National Turkey Federation.
Lavergne said students who graduate in poultry science have jobs waiting for them.
“They are very employable. The poultry industry cannot find enough people to hire. Our students who want to go to work with a bachelor’s degree in the poultry industry can have a choice of jobs,” Lavergne said.
Students studying poultry science also can participate in extracurricular activities. Bergeron is a member of the Poultry Science Club and has participated in poultry judging competitions like one recently held on LSU’s campus.
Teams from nine universities participated in the USPOULTRY Foundation Ted Cameron National Poultry Judging Contest on April 16-17. The students competed in three categories: production judging, breed selection and market products judging. Texas A&M’s team placed first overall in the competition, with Penn State’s team coming in second. LSU’s team finished third.