Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique – Poultry Research Unit

The Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) was set up in 1946 and became a national public scientific and technological establishment in 1984, under the joint authority of the Ministries of Research and Agriculture.


The INRA institute is subdivided in 17 Research Department among which the Animal Husbandry and Nutrition Department (Département Elevage et Nutrition des Animaux: ENA). One of the seven research units of the ENA Department is the Poultry Research Unit (Station de Recherches Avicoles) which associated with an experimental unit (Poultry Experimental Farm). This unit has 120 employees in its laboratories and experimental farm: 42 research scientists, 63 technicians and administrative staff and 15 graduate and post-graduate students. It conducts integrated research on the biology of birds, from molecular biology studies to studies of the animal in its environment involving different disciplines (genetics, nutrition, behavioural biology, reproductive physiology and growth) and several species (chicken [broiler and layers, turkey, duck, guinea fowl, quail and pheasant). This research aims at anticipating the demands of both consumers and producers, and the resulting knowledge will allow improvements to be made in poultry products and rearing techniques. Thus, by exploiting experimental lines and comparing farming methods, the unit develops and evaluates innovative systems, which improve product quality and animal welfare.

Dr. D. Guémené first joined the Poultry Research Station of the National Institute of Agronomic Research in 1983, where he is currently serving as a senior research scientist. In 1984, Dr. Guémené held a one-year position with the National Agency for the Valorisation of Research (ANVAR Bretagne) and spent a two-year leave working in the laboratory of Dr. Etches in the University of Guelph (Canada). Dr. Guémené's research interest have included studies of the physiology of domestic birds with specific emphasis on the endocrinological regulation of the expression of incubation behaviour in various species (turkey hens, domestic hens, pheasant hens, geese) and more recently on domestic bird welfare (mule ducks, geese, laying hens). His work in those fields has been published in over 200 refereed scientific papers, technical papers or various communications in meetings. As an expert for both the producers and the French delegation, he has also participated to the discussions for the elaboration of recommendations regarding duck, geese and turkey productions at the European Council. He is presently in charge of the "Behavioural Biology and Adaptation in Domestic Birds" research team at the Poultry Research Unit and assistant to the Head Chief Research Department. With his wide experience in physiology and stress measurements, he will be WP-leader of WP5.