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The Houghton Facility

The Houghton Facility is a purpose-built animal facility dedicated to the incubation, hatching and rearing of Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) chickens under clean conditions. This type of facility ensures maintenance of disease free status in birds which are used directly in studies or indirectly to support our avian scientists research activities. 

The fundamental research the facility will support, improves global food security and poultry welfare through improved knowledge of disease, including the generation of new and more effective vaccines. Staff and scientists from The Pirbright Institute worked in close collaboration with architects Smith Carter, to design a functional facility that ensures the healthy supply of birds for the Institute’s science programmes. 

Construction of the facility took place off site during October 2017 and was carried out by Portakabin Ltd in York.

Units were transported to site, assembled, internally fitted out and cladding finished to a high standard according to the Design Code and will be ready for operation by October 2020.
The £4m building is part of a £350m investment by BBSRC UKRI for the redevelopment and improvement of the Pirbright site.

The Houghton Facility has:

  • A total floor space of 328sqm.
  • Four rearing rooms, a hatchery room and an egg incubation room.

The Houghton building is named after the poultry research station that was started at Houghton Grange, Cambridgeshire in 1948. Between 1986 and until its closure in 1992, Houghton was part of the Institute for Animal Health.

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