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Software for evaluating hearing capability of sows

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Computers in Agriculture and Natural Resources, 4th World Congress Conference, Proceedings of the 24-26 July 2006 (Orlando, Florida USA) Publication Date 24 July 2006  701P0606.(doi:10.13031/2013.21957)
Authors:   Yamilia Barrios Tolon, Irenilza de Alencar Nääs, Wagner Tomé Silva Daniella Jorge de Moura
Keywords:   sound analysis, sows, animal welfare

Vocalization of farm animals is produced on the basis of a reaction to a specific event during management, relation to other animals, and/or exposition to fear or any departure from ideal welfare condition. Sound analysis has provided tools to discriminate analyze and classify specific vocalizations. The overall noise emitted by swine group during their production may reach high frequency damaging their hearing capacity in older age. Reproductive sows may live five to ten times more than other growing/finishing animals. As older animals (sows specifically) they are exposed for longer period to high frequency noise, the main effect is that they often do not hear the vocalization of piglets during nursing period, resulting in high mortality in loose group housing as they roll over piglets when laying down. The objective of this research was to develop a software that manage the sound emission and recording that focus on comprehensive studies of a broad spectrum of specific distress vocalizations. The software was programmed in Delphi 5 using Tsound component. Recording of noise was done in frequency, power and spectrum using sound hardware. Validation of the algorithm was done in a commercial nursing room with sows at various ages. Results led to evidence that older sows may present hearing impair.

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