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Analysis of behavioural patterns in broilers using camera-based technology

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

Citation:  2015 ASABE Annual International Meeting  152190630.(doi:10.13031/aim.20152190630)
Authors:   Alberto Pena Fernandez, Vasileios Exadaktylos, Erik Vranken, Daniel Berckmans
Keywords:   broilers, activity, distribution, behaviour, precision livestock farming

Abstract. One of the main aspects broiler farmers consider in relation to performance and status of their flock are the activity and distribution patterns that chickens show during each day. Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) technologies allow to monitor the flock behaviour in a continuous and automated way in the house. The aim of this study is to show that by monitoring the activity and distribution of the flock, information on habits and activity patterns of broilers can be retrieved.

Four top view cameras per broiler house were used in 5 growing cycles in a commercial broiler house in The Netherlands. The cameras are able to record images continuously during the light periods of every cycle and these images are translated into activity and distribution indexes per minute. Monitoring of activity and distribution indexes through successive light periods allows to evaluate how behavioral patterns of the flock, such as feeding, drinking or resting, evolve along the cycle. Performing these analyses for different cycles, regular activity patterns for each behaviour can be defined and alerts can be generated in case of deviation.

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