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Robotics for Poultry House Management

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

Citation:  2017 ASABE Annual International Meeting  1701103.(doi:10.13031/aim.201701103)
Authors:   Colin T Usher, Wayne D Daley, Benjamin P Joffe, Aneri Muni
Keywords:   Automated egg removal, Animal robot interaction, Poultry house management, robotics


Poultry houses require daily monitoring to ensure animal health and proper house operation. In addition to being labor intensive and time consuming, it is difficult for the farm owners to find consistent labor to fill these jobs. To address these problems, researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute and the University of Georgia developed and tested a mobile robot system for operation in confined poultry grow out houses. A prototype system was built for testing and validation. The system uses a commercially available chassis, with custom developed software to handle localization, navigation, and interaction with the animals. These routines were developed to allow the robot to navigate in and among a flock of live chickens and to carry out inspection and some utility tasks. There are several potential applications related to poultry house management that a capable mobile robot system would be able to carry out. Some examples of these such as automated picking of floor eggs and image analysis for chicken and house equipment monitoring were developed and demonstrated in a laboratory environment. The robot autonomy and navigation was field tested and completed over 20 hours of fully autonomous operation in a test chicken house at facilities located at the University of Georgia. In addition, the same robot was demonstrated in a commercial house, navigating autonomously for approximately 2 hours. The research team studied the ability of the robot to successfully navigate the house while ensuring there was no negative impact on the animal welfare. These validation tests successfully proved that the prototype system can achieve the desired goal of navigating in a chicken house environment.

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