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An approach to monitor the spatial-temporal perch use by laying hens in an alternative housing system
Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org
Citation: 2018 ASABE Annual International Meeting 1800655.(doi:10.13031/aim.201800655)
Authors: Chao Zong, Qiaowei Li, Taotao Mao, Guanghui Teng
Keywords: Alternative housing system, Perch, Laying hen, Spatial-temporal
Abstract. Alternative housing systems become popular in the laying hen industry of China in an attempt to improve the welfare and health of hens. Perches are consistently assembled in those alternative housings. However, information about perch use on farm is still limited due to difficulties in manual observations. This study developed a new approach to automatically monitor the spatial-temporal perch use by laying hens in an alternative housing system. This approach obtained the number of hens on perch using the weighing measurement system, which consisted of a two-meter long steel perch, two weight sensors at the ends of the perch, and a data acquisition module. The weight calibration equation was firstly formed by least square fitting method. To assess the feasibility of this approach, a camera was installed to manually quantify the hens on perches. The results showed that the accuracy of this approach in prediction of the number of hens on perches was up to 95% in 720 trials. In terms of spatial-temporal perch use by hens, it was found that much higher perch use occurred during night than daytime, and perches with higher height were preferred compared to perches with lower height during night. In general, the proposed approach from this study is capable to give the real-time information of perch use by laying hens in the alternative housing system.
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