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

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. Vol. 17(3): 365–374 . (doi: 10.13031/2013.6211) @2001
Authors:   M. C. Puma, H. Xin, R. S. Gates, D. J. Burnham
Keywords:   Feeding behavior, Drinking behavior, Automatic instrumentation system, Poultry

This article describes an instrumentation system that was developed to study the dynamic feeding and drinking behavior of individual birds. The system, consisting of 24 feeding and drinking stations interfaced via an RS 485 communication network to a central PC, provides continuous recording of feeding and drinking events. Each feeding/drinking station includes a precision electronic balance (1210g capacity and 0.1g resolution) for the feeder and a temperaturecontrolled drinking water reservoir (1500mL capacity and 1000 to 1500mL operating range) whose height and thus volume was sensed with a differential pressure transducer (0 2.5 VDC output). The system was tested using growing broiler chickens subjected to constant or cyclic thermal conditions. Sample data are presented to demonstrate how researchers can use the system to examine and understand the effects of environmental modification on feeding and drinking behavior of individual birds. A series of subsequent studies have been planned that will use the system to investigate the interactive effects of environmental and dietary nutrition manipulations on ingestion behavior and poultry P.

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