Analysis of poultry eating and drinking behavior by software eYeNamic
AbstractConstant presence of at least one operator in livestock buildings for broilers would allow a perfect control of animal behaviour and, especially, deviations in feeding and drinking patterns, in the perspective of a high welfare status. However, as nowadays it is impossible for a farmer to be present in the farm all day long, automatic monitoring systems are required. The purpose of this paper is to introduce a system (eYeNamic) for automatic monitoring and analyzing broilers’ behavior in a farm. eYeNamic is a camera system introduced and produced by Fancom BV, a company operating in the field of automation of livestock facilities. It includes three cameras located on the ridge of the broiler house and able to monitor chickens’ behaviour twenty-four hours a day. Through eYeNamic it is possible to process the images and to obtain a measure of animals’ distribution and activity, which can be conceived as valuable indicators of animal welfare. The study presented in this paper was divided into several phases: data collection, images visualization, observation of the distribution and activity of the chickens, and statistical analysis of the observations. The analysis of correlation between the number of 14 days old broilers near the feeding line (manual counted) and the average occupation density measured with eYenamic indicates that the best conditions have occurred with a 50 cm by 75 cm area around each feeding pan. With reference to the drinking line, the best response was found in an area 50 cm wide and the whole drinking line long. For the activity behavior, there was no significant correlation between activity and number of chickens eating from all the pans: this confirms that broilers while eating reduce their activity. It was concluded from this study that eYeNamic is a good system to observe animal behavior and, especially, to take care of their drinking and eating behaviour. A satisfactory correspondence between eYeNamic remote and human observations depends on a correct definition of animals’ eating behaviour. In our case, this correspondence is established for the manual labeling, only if a broiler maintains its whole head inside the pan for a period lasting 20 seconds. In many cases the simple closeness to the pan or drinking line does not guarantee that a broiler is eating or drinking.
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Copyright (c) 2013 A. De Montis, A. Pinna, M. Barra, E. Vranken
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