Free range systems can improve the welfare of laying hens. However, the access to environmental resources can be partially limited by social interactions, feeding of hens, and productivity, can be not stable and damaging behaviors, or negative events, can be observed more frequently than in conventional housing systems. In order to reach a real improvement of the hens’ welfare the study of their laying performances and behaviors is necessary. With this purpose, many systems have been developed. However, most of them do not detect a multiple occupation of the nest negatively affecting the accuracy of data collected. To overcome this issue, a new “nest-usage-sensor” was developed and tested. It was based on the evaluation of thermografic images, as acquired by a thermo-camera, and the performing of patter recognitions on images acquired from the nest interior. The sensor was setup with a “Multiple Nest Occupation Threshold” of 796 colored pixels and a template of triangular shape and sizes of 43 × 33 pixels (high per base). It was tested through an experimental nesting system where 10 hens were reared for a month. Results showed that the evaluation of thermografic images could increase the detection performance of a multiple occupation of the nest and to apply an image pattern recognition technique could allow for counting the number of hens in the nest in case of a multiple occupation. As a consequence, the accuracy of data collected in studies on laying performances and behaviors of hens, reared in a free-range housing system, could result to be improved

Development of a Machine Vision Method for the Monitoring of Laying Hens and Detection of Multiple Nest Occupations

ZANINELLI M
;
2018

Abstract

Free range systems can improve the welfare of laying hens. However, the access to environmental resources can be partially limited by social interactions, feeding of hens, and productivity, can be not stable and damaging behaviors, or negative events, can be observed more frequently than in conventional housing systems. In order to reach a real improvement of the hens’ welfare the study of their laying performances and behaviors is necessary. With this purpose, many systems have been developed. However, most of them do not detect a multiple occupation of the nest negatively affecting the accuracy of data collected. To overcome this issue, a new “nest-usage-sensor” was developed and tested. It was based on the evaluation of thermografic images, as acquired by a thermo-camera, and the performing of patter recognitions on images acquired from the nest interior. The sensor was setup with a “Multiple Nest Occupation Threshold” of 796 colored pixels and a template of triangular shape and sizes of 43 × 33 pixels (high per base). It was tested through an experimental nesting system where 10 hens were reared for a month. Results showed that the evaluation of thermografic images could increase the detection performance of a multiple occupation of the nest and to apply an image pattern recognition technique could allow for counting the number of hens in the nest in case of a multiple occupation. As a consequence, the accuracy of data collected in studies on laying performances and behaviors of hens, reared in a free-range housing system, could result to be improved
double nest occupation; infrared camera; imaging analysis; image pattern matching; laying hens’ performance and behavior
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12078/1000
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