Researchers in Brazil are working on methods involving thermography using infrared technology to identify poultry feeding behaviour.
That was revealed in a presentation at the recently held trade show AveSui/EuroTier South America, July 23-25. Rony Antonio Ferreira, associate professor at the Federal University of Lavras, MG, Brazil, explained about a project, PPGZoo, the university has been working on for the last 3 years. Prof Ferreira is a specialist in bio-climatology, and spent a great deal of his work in poultry, pigs and cattle.
Associate professor Rony Antonio Ferreira, at AveSui, in Medianeira, PR, Brazil last month. Photo: Vincent ter Beek
Measuring temperature using infrared camera
Basically it comes down to going through animal houses – not only poultry, but also pigs, to measure the animals’ temperatures using an infrared camera a commercially available device. A common outcome to using this would be to distinguish whether animals suffer from fever.
“That is one application,” Prof Ferreira said in an interview with Pig Progress a sister publication of Poultry World. “The other application is to figure out whether it is time for a feeding session. Essentially, the animals’ body temperature is a fragment lower when they need to feed, than when they have just fed. So you can manage the feeding from the measurements with the infrared camera.”
Calibrating the sensor requires much fine-tuning, Prof Ferreira admitted, and the university is working on just that. The team, involving 2 professors and several graduate students, hopes to have a first paper about the technology – applied to poultry – published in a scientific journal in the 2nd part of 2019. A publication about pigs is to follow at a later stage.
Identification of animal feeding patterns
The technology forms part of a larger project to identify animal feeding behaviour – and to figure out what the optimal benchmarks per breed are. The main interest, Prof Ferreira indicated, is to enhance animal welfare with the novelty. The university hopes to make this available for farmers free of charge.