Agri-tech funding has been awarded for the creation of an autonomous platform for data-collection in poultry sheds, known as RoboChick.
Broilers are bred for high muscle gain but require very careful husbandry and current poultry monitoring technologies operate at flock level.
The current technologies do not provide high resolution data collection and analytics required by modern, efficient poultry producers to improve individual bird health and welfare or make significant performance gains.
RoboChick, which has won backing from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Innovate, proposes a multi-functional robotic system capable of collecting data autonomously within a poultry shed to target point-of-need/point-of-care management.
The feasibility project is multi-disciplinary, bringing together the animal welfare and ethology expertise of the Royal Veterinary College, the livestock-orientated engineering expertise of Harper Adams University, the innovative robotic engineering skills of Ross Robotics and the commercial poultry management skills of Applied Poultry Ltd.
The project, to be led by Dr Theo Demmers, senior research fellow at the RVC’s Department of Pathobiology and Population Sciences, will integrate these skills to investigate the feasibility and specify a highly functional robotic system for poultry production monitoring and management.
The RVC is advertising for a post-doctoral researcher to design, perform, analyse and write up experiments associated with the development of the robotic sensor platform, performing tasks in poultry houses on a 15 month contract. The winning candidate will expect to work on a commercial poultry farms.
The main elements of research will be around: