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Sensors 2015, 15(2), 2680-2693; doi:10.3390/s150202680

Preliminary Evaluation of a Nest Usage Sensor to Detect Double Nest Occupations of Laying Hens

1
Faculty of Agriculture, Università Telematica San Raffaele Roma, Via di Val Cannuta 247, 00166 Rome, Italy
2
Department of Health, Animal Science and Food Safety (VESPA), Università Degli Studi di Milano, Via Celoria 10, 20133 Milan, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 November 2014 / Accepted: 19 January 2015 / Published: 26 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
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Abstract

Conventional cage systems will be replaced by housing systems that allow hens to move freely. These systems may improve hens’ welfare, but they lead to some disadvantages: disease, bone fractures, cannibalism, piling and lower egg production. New selection criteria for existing commercial strains should be identified considering individual data about laying performance and the behavior of hens. Many recording systems have been developed to collect these data. However, the management of double nest occupations remains critical for the correct egg-to-hen assignment. To limit such events, most systems adopt specific trap devices and additional mechanical components. Others, instead, only prevent these occurrences by narrowing the nest, without any detection and management. The aim of this study was to develop and test a nest usage “sensor”, based on imaging analysis, that is able to automatically detect a double nest occupation. Results showed that the developed sensor correctly identified the double nest occupation occurrences. Therefore, the imaging analysis resulted in being a useful solution that could simplify the nest construction for this type of recording system, allowing the collection of more precise and accurate data, since double nest occupations would be managed and the normal laying behavior of hens would not be discouraged by the presence of the trap devices. View Full-Text
Keywords: double nest occupation; imaging analysis; laying hens’ performance and behavior double nest occupation; imaging analysis; laying hens’ performance and behavior
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zaninelli, M.; Costa, A.; Tangorra, F.M.; Rossi, L.; Agazzi, A.; Savoini, G. Preliminary Evaluation of a Nest Usage Sensor to Detect Double Nest Occupations of Laying Hens. Sensors 2015, 15, 2680-2693.

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