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Sensors 2018, 18(1), 170;

Using Acceleration Data to Automatically Detect the Onset of Farrowing in Sows

Livestock Systems Group, Department of Animal Science, Georg-August University, Albrecht-Thaer Weg 3, 37075 Göttingen, Germany
Institute of Animal Breeding and Husbandry, Christian-Albrechts-University, Olshausenstr, 40, 24098 Kiel, Germany
MKW Electronics GmbH, Jutogasse 3, 4675 Weibern, Austria
Chamber of Agriculture Schleswig-Holstein, 24327 Blekendorf, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 November 2017 / Revised: 4 January 2018 / Accepted: 8 January 2018 / Published: 10 January 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue State-of-the-Art Sensors Technology in Germany)
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The aim of the present study was to automatically predict the onset of farrowing in crate-confined sows. (1) Background: Automatic tools are appropriate to support animal surveillance under practical farming conditions. (2) Methods: In three batches, sows in one farrowing compartment of the Futterkamp research farm were equipped with an ear sensor to sample acceleration. As a reference video, recordings of the sows were used. A classical CUSUM chart using different acceleration indices of various distribution characteristics with several scenarios were compared. (3) Results: The increase of activity mainly due to nest building behavior before the onset of farrowing could be detected with the sow individual CUSUM chart. The best performance required a statistical distribution characteristic that represented fluctuations in the signal (for example, 1st variation) combined with a transformation of this parameter by cumulating differences in the signal within certain time periods from one day to another. With this transformed signal, farrowing sows could reliably be detected. For 100% or 85% of the sows, an alarm was given within 48 or 12 h before the onset of farrowing. (4) Conclusions: Acceleration measurements in the ear of a sow are suitable for detecting the onset of farrowing in individually housed sows in commercial farrowing crates. View Full-Text
Keywords: farrowing; acceleration measurement; CUSUM control chart; management assistance; ear sensor farrowing; acceleration measurement; CUSUM control chart; management assistance; ear sensor

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Traulsen, I.; Scheel, C.; Auer, W.; Burfeind, O.; Krieter, J. Using Acceleration Data to Automatically Detect the Onset of Farrowing in Sows. Sensors 2018, 18, 170.

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