The presence equipment (e.g., water pipes, feed buckets, and other presence equipment, etc.) in the poultry house can occlude the areas of broiler chickens taken via top view. This can affect the analysis of chicken behaviors through a vision-based machine learning imaging method. In our previous study, we developed a machine vision-based method for monitoring the broiler chicken floor distribution, and here we processed and restored the areas of broiler chickens which were occluded by presence equipment. To verify the performance of the developed restoration method, a top-view video of broiler chickens was recorded in two research broiler houses (240 birds equally raised in 12 pens per house). First, a target detection algorithm was used to initially detect the target areas in each image, and then Hough transform and color features were used to remove the occlusion equipment in the detection result further. In poultry images, the broiler chicken occluded by equipment has either two areas (TA) or one area (OA). To reconstruct the occluded area of broiler chickens, the linear restoration method and the elliptical fitting restoration method were developed and tested. Three evaluation indices of the overlap rate (OR), false-positive rate (FPR), and false-negative rate (FNR) were used to evaluate the restoration method. From images collected on d2, d9, d16, and d23, about 100-sample images were selected for testing the proposed method. And then, around 80 high-quality broiler areas detected were further evaluated for occlusion restoration. According to the results, the average value of OR, FPR, and FNR for TA was 0.8150, 0.0032, and 0.1850, respectively. For OA, the average values of OR, FPR, and FNR were 0.8788, 0.2227, and 0.1212, respectively. The study provides a new method for restoring occluded chicken areas that can hamper the success of vision-based machine predictions.
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