Validation of an Ultra-Wideband Tracking System for Recording Individual Levels of Activity in Broilers
Animal Breeding and Genomics, Wageningen University & Research, 6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands
Department of Animals in Science and Society, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, 3508 TD Utrecht, The Netherlands
Research &Development Department, Cobb Europe BV, 5831 GH Boxmeer, The Netherlands
Adaptation Physiology Group, Wageningen University & Research, 6700 AH Wageningen, The Netherlands
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 July 2019 / Revised: 13 August 2019 / Accepted: 16 August 2019 / Published: 20 August 2019
Broiler chickens are often kept in large groups, which makes it difficult to identify individual birds and monitor their activity. Here, we studied whether an automated tracking system, using ultra-wideband technology, could be implemented to study activity of individual broilers. We compared the distance as recorded with the tracking system to the distance recorded on video and found a moderately strong positive correlation. Using the tracking system, we were able to detect decreases in activity over time, and we found that lightweight birds were on average more active than heavier birds. Both these results match with reports from literature and therefore support the conclusion that the tracking system appears well-suited for monitoring activity in broilers. The information on activity over time that can be collected with this system can potentially be used to study health, welfare and performance at the individual level, but further research into individual patterns in activity is required.