Published on Jan. 28, 2020

Advancing animal welfare through sensing and AI technology

There is an urgent need to respond to consumers’ demands relating to animal welfare. To address this, the industry continues to transition to welfare-friendly systems, such as free range-egg farms and group housing for pigs.

This change presents a challenge to understand and predict animal behaviour in these relatively new environments.

Advancement in vision, sensing, and AI (artificial intelligence) technologies offer a crucial opportunity to develop new methods to automatically detect and analyse animal behaviour. Better understanding of social interactions between animals in social groups will result in reduced instances of harmful animal tendencies such as feather pecking in laying hens and tail biting in swine.

To address these issues, Hendrix Genetics have joined the IMAGEN (Animal Group Sensor) project. By combining sensing and AI technology with animal breeding and genetics, this project aims to improve the health and welfare of livestock and reduce the ecological footprint of our food production.

Hendrix Genetics will be closely involved in a project focused on behavioural interactions in laying hens. The project will span five years and contain three main tasks:

  1. Developing sensing and AI technologies for automated behaviour detection in laying hens.
  2. Behavioural research of the emergence and spread of behaviours in laying hens.
  3. Genetic modelling of the emergence and spread of behaviours in laying hens.

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