Digital monitoring of broiler breeder behavior for assessment of thermal welfare
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The assessment of welfare issues has been a challenge for poultry producers, and lately welfare standards needs to be reached in order to agree with international market demand. This research proposes the use of continuous behavior monitoring in order to contribute for assessing welfare. A software was developed using the language Clarium. The software managed the recording of data as well as the data searching in the database Firebird. Both software and the observational methodology were tested in a trial conducted inside an environmental chamber, using three genetics of broiler breeders. Behavioral pattern was recorded and correlated to ambient thermal and aerial variation. Monitoring video cameras were placed on the roof facing the used for registering the bird's behavior. From video camera images were recorded during the total period when the ambient was bright, and for analyzing the video images a sample of 15min observation in the morning and 15 min in the afternoon was used, adding up to 30 min daily observation. A specific model so-called behavior was developed inside the software for counting specific behavior and its frequency of occurrence, as well as its duration. Electronic identification was recorded for 24h period. Behavioral video recording images was related to the data recorded using electronic identification.. Statistical analysis of data allowed to identify behavioral differences related to the change in thermal environment, and ultimately indicating thermal stress and departure from welfare conditions.