Greengage partners in research to monitor welfare of chicks

Thursday 18th June 2020, 5:00pm

Greengage Lighting has helped to fund independent scientific research which highlights the benefits of being able to monitor birds and their environment in real time, for welfare and performance.

Allermuir Innovation Centre and Greengage Lighting - credit SRUC

A study funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council in an Innovate UK partnership with Greengage Lighting has shown that acoustic data from chicks could be used to identify welfare problems.

A team of animal welfare and behaviour scientists from across the UK, including Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) collected acoustic data from chicks in 12 commercial flocks.

Analysis of this data showed that distress calling could be clearly picked up above the usual background noise of the farm. This makes it possible to identify in real-time, potential welfare issues such as inadequate access to feed and water or incorrect environmental conditions. Indeed, the researchers were able to demonstrate a link between distress calling and increased mortality and reduced growth later in the growing period.

"We were really pleased to be able to help fund this research and are very excited by the results.  All our products are backed by research and this study emphasises the benefits of automated monitoring, like our new range of ALIS sensors, for the early identification of any potential problems. Early resolution of issues is good for the farmer and good for bird welfare."

Steve Parsons, CEO of Greengage Lighting

"This work shows the potential to use acoustic data from chickens to identify welfare problems which can then be tackled by farm staff.  This is an important contribution to precision livestock farming techniques."

Vicky Sandilands, a Senior Behaviour and Welfare Scientist at SRUC

The findings of this research provide further support for the benefits of automated monitoring of livestock and the environment they are in by providing real-time warnings of emerging issues.

They also emphasise the importance of using animal-centred behavioural and emotional welfare indicators alongside traditional environment and productivity monitoring on poultry farms, to improve conditions from the birdsí own perspective.

Greengage Lighting Ltd, a tenant company at Roslin Innovation Centre, is committed to solving the increasing challenges in global food production by applying the science of light, research and patented technology to a new range of innovative LED lights, sensors, web app and data analytics.