Vacancies: 4 positions for broiler chicken welfare researchers
About the project
(market: smart agrifood)
The poultry industry wants to keep on growing, while at the same time keeping an eye on animal welfare and adhering to a changing regulation. This will require a further automatization of the welfare and behavior assessment of poultry while offering opportunities to steer behavior in real-time. To enable this, the WISH project plans to design innovative sensor technology and flock based analysis methods. This should lead to a new gold standard in poultry welfare monitoring.
A changing landscape for the poultry industry
The poultry industry in Flanders and beyond has highly efficient production systems. Still, the projected growth is likely to result in issues with the health and welfare of the poultry. This will cause productivity losses and economic pressure throughout the sector. In addition, the legislative framework is changing for both the farms and the companies developing feed additives and veterinary drugs. Last, there is a growing consumer pressure to raise poultry that adhere to high-quality standards.
The need for automated assessment
Assessing the behavior and welfare of poultry still requires a high measure of manual labor. This is not only costly and subjective, but also leads to late intervention and incorrect data interpretation.
In the WISH project, the project partners will design a modular system-based toolbox of sensors and interpretation possibilities. These can be geared towards laboratories or industrial poultry farms.
A toolbox of innovative sensing and analysis
For laboratories, the WISH researchers foresee a high-end, full spectrum of functionalities. These will help clinical research organizations, feed additives labs, and developers of veterinary drug and welfare-improving systems. For commercial farms, customized combinations of the toolbox modules will be developed.
The WISH toolbox will be based on novel sensor technologies and flock-based analysis methods. These will be designed to continuously monitor chickens, provide feedback, and allow dynamic behavior steering in real-time with led light recipes and/or multifunctional platforms. All this to improve the productivity of poultry farming and the welfare of the animals.
“The poultry industry is looking for solutions that increase the welfare of animals and that have a positive impact on the productivity, at an acceptable pricing. To address this demand, WISH aims to design a new golden standard of poultry welfare monitoring.”