IN­TRO­DUC­ING THE ‘FIT­BIT’ FOR CHICK­ENS

Your Chickens - - Contents -

RE­SEARCHERS AT the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, River­side have come up with the lat­est new wear­able tech­nol­ogy — this time for our feath­ered friends. Dubbed the ‘Fit­bit’ for chick­ens (right), it is a sens­ing tech­nol­ogy de­signed to track the be­hav­iours of egg-lay­ing hens and broiler chick­ens on farms to en­sure high stan­dards of wel­fare.

Re­searchers hope that in as­sess­ing the health of birds they can use the in­for­ma­tion gained to im­prove the wel­fare of chick­ens in farms across the US and be­yond.

The par­tic­u­lar aim of the de­vice is to de­tect the pres­ence of ec­topar­a­sites, in­clud­ing red mite and north­ern fowl mite. These arthro­pods re­side on the body of the bird caus­ing a great deal of stress and ir­ri­ta­tion in some cases. These par­a­sites, although com­mon, can be dif­fi­cult to de­tect un­til the sit­u­a­tion is se­vere — some­thing re­searchers hope to rec­tify.

At­tached to the chicken, the wear­able de­vice mon­i­tors be­hav­iours widely be­lieved or proved to be as­so­ci­ated with happy chick­ens. Re­searchers hope that in first iden­ti­fy­ing be­hav­iours of healthy birds, they will sub­se­quently nar­row down the be­hav­iour of birds suf­fer­ing from the ef­fects of ec­topar­a­sites.

The Fit­bit for chick­ens uses sens­ing tech­nol­ogy de­signed to track the be­hav­iours of egg-lay­ing hens and broiler chick­ens

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