Main research question
To the benefit of the poultry industry, the WISH project develops innovative solutions to improve both the productivity and welfare of broiler chickens. The aim is to investigate and design innovative (i) sensor technology innovations to monitor broiler behavior, (ii) machine learning solutions to automatically derive health and productivity indicators of the broilers and (iii) enrichment solutions, including adaptive lighting and perching solutions which can be steered to autonomously and simultaneously improve chicken productivity and welfare.
A marketable, modular system-based toolbox of sensors and interpretation possibilities is the final goal, which will be further developed towards 2 commercial activities:
1. Lab chickens. This toolbox contains a high-end, full-spectrum combination of sensors and algorithms targeting clinical research organization and feed additives, including developers of food additives or veterinary drugs and developers of welfare/productivity systems. The goal of this toolbox is (i) to reduce the time and cost requirements of clinical trials by (partly) replacing expensive experts by reusable sensor technology and (ii) to provide more continuous, more repeatable and more objective information regarding behavioral aspects during trials.
2. Commercial chickens: The goal of these tools is to offer a more limited set of sensors / enrichment combinations that provide cost-optimal productivity improvements on commercial farms. Sensors will be limited to flock-based sensors (acoustic, video) or individual sensors equipped to a limited number of +-20 sentinel chickens.
We expect the WISH project to deliver an effective, smart combination of individual and flock-based sensors, coupled with proper control for cage enrichment and behavioral influence. The productivity and welfare improving toolboxes for broilers have a high chance of dissemination and application. For the commercialization of the research setup, there is a commitment from Poulpharm. The practice toolbox is being commercialized by Roxell.