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Research expertise

Responsible Leader of Zeusens Research Project

Aims

This project aims at validating and integrating three in-situ sensor technologies in order to (i) develop and validate a tool and corresponding algorithms for automated (early) detection of lameness; (ii) automatically monitor individual sows to fill the gap in knowledge about the pathological evolution of lameness; (iii) explore a promising preventive measure for lameness and finally, (iv) explore the effect of sow lameness on her reproductive performance.

 Approach

Circa. 140 sows are followed up over 1,5 years (3 reproductive cycles). They are first exposed to differential treatment (Group-housed vs. Single housed) in the insemination pen in order to explore the potential of short(er) separation as preventive measure. Subsequently, in the gestation pen, data relating to sow’s feeding (via ESF), standing (via SowSIS) and locomotor behaviour (via IPS) are collected continuously. Additionally, gait scoring, body condition scoring and skin lesion scoring is collected visually on a weekly basis. These data will serve for the development and validation of a detection algorithm and understanding better the pathology of interest

Impact

Lameness is a painful condition for the animals and implies substantial costs for the farmers. As the number of animals per farm tends to increase, it becomes virtually impossible to monitor each animal individually. Therefore, it is crucial to develop automatic detection tool to support the farmers in their daily tasks. A better understanding of the pathology is also needed for better treatment and prevention. Finally, this project also explores a possible driver for implementation of this technology on farms by looking at consequences of lameness on productivity. If successful, this project could greatly benefit the pig sector via mitigation of financial losses and would significantly improve the welfare of the animals by allowing for more timely treatment and prevention.

  1. Animal Welfare Quality Network

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

  2. International Societey of Applied Ethology Benelux Congress

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

  3. Animal Welfare from fork to farm

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

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ID: 3890689