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Machine vision to identify broiler breeder behavior

Pereira, Danilo F., Miyamoto, Bruno C.B., Maia, Guilherme D.N., Tatiana Sales, G., Magalhães, Marcelo M., Gates, Richard S.
Computers and electronics in agriculture 2013 v.99 pp. 194-199
algorithms, animal behavior, broiler breeders, computer software, computer vision, hens, image analysis, video cameras
Animal behavioral parameters can be used to assess welfare status in commercial broiler breeders. Behavioral parameters can be monitored with a variety of sensing devices, for instance, the use of video cameras allows comprehensive assessment of animal behavioral expressions. Nevertheless, the development of efficient methods and algorithms to continuously identify and differentiate animal behavior patterns is needed. The objective this study was to provide a methodology to identify hen white broiler breeder behavior using combined techniques of image processing and computer vision. These techniques were applied to differentiate body shapes from a sequence of frames as the birds expressed their behaviors. The method was comprised of four stages: (1) identification of body positions and their relationship with typical behaviors. For this stage, the number of frames required to identify each behavior was determined; (2) collection of image samples, with the isolation of the birds that expressed a behavior of interest; (3) image processing and analysis using a filter developed to separate white birds from the dark background; and finally (4) construction and validation of a behavioral classification tree, using the software tool Weka (model J48). The constructed tree was structured in 8 levels and 27 leaves, and it was validated using two modes: the “set training” mode with an overall rate of success of 96.7%, and the “cross validation” mode with an overall rate of success of 70.3%. The results presented here confirmed the feasibility of the method developed to identify white broiler breeder behavior for a particular group of study. Nevertheless, more improvements in the method can be made in order to increase the validation overall rate of success.