OSI Looks to Technology to Advance Chicken Sustainability
August 26, 2020
Research and development in any industry is key to allow it to evolve, innovate and thrive. At OSI Europe, we’re continually researching and adopting new technologies and solutions to further improve supply chain sustainability.
With one of our 2025 sustainability priorities focused on utilizing outcome-based indicators for all animal welfare KPIs, we’re working with technology partners to create and trial a robot capable of frequently monitoring and evaluating broiler bird health and welfare parameters to improve production and help us reach this goal.
WHAT IS ChickenBoy?
ChickenBoy is a robot that will travel across poultry houses on fitted bars between 20 and 40cm above the birds, depending on their age. With built in cameras and sensors, the robot can monitor any changes in the environment, such as air and litter quality and temperature, as well as capturing imagery of the birds and the equipment.
The regularity of the data being captured, means farm managers or workers will be able to monitor poultry houses remotely via a dedicated app, but crucially the technology is able to recognize when parameters exceed the optimum range.
If, for example, ventilation within houses is being compromised and temperatures start to rise or fall, ChickenBoy will be able to recognize this and alert the person in charge, through an alarm system, to take immediate action before any long-term effects are seen.
HOW WILL THIS TECHNOLOGY BENEFIT THE BROILER INDUSTRY?
Animal health and welfare are key aspects that OSI Europe and the wider industry continually want to improve. To be able monitor the performance of broiler birds 24/7, and immediately recognize when something isn’t right, has significant weight in helping to drive sustainable production forward.
For OSI Europe, introducing permanent monitoring technology means animal health and welfare KPIs can be regularly obtained and benchmarked, and sustainability, from an economic, environmental and ethics perspective, can be monitored. This technology will allow for:
Efficient production – close monitoring of birds will help increase production efficiency. There is the potential for producers to get birds to finish weights sooner resulting in economic and environmental benefits
A reduction in antibiotic usage - being able to spot sick birds sooner and intervene quickly means the reliance on antibiotics to treat for disease and illness declines. If health trends are seen in the data, it also allows disease prevention strategies to be implemented, further reducing the need for reactive medicines
A reduction in the number of on-farm workers needed – poultry farming is notoriously labour intensive. However, the remote monitoring of poultry houses that is possible with this technology, can reduce the number of farm workers needed which is key for those currently struggling to recruit skilled workers
Consistency of data - as all the data is continuously collected by the robot, the inaccuracies and inconsistency associated with people manually inputting data is minimized, and a greater volume of data can be collected providing representative data sets
With the broiler industry tackling so many challenges, the introduction of this type of technology has the potential to change broiler production, and provide a solution that will help drive poultry production in a sustainable way.
OSI Europe is currently planning to trial the technology and analyze the data received to best determine how this can be implemented and used on-farm commercially. We will be revisiting this project to see the progress being made.