HeatSense: Data-driven climate change adaptation in livestock (KB-46-005-027)

Project: LNV project

Project Details


Climate change, and especially high ambient temperatures and heat waves, can lead to heat stress in poultry. Heat stress can have negative consequences for the birds’ health, welfare and performance, and can be observed through, for example, increases in water intake, decreases in feed intake and increases in mortality. Changes in behaviour may be seen already before the declines in health and production start to be visible in poultry and, therefore, behaviour has great potential for early detection of heat stress. In this project, we will develop a proof-of-principle for a real-time early warning system for heat stress in poultry, based on automated detection of changes in behaviour. These automated detections of changes in behaviour will be used, alongside indoor and outdoor climate condition recordings and short-term weather predictions, as input for a prototype smart barn cooling system, that responds to the behaviours shown by the birds and is energy efficient. We will furthermore examine individual differences in production and behavioural responses of laying hens to heat stress. Insight into individual differences in heat tolerance, and the heritability of heat tolerance, can help to determine whether breeding for improved heat tolerance is feasible. In this way, this project hopes to contribute to a reduced negative impact of high ambient temperatures on poultry, both now and in the future, through short-term (early detection and intervention) and long-term (breeding for heat tolerance) solutions.

Effective start/end date1/01/2431/12/24


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