Behaviour-based simulation of facility demand of laying hens

H. Mollenhorst, D.L. Kettenis, P. Koene, W.W. Ursinus, J.H.M. Metz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The objective is to show that it is possible to estimate facility demand of laying hens with discrete-event modelling. This is a step in the development of a tool to estimate the required facility capacity in different housing environments. We explored the possibility to model results from behavioural observations with a discrete-event simulation model. Video recordings were made of eight hens housed in a pen with ample facilities. For the first dataset we observed hens individually during 2 days using continuous focal sampling. From these data we calculated input parameters: probability density functions of durations of behaviours and a transition matrix. Verification, with data from the same dataset, showed that it was possible to simulate facility demand. For a second dataset we observed the hens simultaneously during 5 days using instantaneous scan sampling, yielding data on facility utilisation only. Validation with these data showed that, in general, the model results were comparable. Including group behaviour in future models, however, could improve the prediction. In conclusion, discrete-event modelling is a potential tool to estimate facility demand of laying hens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-590
JournalBiosystems Engineering
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • splitting behavior
  • feeding-behavior
  • bouts
  • chickens
  • patterns
  • time


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