Implementation of Inertia Sensor and Machine Learning Technologies for Analyzing the Behavior of Individual Laying Hens

Sayed M. Derakhshani*, Matthias Overduin, Thea G.C.M. van Niekerk, Peter W.G. Groot Koerkamp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Welfare-oriented regulations cause farmers worldwide to shift towards more welfare-friendly, e.g., loose housing systems such as aviaries with litter. In contrast to the traditional cage housing systems, good technical results can only be obtained if the behavior of hens is considered. With increasing flock sizes, the automation of behavioural assessment can be beneficial. This research aims to show a proof of principle of tools for analyzing laying-hen behaviors by using wearable inertia sensor technology and a machine learning model (ML). For this aim, the behaviors of hens were classified into three classes: static, semi-dynamic, and highly dynamic behavior. The activities of hens were continuously recorded on video and synchronized with the sensor signals. Two hens were equipped with sensors, one marked green and one blue, for five days to collect the data. The training data set indicated that the ML model can accurately classify the highly dynamic behaviors with a one-second time window; a four-second time window is accurate for static and semi-dynamic behaviors. The Bagged Trees model, with an overall accuracy of 89% was the best ML model with the F1-scores of 89%, 91%, and 87% for static, semi-dynamic, and highly dynamic behaviors. The Bagged Trees model also performed well in classifying the behaviors of the hen in the validation data set with an overall F1-score of 0.92 (uniform either % or decimals). This research illustrates that the combination of wearable inertia sensors and machine learning is a viable technique for analyzing the laying-hen behaviors and supporting farmers in the management of hens in loose housing systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number536
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


  • Daily behavior
  • Inertia sensor
  • Laying hen
  • Machine learning


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