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Individual Monitoring of Activity and Lameness in Conventional and Slower-Growing Breeds of Broiler Chickens Using Accelerometers

Pearce, Justine; Chang, Yu-Mei Ruby; Abeyesinghe, Siobhan


Justine Pearce

Yu-Mei Ruby Chang

Siobhan Abeyesinghe


Accelerometers are increasingly being investigated to detect animal behaviour as a method for monitoring individual welfare that overcomes manual challenges associated with time, re-source, and discrete sampling. We investigated the effects of broiler chicken breed and weight on accelerometer activity (activityA; calculated as percentage of time spent active (%)) and its association with lameness as a major broiler welfare concern. Accelerometers were attached to birds of different hybrids (hereafter breeds) on between 2-4 occasions from 26-30 days old (con-ventional breed CNV) and 26-49 days old (two slower-growing breeds SGH; SGN). At 2.2kg, lameness was scored using a 6-point gait scoring system (0: unaffected to 5: severely lame). Lin-ear mixed effects models and breed-stratified generalized linear models together with a ran-dom-effect meta-analysis were used for data analyses. ActivityA was lower in faster-growing, heavier birds compared to slower-growing, lighter birds, showing overall consistency with previous behavioural research, but did not vary linearly with gait score. Accelerometers offer potential for simple broad scale continuous monitoring of broiler chicken activity behaviour that requires limited data processing. Exploration of the ability of accelerometers to capture more subtle and specific changes in behavioural patterning, such as non-linear acceleration with gait score that could indicate early development of lameness, warrants further investigation.


Pearce, J., Chang, Y. R., & Abeyesinghe, S. (2023). Individual Monitoring of Activity and Lameness in Conventional and Slower-Growing Breeds of Broiler Chickens Using Accelerometers. Animals, 13(9), 1432.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 18, 2023
Online Publication Date Apr 22, 2023
Publication Date Apr 22, 2023
Deposit Date Apr 24, 2023
Publicly Available Date May 5, 2023
Print ISSN 2076-2615
Publisher MDPI
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 9
Pages 1432
Keywords animal welfare, broiler chicken, behaviour, activity, accelerometer, leg health, poultry, walking ability, bio-logging
Additional Information RVC Animal Welfare Science & Ethics


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