Automated sound recording devices (ASRD) were used in real broiler farm conditions to analyse the vocalisations emitted by individual chicks and groups of chickens aged either one or five days. Although the vocalisation sounds of broiler chicken have been studied previously; this study describes the monitoring of vocalisation under normal farm conditions.
Vocalisations emitted by five day old chicks had a lower frequency than those recorded from one day old chicks. At both ages, small groups of chicks were briefly isolated from their conspecifics in a box. From the recordings it was possible to identify eight specific sounds induced by social isolation in one day old chicks (sounds A-H in Figure 1.). These were identified as calling sounds induced by social isolation because it was observed that conspecifics outside the isolation box responded to the vocalisation emitted by those inside. Four other sounds were identified in socially isolated five day old chicks (sounds I-L in the figure). These sounds had a lower frequency than those emitted by one day old chicks and did not succeed in inducing conspecifics outside the box to respond. They were identified as distress calls caused by social isolation.
These results are promising regarding the possibility that automated sound recording devices can identify behaviourally specific vocalisations in the future, in the industrial conditions of a commercial broiler farm. This suggests that sound recording has a great potential to be used in PLF tools for the real time monitoring of chick behaviour and welfare. More work is currently being performed to extend the observations to older chickens.
The above is a summary of the paper “The use of vocalisation sounds to assess responses of broiler chicken to environmental variables.” presented at the Joint EAAP/EU-PLF sessions of the EAAP Annual Meeting in Copenhagen (www.eaap2014.org/general-programme/scientific-programme). For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The proceedings of the Joint EAAP/EU-PLF sessions of the EAAP Annual Meeting in Copenhagen will be published in March 2015 by Wageningen Academic Publishers.