Assessing activity and location of individual laying hens in large groups using modern technology

Janice M. Siegford, John Berezowski, Subir K. Biswas, Courtney L. Daigle, Sabine G. Gebhardt-Henrich, Carlos E. Hernandez, Stefan Thurner, Michael J. Toscano*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Tracking individual animals within large groups is increasingly possible, offering an exciting opportunity to researchers. Whereas previously only relatively indistinguishable groups of individual animals could be observed and combined into pen level data, we can now focus on individual actors within these large groups and track their activities across time and space with minimal intervention and disturbance. The development is particularly relevant to the poultry industry as, due to a shift away from battery cages, flock sizes are increasingly becoming larger and environments more complex. Many efforts have been made to track individual bird behavior and activity in large groups using a variety of methodologies with variable success. Of the technologies in use, each has associated benefits and detriments, which can make the approach more or less suitable for certain environments and experiments. Within this article, we have divided several tracking systems that are currently available into two major categories (radio frequency identification and radio signal strength) and review the strengths and weaknesses of each, as well as environments or conditions for which they may be most suitable. We also describe related topics including types of analysis for the data and concerns with selecting focal birds.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
Issue number2
Publication statusPrint publication - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Activity
  • Individual
  • Motion
  • Production
  • RFID
  • Tracking


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