The Ethometer

Presenter: Willem Dekkers – Royal GD


Combining data using smart technology to generate valuable information is important. And that is precisely the focus of one of our innovative projects, called the ‘Ethometer’. A behavioural study can help us determine whether an animal is feeling good. Cameras monitor the behaviour of the animals. We convert this data into a dynamic behavioural overview, which you can view at any time. This way you have 24/7 insight into the behaviour of your animals and you can take action in case of deviations. The Ethometer provides poultry farmers with a greater volume of more comprehensive, accurate and ready information, which they can then submit. It gives them eyes in the barn as it were, 24/7. The system notices any changes in behaviour, which are communicated immediately via an app. This system can also support the poultry chain in a more general sense, by proving that chickens are behaving in a natural manner, for example.

We make use of smart technology for the Ethometer, and are collaborating closely with a software company for that purpose. An advanced algorithm recognises the individual chickens (Figure 1) and another algorithm assesses their behaviour (see the Table). The system is already functioning very well and the first prototype, including the app, is already up and running in 5 farms. We will give you the insights; the why, how and the results.