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Hendrix-Genetics Advances Flock Welfare Through Sensing and AI Technology

11/29/2019

As a leading primary breeding company Hendrix-Genetics is responding to consumer demands to improve flock welfare. Advances in vision sensing and artificial intelligence offer an opportunity to develop new methods to remotely monitor and analyze flock behavior. An improved understanding of social interactions between egg-laying strains under commercial housing systems will result in a reduction in harmful behavior including aggression and smothering.

To address these issues, Hendrix-Genetics has joined the IMAGEN Group project. By combining sensing and AI technology with animal breeding and genetics, this project aims to improve the health and welfare of livestock and reduce the environmental impact of intensive egg production.

IMAGEN combines a team of industry and academic specialists comprising:-

  • Eindhoven University of Technology, Wageningen University and Utrecht University
  • The Dutch Farmers’ Association, the Royal Netherlands Veterinary Association, and the Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals
  • Hendrix Genetics, Topigs-Norsvin, Vencomatic, Noldus IT, Sorama, and FarmResult

Hendrix Genetics will be closely involved in one of the sub-projects focused on behavioral interactions in laying hens. The project will span five years and contain three main tasks:

  • developing sensing and AI technologies for remote observation of behavior in laying hens
  • research on the emergence and spread of specific behaviors in laying hens
  • genetic modeling of the emergence and spread of behaviors in laying hens

The IMAGEN cooperation will develop prototype hardware and software system for the automated detection of behaviors of laying hens in large groups. Building on the data generated by these technologies, it will be possible to develop mathematical models and identify the genetic and environmental factors determining the health, productivity and welfare of flocks.

By working together with a range of experts and stakeholders Hendrix-Genetics is proud to be a part of an ambitious venture to maximize health and welfare of egg-production flocks.