Using video image analysis to count hens in cages and reduce egg breakage on collection belts

Cronin, G. M. and Borg, S. S. and Dunn, M. T. (2008) Using video image analysis to count hens in cages and reduce egg breakage on collection belts. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 48 (7). pp. 768-772. ISSN 0816-1089


Stock people working in modern cage layer sheds spend more than half their daily work time directly checking hens to monitor health and welfare. In addition, mechanical egg collection belts must be checked for potential blockages that may result in cracked or broken eggs during the collection process. These are important tasks in the profitable management of modern multi-tier cage systems. However, where the upper tiers of cages are above stockperson eye level, the effectiveness of humans to perform these tasks accurately may be questioned. We investigated whether video image analysis (VIA, the ability of a computer to ‘see’) could automatically perform two common tasks -- that of counting the number of hens per cage and scanning the egg collection belt to identify foreign (non-egg) objects. Cameras were attached to the robotic feeder that moved along the front of the cages. Views of the interior of the cages and the egg collection belt were recorded on digital video as the robotic feeder moved. TwoVIA prototypes were evaluated, initially at the research institute and subsequently at a commercial farm. Using the respective automatic detection algorithms that were developed for the research, 79% of targets (hen legs) in cages were correctly counted, while 95% of foreign objects on the egg collection belt were detected. The results demonstrate that VIA can be used to monitor egg belts for potential blockages, and has potential as technology to count hens.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Agricultural, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2012 00:27
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2014 01:58
Uncontrolled Keywords: cage housing; egg production; laying hens; machine vision
Fields of Research : 09 Engineering > 0906 Electrical and Electronic Engineering > 090609 Signal Processing
08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0801 Artificial Intelligence and Image Processing > 080104 Computer Vision
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070105 Agricultural Systems Analysis and Modelling
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 83 Animal Production and Animal Primary Products > 8305 Primary Animal Products > 830501 Eggs
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1071/EA07404

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