A one-page paper announcing that wireless technology is for the birds. Or at least the chickens. Michigan State University has plucked a $375,000 federal grant to study the habits of commercial egg-laying hens by using wireless sensors to track “activity profiles.” That’s academic speak for how the hens pass the time when not laying eggs, cackling or playing coy with roosters.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is paying researchers to hook up chickens with a “hen-mountable wireless system” to study how they interact with other birds. The work will help the farmers know how much space hens need and what types of “non-cage housing systems” will provide the “best possible welfare for the animals,” according to MSU.
“Ultimately, the sensors will tell us what behavior a hen is performing. Is she laying an egg? Eating? Or roosting on a perch? Does she fly or walk to move around?” Janice Siegford, a professor of animal science at MSU, said in a statement.
More info here.