Broiler chicks

Monitoring broiler bird weight is critical to meeting processor requirements, but currently there is no way of accurately tracking this throughout a bird’s life. However, the technology which would allow this is in the pipeline and will soon be available for use on-farm.

Suzy Ackerley, veterinary adviser at Poultry Sense says live on-farm data would enable producers to make evidence-based decisions, to ensure birds are meeting target daily live-weight gains (DLWG) and health and welfare is optimised.

“In broiler production, 24 hours is a significant length of time, with birds gaining on average between 80-90 grams per day, to reach target weights in a 38 to 42 day period,” says Suzy.

“Therefore, it’s vital weights and other environmental parameters are closely monitored and understood, so any health issues or system errors can be identified before any long-term damage is seen.”

She explains there are a number of technological advancements coming to the market, which means it has never been easier to ensure reliable connectivity on-farm that delivers live data, via affordable hardware.

“In recent trials, new sensor-scales can feed live, accurate weight recordings into a bespoke analytics platform. This means any variation or a shift in growth rates can be recognised and acted upon immediately.”

With factors such as temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide, feed availability and water intakes all influencing bird growth, this access to real-time data will allow producers, with the support of their vet, to make the necessary alternations within poultry sheds.

Suzy explains this real-time data will also benefit the wider poultry industry. “Live data will provide insight which can significantly improve supply chain visibility, and therefore food security and traceability.

“Food safety is an important factor for consumers, and technology will allow the whole supply chain to access accurate information and therefore continue to move forward.

“With producers paid on achieving the target weights set by processors, bird-by-bird variance can be costly. This new technology would provide a commercially viable solution to improve overall bird performance, and help to further advance the poultry industry,” Suzy concludes.