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  • Writer's pictureLev Mikulitski

The new frontier for Biosecurity in poultry farming

It is a matter of the fact that the origin and prevalence of the diseases adversely affect the poultry industry. It necessitates the implications of the biosecurity measures. Biosecurity is considered the key constituent of the poultry industry. It aimed to prevent the introduction and outspread of the diseases. Moreover, the effective biosecurity program assists in keeping the diseases off from the poultry farms. However, if the disease-causing organisms are present at the farm, it may also eliminate or decrease them to a non-significant level. It is well established that the biosecurity measures exhibit the potential to enhance the productivity and profitability of the poultry farm. However, conventional biosecurity measures are incapable of ensuring optimum biosecurity; ultimately, it leads to decreased production performance, profitability, and food quality. Therefore, it is imperative to adopt the latest trends of modern biosecurity, which is active for optimum productivity and profitability.

The new frontier for biosecurity in poultry farming

It is well established that poultry production focuses more and more on the real-time sensing of the disease-causing agents. However, real-time sensing is only possible by following the latest biosecurity advances. It is well known that the poultry shed environment is a critical factor from a production perspective. Therefore, it should be regulated and optimized in compliance with the latest biosecurity trends and needs.

These biosecurity models represent optimum real-time surveillance in conjunction with environmental monitoring and perception. Moreover, these models are facilitated by multiple sensors and AI-based technologies, which ensure real-time environmental and physiological surveillance. Ultimately, the better we percieve and understand the production environment, the greater our ability to optimize our biosecurity efforts. One question is which technologies and methods are available relative to their efficiency in contributing to the quality construction of the environment for effective decision making? and the additional question is, what quality of metadata these methods enable in order to be able to draw quality conclusions quickly.

We must not forget that in the environment of chicken production, time is a key function. Late understanding of the environment has the potential for enormous damage. Our goal is to prevent this damage.

...the significant disadvantage of traditional biosecurity methods is the fact that when something can be observed, it is too late...

Sensing systems and methods of environmental monitoring

Multi-sensor systems;

These sensors are the vital constituent of surveillance systems. They evaluate the air velocity, pressure, temperature, and other parameters in the poultry houses. Hence, they effectively assess the function of the farm ventilation system.

Sensors for relative humidity;

These sensors also regulate and control the poultry farms, followed by the humidity regulation. It is evidenced that humidity levels are directly associated with the bird’s health, linked with the emission of the gases (carbon dioxide & ammonia). When the intensity of these gases increases, they ultimately result in deteriorated bird health and productivity.

Biosensors & wearable (contact) sensors;

These sensors enhance the rapid detection of poultry diseases. These sensors are regarded as the optimum and promising diagnostic technologies. E.g. Biosensors for the detection of influenza virus. These sensors also evaluate the stress, behavior and health/disease status of the birds/animals in addition to their physiological monitoring. These sensors also detect the avian influenza virus infection by focusing on the particular physiological changes associated with the disease. The application of these sensors requires ancillary use in laboratories, so these in fact are hybrid approaches which are designed for the diagnosis of specific diseases.

Non-contact, non invasive methods of surveillance;

The poultry houses are analyzed in real-time following the latest surveillance technologies. For real-time analysis, these technologies can collect and process the huge and diverse data of these birds and ensure optimum surveillance.These methods are largely based on the sensory perception of the environment and analysis of the gas components in the production environment, but are not limited to. The purpose of this approach, is to locate conditions that can be found good for the onset of diseases, such as suboptimal sanitary conditions, and others. In this sense it is an anomaly detection In this sense it is a matter of detecting anomalies that can lead to early diagnosis and effective treatment or taking operational steps.

Poultry vocalization;

It is reported that vocalization can interpret the animal/birds health, welfare and production management. Moreover, vocalization analysis is regarded as promising for the earlier detection of emerging diseases, e.g. Avian Influenza (AI).

Image analysis;

This analysis also interprets the real-time data at lower invasive levels. It mainly focuses on the behavior, welfare and production potential of the birds/animals. Real-time image analysis allows us to identify the crowding patterns of the birds, identify signs of distress and alert in time to unusual events.

Robotic Surveillance;

It is the latest frontiers of biosecurity, which limits human monitoring in poultry farmhouses. Hence, it reduces the risk of the introduction of disease-causing agents in the poultry houses. Moreover, robots are self-driven vehicles that can also increase the barn sanitation.

* Representing the technologies available today and who they serve

Why poultry producers should apply new digital technologies in order to be aware of various biosecurity conditions, so they are pro-active and responsive in real time?

The traditional methods for surveillance or disease detection are facilitated by visual observation or by veterinarians and farmers. However, such methodologies are time-consuming, labor-intensive, and less efficient at larger scale poultry production. The significant disadvantage of traditional biosecurity methods is the fact that when something can be observed, it is too late. Therefore, it lights the way to adopt the latest biosecurity technologies (biosensors, wearable sensors or non-invasive surveillance systems). In the end and as we have already mentioned in "Prevention is better than Cure" article; healthier chicken converts better grains to protein and with constant instability in feed costs, this is critical for both producers and consumers.

These technological advancements assist the poultry producers in monitoring the health status of more birds with lesser resources. These technologies are non-invasive and capable of using the data which is captured from the various devices and sensors; operational, physiological, and environmental in the way that meta-data is created. They pro-active the poultry producers to monitor and control the poultry birds and their environment better. Thus, it enables the poultry producers to take the best decision concerning the management. Moreover, these digital technologies evaluate the data in real-time, and in an automatic way, which improves the surveillance or diagnosis of emerging diseases.

Therefore, it is concluded that these technologies decrease the need for regular human monitoring of poultry farms. Hence, they lower the risk of the introduction of disease-causing agents into the poultry flocks. Therefore, it is recommended that the poultry producers should be get involved and apply these digital technologies. It is way forward for the poultry producers to become pro-active and responsive in real-time for optimum surveillance, farm management, productivity and profitability.

To sum up;

Conventional biosecurity measures are incapable of ensuring optimum biosecurity; ultimately, it leads to decreased production performance, profitability and food quality. Therefore, it is imperative to adopt the latest trends of modern biosecurity, which is pro-active. The capabilities available today ensure full visibility and traceability of the entire production process while constantly monitoring health-related aspects. And since a significant meta-data profile has been constructed, biosecurity conclusions can be drawn quickly and efficiently. Ultimately, it will reduce the production losses and incidence of the farm's infection. Hence, it will ensure optimum farm management, productivity, profitability, and ultimately better food quality.


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