Animal Husbandry

Artificial Intelligence in Poultry farming - Another Innovation in Agriculture

Abhijeet Banerjee
Abhijeet Banerjee

Artificial Intelligence was once confined to science fiction movies - roughly a couple of decades back. But as years passed, they started influencing human life as well. The entire technological world seems keen over evaluating the consequences of artificial intelligence and the part AI is going to play in shaping our future. Most of us might be of the opinion that that artificial intelligence is at least a few years away from shaping our lives, but fact of the matter is this has already started bearing a significant influence in human lives. In fact, some of our decisions and everyday lifestyles are constantly being affected through Artificial intelligence applications. On smart phones whether we are using the Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri, or Bixby, hardly we are aware that these assistants are based on AI. Almost everybody is using Twitter’, Face book or Instagram - If using these social media, most will agree, that lot of our decisions are being influenced by artificial intelligence. 

But then, what is Artificial intelligence actually. It is an essential part of computer science which is advantageous in making the smart machines capable to perform task that typically require human intelligence. It is a wide-ranging tool that enables people to integrate information, analyse data, and use the insights to improve decision-making thus improving efficiency of any Business. Consider Google search engine for example. It uses artificial Intelligence to lower the human effort in getting any information available on internet, thus making their lives more comfortably and productive.  

Just few years ago there was not much talk about association of AI with animal or plant life. Now this aspect is turning to be a reality and we see lots of development regarding exploring possibilities in application of Artificial intelligence (AI) in Agriculture and Animal Husbandry also. Speaking about the poultry industry, use of Artificial Intelligence can help address many challenges, reduce human interference, improve efficiency of farming and ultimately maximize profit of a poultry farm. Poultry farming is no more relentless, it reported 1% growth in production for the year 2018.Digital technologies are rising to help farmers achieve efficiency. For country like India Poultry has a bright future where it’s GDP is very much linked to Protein intake. Let’s see how Artificial Intelligence can bring a paradigm shift in development of the Poultry Industry.  

Drone Technology in Poultry 

This is another innovation in Poultry science. Application of drones has been considered a better solution for free-range or yard farms where birds are allowed to roam freely by their owners. In this case the drones play the role like that of a sincere care taker.  

The drones can be used for constant monitoring of the chicks.  Drones take pictures of the bird throughout the day at designated pace and send it instantly to the systems and build the database for analyzing the behavior of the flock. The data is useful for the developers use the data sent by drones to feed computer vision models  and then understand the behavior of the domesticated birds. 

Detecting avian diseases through Training models  

AI has a significant role to play in detecting bird diseases like the bird flu etc. The infected birds have symptoms like nasal and saliva secretions apart from high temperature. Pictures sent from drone are then fed to the machine, which can recognize the disease at an early stage. Since the infection is contagious, it leads to reduced production therefore early detection helps poultry farmers to check the disease spread by giving the necessary treatment to the birds or chicks. The computer models are designed for differentiating infected bird from a healthy bird by just noticing the nasal or oral secretion on the beak/mouth of a chicken. Similarly domestic fowls suffering from nutritional deficiencies can be detecting in the young chicks and thus a farmer can avoid such loss.  

Detecting Behavioral diseases through AI 

Machines can be trained to detect the behavior of feather pecking in birds and its adverse affects. This also helps in identifying the injured birds. Building machine, which gives timely alerts to the farmers about cannibalization, ensures higher productivity of the poultry. Pecking behavior often leads to the plumage of laying hens which has a negative impact over health of the flock, and under this situation Death can occur within 10 minutes of pecking. Therefore early detection becomes essential.  

Farm Management Efficiency through AI 

Farm management practice becomes less stressful with the use of AI. With the help of computers a large amount of information can be stored in cloud spaces which can be utilized by Machine or robotics to control parameters like Humidity, temperature, light etc. Through Machine Learning Robotics can be used to monitor large number of parameters which are essential for Farm Management.  Artificial Intelligence can also process the data and after processing the result AI can be used for instant decision making thus improving efficiency of the Farm. 

Aid in Genetics Studies:  

Programming and robotics are also beneficial for improving genetic quality of a particular chicken breed. AI application can identify traits of a particular breed characteristics and aid in decision making while selecting the right breed characteristics. These processes can significantly lower the trial cost and also provide accurate trial results. As per reports Technologies like smart automation and machine vision can be used by Nutrition companies, Feed manufacturers, Vaccine or drug producing companies, and improve accuracy and efficiency and also further enhance the quality control in their manufacturing facilities.  

The benefits are numerous which is beyond the scope of discussion in this article. In coming future AI is most likely to contribute significantly in development of poultry industry though enhancing efficiency and accuracy at every level. Artificial Intelligence has great potential in poultry industry since the numerous challenges which are very difficult or nearly impossible to be resolved manually, can be done through involvement of Machines and Robotics. In the last few years many companies have started evaluating use of AI at various levels of value chain and have successfully adopted them.  

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