Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Assessing the activity of individual group-housed broilers throughout life using a passive radio frequency identification system—a validation study
    Sluis, Malou van der; Haas, Yvette de; Klerk, Britt de; Rodenburg, T.B. ; Ellen, Esther D. - \ 2020
    Sensors 20 (2020)13. - ISSN 1424-8220 - p. 1 - 21.
    Activity - Broilers - Radio frequency identification - Tracking - Ultra-wideband - Video

    Individual data are valuable for assessing the health, welfare and performance of broilers. In particular, data on the first few days of life are needed to study the predictive value of traits recorded early in life for later life performance. However, broilers are generally kept in groups, which hampers individual identification and monitoring of animals. Sensor technologies may aid in identifying and monitoring individual animals. In this study, a passive radio frequency identification (RFID) system was implemented to record broiler activity, in combination with traditional video recordings. The two main objectives were 1) to validate the output of the RFID system by comparing it to the recorded locations on video, and 2) to assess whether the number of antennas visited per unit time could serve as a measure of activity, by comparing it to the distance recorded on video and to the distance moved as recorded using a validated ultra-wideband (UWB) tracking system. The locations recorded by the RFID system exactly matched the video in 62.5% of the cases, and in 99.2% of the cases when allowing for a deviation of one antenna grid cell. There were moderately strong Spearman rank correlations between the distance recorded with the RFID system and the distance recorded from video (rs = 0.82) and between UWB and RFID (rs = 0.70) in approximately one-hour recordings, indicating that the RFID system can adequately track relative individual broiler activity, i.e., the activity level of a broiler in comparison to its group members. As the RFID tags are small and lightweight, the RFID system is well suited for monitoring the individual activity of group-housed broilers throughout life.

    Assessing individual activity levels in two broiler lines using an ultra-wideband tracking system
    Sluis, Malou van der; Klerk, B. De; Ellen, E.D. ; Haas, Y. De; Hijink, T. ; Rodenburg, T.B. - \ 2019
    In: Precision Livestock Farming 2019. - Teagasc (Precision Livestock Farming 2019 - Papers Presented at the 9th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming, ECPLF 2019 ) - ISBN 9781841706542 - p. 903 - 906.
    Activity - Broilers - Tracking - Ultra-wideband

    Individual data on activity of broilers is valuable for breeding programmes, as activity may serve as proxy for multiple health, welfare and performance indicators. However, in current husbandry systems, broilers are often kept in large groups, which makes it difficult to identify and monitor them at the individual level. Sensor technologies, such as ultra-wideband (UWB) tracking systems, might offer solutions. This paper investigated the recorded distances of an UWB tracking system that was applied to broilers, as a first step in assessing the potential of an UWB tracking system for studying individual levels of activity in broilers housed in groups. To this end, the distances moved as recorded by the UWB system were compared to distances recorded on video, using Kinovea video tracking software. There was a moderately strong positive correlation between the output of the UWB system and video tracking, although some under- and over- estimations were observed. Even though the recorded distances from the UWB system may not completely match the true distances moved, the UWB system appears to be well-suited for studying differences in activity between individual broilers when measured with the same system settings.

    Validation of an ultra-wideband tracking system for recording individual levels of activity in broilers
    Sluis, Malou Van Der; Klerk, Britt De; Ellen, Esther D. ; Haas, Yvette De; Hijink, Thijme ; Rodenburg, Bas - \ 2019
    Animals 9 (2019)8. - ISSN 2076-2615
    Activity - Broilers - Group housing - Tracking - Ultra-wideband

    Broiler chickens are often kept in large groups, which makes it difficult to identify individual birds and monitor their activity. Here, we studied whether an automated tracking system, using ultra-wideband technology, could be implemented to study activity of individual broilers. We compared the distance as recorded with the tracking system to the distance recorded on video and found a moderately strong positive correlation. Using the tracking system, we were able to detect decreases in activity over time, and we found that lightweight birds were on average more active than heavier birds. Both these results match with reports from literature and therefore support the conclusion that the tracking system appears well-suited for monitoring activity in broilers. The information on activity over time that can be collected with this system can potentially be used to study health, welfare and performance at the individual level, but further research into individual patterns in activity is required. Individual data on activity of broilers is valuable, as activity may serve as a proxy for multiple health, welfare and performance indicators. However, broilers are often kept in large groups, which makes it dificult to identify and monitor them individually. Sensor technologies might offer solutions. Here, an ultra-wideband (UWB) tracking system was implemented with the goal of validating this system for individual tracking of activity of group-housed broilers. The implemented approaches were (1) a comparison of distances moved as recorded by the UWB system and on video and (2) a study recording individual levels of activity of broilers and assessing group-level trends in activity over time; that could be compared to activity trends from literature. There was a moderately strong positive correlation between the UWB system and video tracking. Using the UWB system, we detected reductions in activity over time and we found that lightweight birds were on average more active than heavier birds. Both findings match with reports in literature. Overall, the UWB system appears well-suited for activity monitoring in broilers, when the settings are kept the same for all individuals. The longitudinal information on differences in activity can potentially be used as proxy for health, welfare and performance; but further research into individual patterns in activity is required.

    Feather pecking genotype and phenotype affect behavioural responses of laying hens
    Eijk, Jerine A.J. van der; Lammers, Aart ; Li, Peiyun ; Kjaer, Joergen B. ; Rodenburg, T.B. - \ 2018
    Applied Animal Behaviour Science 205 (2018). - ISSN 0168-1591 - p. 141 - 150.
    Activity - Coping style - Fearfulness - Feather pecking - Genotype - Phenotype

    Feather pecking (FP) is a major welfare and economic issue in the egg production industry. Behavioural characteristics, such as fearfulness, have been related to FP. However, it is unknown how divergent selection on FP affects fearfulness in comparison to no selection on FP. Therefore, we compared responses of birds selected on low (LFP) and high feather pecking (HFP) with birds from an unselected control line (CON) to several behavioural tests (i.e. novel object (NO), novel environment (NE), open field (OF) and tonic immobility (TI)) at young and adult ages. Furthermore, the relation between actual FP behaviour (i.e. FP phenotypes) and fearfulness is not well understood. Therefore, we compared responses of birds with differing FP phenotypes. Feather pecking phenotypes of individual birds were identified via FP observations at several ages. The number of severe feather pecks given and received was used to categorize birds as feather peckers, feather pecker-victims, victims or neutrals. Here we show that HFP birds repeatedly had more active responses (i.e. they approached a NO sooner, vocalized sooner and more, showed more flight attempts and had shorter TI durations), which could indicate lower fearfulness, compared to CON and LFP birds at both young and adult ages. Within the HFP line, feather peckers had more active responses (i.e. they tended to show more flight attempts compared to victims and tended to walk more compared to neutrals), suggesting lower fearfulness, compared to victims and neutrals. Thus, in this study high FP seems to be related to low fearfulness, which is opposite to what previously has been found in other experimental and commercial lines. This stresses the need for further research into the genetic and phenotypic correlations between FP and fearfulness in various populations of chickens, especially in commercial lines. Findings from experimental lines should be used with caution when developing control and/or prevention methods that are to be applied in commercial settings. Furthermore, activity and/or coping style might overrule fearfulness within the HFP line, as HFP birds and feather peckers within the HFP line had more active responses. This might indicate a complex interplay between fearfulness, activity and coping style that could play a role in the development of FP.

    Restless roosts : Light pollution affects behavior, sleep, and physiology in a free-living songbird
    Ouyang, Jenny Q. ; Jong, Maaike de; Grunsven, Roy H.A. van; Matson, Kevin D. ; Haussmann, Mark F. ; Meerlo, Peter ; Visser, Marcel E. ; Spoelstra, Kamiel - \ 2017
    Global Change Biology 23 (2017)11. - ISSN 1354-1013 - p. 4987 - 4994.
    Activity - Artificial light - Great tit - Haptoglobin - Malaria - Oxalic acid - Telomeres

    The natural nighttime environment is increasingly polluted by artificial light. Several studies have linked artificial light at night to negative impacts on human health. In free-living animals, light pollution is associated with changes in circadian, reproductive, and social behavior, but whether these animals also suffer from physiologic costs remains unknown. To fill this gap, we made use of a unique network of field sites which are either completely unlit (control), or are artificially illuminated with white, green, or red light. We monitored nighttime activity of adult great tits, Parus major, and related this activity to within-individual changes in physiologic indices. Because altered nighttime activity as a result of light pollution may affect health and well-being, we measured oxalic acid concentrations as a biomarker for sleep restriction, acute phase protein concentrations and malaria infection as indices of immune function, and telomere lengths as an overall measure of metabolic costs. Compared to other treatments, individuals roosting in the white light were much more active at night. In these individuals, oxalic acid decreased over the course of the study. We also found that individuals roosting in the white light treatment had a higher probability of malaria infection. Our results indicate that white light at night increases nighttime activity levels and sleep debt and affects disease dynamics in a free-living songbird. Our study offers the first evidence of detrimental effects of light pollution on the health of free-ranging wild animals.

    Effect of sterilization and of dietary fat and carbohydrate content on food intake, activity level, and blood satiety–related hormones in female dogs
    Schauf, S. ; Salas-Mani, A. ; Torre, C. ; Bosch, G. ; Swarts, H. ; Castrillo, C. - \ 2016
    Journal of Animal Science 94 (2016)10. - ISSN 0021-8812 - p. 4239 - 4250.
    Activity - Dietary fat and carbohydrates - Dog sterilization - Food intake - Satiety hormones

    Animal sterilization is suggested to promote food overconsumption, although it is unknown whether this effect is mediated by variations in satiety-related hormones, which are released in response to food intake. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of sterilization and of the main energy-delivery nutrients, fat and nonstructural carbohydrates, on food intake, blood concentration of satiety-related hormones, and activity level in dogs. In a 2-phase experiment (phase I [Ph.I], 74 d, and Ph.II, 84 d), 12 female Beagle dogs were assigned to a control group (intact in both phases) and a sterilization group (spayed 20 d before Ph.II). In each phase, dogs received a high-carbohydrate (HC) diet (313 and 105 g/kg DM starch and fat, respectively) and a high-fat (HF) diet (191 and 213 g/kg DM starch and fat, respectively), both high in total dietary fiber (>200 g/kg DM) and providing 27% ME as protein, in 2 consecutive periods following a crossover arrangement. During each period, dogs’ voluntary DMI and activity level were recorded during 5 d. Then, energy allowance was restricted to 0.7 maintenance and the level of intake of a common challenge food offered 4 h after feeding the experimental diets (challenge food intake [ChFI]) was used as an index of the satiety state of dogs. Blood concentration of active ghrelin, cholecystokinin (CCK), total peptide YY (PYY), and insulin were determined before and 15, 60, 120, 240, and 360 min after feeding. Voluntary DMI was greater (P <0.05) in HF-fed dogs, but ChFI did not differ between diets (P > 0.10). Dogs fed the HF diet showed a lower increase of CCK at 120 (P <0.01) and 240 min (P <0.05), resulting in a lower (P <0.001) total area under the curve from 0 to 240 min (tAUC0–240). A lower PYY elevation (P <0.05) was also found in HF-fed dogs at 120 min. Only active ghrelin concentration at 240 min and insulin tAUC0–240 correlated (P <0.05) with ChFI (r = 0.357 and r = −0.364, respectively), suggesting a role of these hormones in appetite. Dog sterilization did not affect voluntary DMI, ChFI, or blood hormones (P > 0.10) but led to a reduced activity level compared with control dogs (P <0.05). In summary, dog sterilization was not associated with an impaired appetite control. Feeding dogs the HF diet led to energy overconsumption and to a lower blood elevation of CCK and PYY but was not associated with a weaker satiating effect 4 h later compared with the HC diet.

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