Assessment of a global positioning system to evaluate activities of organic chickens at pasture

A. Dal Bosco, C. Mugnai, F. Sirri, C. Zamparini, C. Castellini
2010 Journal of Applied Poultry Research  
The aims of the present study were to assess the use of a global positioning system (GPS) monitoring device to evaluate the activities of organic chickens at pasture. Two hundred male birds from 2 strains (100 slow-growing and 100 fast-growing birds) were reared separately in 4 indoor pens (0.10 m 2 /bird), each with access to a grass paddock (10 m 2 /bird; 2 replications/ genotype). During the last week of age (from 73 to 80 d of age), the kinetic activity of chickens was monitored by
more » ... l observations (n = 20; focal bird sampling method) and a GPS (n = 10; Super Trackstick, Atex International, Route d'Esch, Luxembourg) equipped with a universal serial bus port for quick viewing on Google Earth's 3-D model, giving information concerning the date, hour, environmental conditions, and coordinates of monitored birds. Based on the focal bird sampling method, fast-growing birds tended to stay indoors rather than forage in the pasture, whereas slow-growing birds spent more time outdoors (P < 0.05). Moreover, visual observations confirmed GPS records, whereas slow-growing birds were observed to perform more active behaviors, stand less, and spend more time outdoors than indoors. Based on GPS tracks, slow-growing chickens covered an average daily distance of 1,230 m, whereas fastgrowing birds covered only 125 m. In conclusion, GPS appears to be a suitable way to evaluate the kinetic activity of chickens. We also concluded that locomotor activity, which requires a high energy consumption, is low in fast-growing birds compared with slow-growing ones, allowing the fast-growing birds to reallocate energy to productive traits.
doi:10.3382/japr.2010-00153 fatcat:ea4rljaxj5g7xlohshrtsrknqm