New PLF publication by Georg-August Universit (Germany: Using Acceleration Data to Automatically Detect the Onset of Farrowing in Sows, I Traulsen, C Scheel, W Auer, O Burfeind, J Krieter – Sensors, 2018


The aim of the present study was to automatically predict the onset of farrowing in crate-confined sows. (1) Background: Automatic tools are appropriate to support animal surveillance under practical farming conditions. (2) Methods: In three batches, sows in one farrowing compartment of the Futterkamp research farm were equipped with an ear sensor to sample acceleration. As a reference video, recordings of the sows were used. A classical CUSUM chart using different acceleration indices of various distribution characteristics with several scenarios were compared. (3) Results: The increase of activity mainly due to nest building behavior before the onset of farrowing could be detected with the sow individual CUSUM chart. The best performance required a statistical distribution characteristic that represented fluctuations in the signal (for example, 1st variation) combined with a transformation of this parameter by cumulating differences in the signal within certain time periods from one day to another. With this transformed signal, farrowing sows could reliably be detected. For 100% or 85% of the sows, an alarm was given within 48 or 12 h before the onset of farrowing. (4) Conclusions: Acceleration measurements in the ear of a sow are suitable for detecting the onset of farrowing in individually housed sows in commercial farrowing crates. Jean-Sebastien Giguere Womens Jersey