Saturday, June 10, 2023
HomeHealth & FitnessWill virtual reality be the future of poultry health?

Will virtual reality be the future of poultry health?

Researchers at Iowa State University are trying to use virtual reality (VR) to increase the welfare and health of hens.

In recent years, virtual reality technology has entered all aspects of life. From video games to vocational training, VR seeks to provide users with an experience as close to reality as possible. While this technological advancement may sound dystopian to many, researchers across the country are finding ways to improve our daily lives.

Melha Mellata, associate professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University, and Graham Redweik, a recent doctoral student in the Iowa Interdepartmental Microbiology Graduate Program, are investigating whether VR can be another Used in an unconventional way, this time for birds.

Researchers in Iowa recognize the growing demand for cage-free eggs to provide better welfare for hens, especially when it comes to natural behavior. But because cage-free systems can present some challenges, such as injuries and bacterial infections, most layers are housed in conventional cages. Mellata sees VR technology as a way to simulate a free-range environment in a laying hen house.

“The production environment for free-range laying hens presents many challenges, including potential for additional injury, disease and risk from predators,” Mellata said. “However, hens in free-range environments did tend to engage in active ‘normal’ behaviors more frequently that appear to enhance their overall health and immunity.”

The study , “Exposure to Virtual Environments, “Environment Induces Biological and Microbiota Changes in Onset-of-Layen Hens,” published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers in Science, Discovery in a More Natural Way Showing hens in a VR environment reduced stress indicators in the blood and gut microbiota of the hens. “Interestingly, even just showing the hens in a free-range environment stimulated similar immune benefits,” Melat said.

Chickens are highly receptive to visual stimuli. Like their Tyrannosaurus rex ancestors, chickens have poor depth perception and recognize objects better when moving than when stationary. According to the study, This means that environmental factors such as color, light quality, duration, and intensity can all affect the feeding behavior of poultry.

For example, when watching videos of chick feeding, birds mimic these behaviors and make more Faster access to their feed.

VR scenarios cause biochemical changes associated with increased E. coli resistance, which poses a health risk to poultry and poultry. People who eat contaminated eggs Humans.

Researchers demonstrate video projections of chickens in a free-range environment. Scenes show indoor facilities with access to outdoor fenced scratched areas and unfenced open grasslands, grass, shrubs and Flowers. A group of 34 hens from a commercial flock watched videos on all four walls of their house over a 5-day period. The videos were tested during a stressful high-risk period – 15 weeks after hatching , which is the stage during which commercial hens are regularly transferred to laying facilities.

Visual recordings only show that different groups of free-range chickens perform activities related to positive poultry behaviors, such as grooming, depending on the time of day , perching, sand bathing, and nesting. The video is not shown to a control group of the same size and age in the same type of housing.

Researchers analyzed blood, tissue for their gut microbiota and samples. Chickens in the treated group showed some beneficial changes compared to the control group. Differences included lower markers of stress and increased resistance to avian pathogenic E. coli that can cause sepsis and death in young birds.

“We need more research, but this suggests that virtual reality may be a relatively simple tool for improving poultry health and food safety in confined environments,” Mellata said. “It may also be A relatively inexpensive way to reduce the need for antibiotics during infection and egg production. “

The team hopes to expand the study to conduct similar studies over a longer period of time, with more chickens and chickens at different stages, to see if the results can be replicated.

“Future collaboration with our veterinary partners is also required to study the neurochemical mechanisms linking visual stimuli to changes in the intestines of chickens,” says Mellata.

Complete Research can be viewed here.

(Sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, Click here.)



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Featured NEWS