PhD in Application of transformative tech to quantify welfare in commercial broiler chickens

A key aim of this project is to develop new technologies and methodologies for monitoring animal welfare, and we are particularly interested in automated behaviour monitoring tools for broiler chickens. These tools offer valuable opportunities to gather information on bird welfare that could ultimately lead to the creation of ‘smart’ houses that respond in real time to the needs of broilers. In this project we are particularly interested in capturing indicators of positive subjective state such as play behaviour and engagement with environmental enrichment. The student would be expected to identify and evaluate new approaches in this area under the supervision of staff at Queen’s University Belfast and Moy Park. This may involve evaluating the use of wearable sensor technologies to monitor individual behaviour patterns, and/or new approaches to automated monitoring of individual or group activities via camera or acoustic recordings. Additional funding is available within this project to support investment in new technology. The student would be expected to conduct direct broiler welfare assessments on commercial farms and to determine associations between data generated from these assessments and from new technologies.

Supervisors:

Professor Niamh O’Connell (Animal Behaviour and Welfare, Queen’s University Belfast) and Dr Anne Richmond (Moy Park Ltd).

Salary: Stipend of £15,009

Closing date: 14/06/2019

Further information can be found here.