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Parasite Infestations Revealed by Tiny Chicken Backpacks


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A chicken wearing a backpack containing an insect detection system.

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside designed a wearable insect detection system that identifies livestock mite infestations in poultry.

Credit: Amy Murillo/UCR

A team of entomologists, computer scientists, and biologists at the University of California, Riverside (UCR) has designed a wearable insect detection system that spots livestock mite infestations in poultry.

Creating the "Fitbits for chickens" system began by identifying three chicken activities related to their well-being (pecking, preening, and dustbathing), of which the latter two hypothetically would increase among poultry infected by fowl mites.

The researchers outfitted the chickens with motion sensors in tiny backpacks, then translated the resulting data into algorithms that could be sensed as behaviors.

UCR's Alireza Abdoli said, "Our approach ... increases the accuracy of the data so much and is key to making good decisions about the chickens' health."

From UC Riverside News
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