Backpack Sensors Detect Mite Infestations in Chickens
University of California, Riverside, researchers have developed a wearable sensor that can indicate chickens likely to have a case of mites, based on their behavior. Scientists predicted that infected birds would spend more time pecking, preening, and dustbathing as they tried to rid themselves of mite infestations. The chickens wear tiny, portable motion sensors, and a computer algorithm considers the shape and features of graphed data from the sensors to indicate likely mite infestations. The tool is designed for use in free-range chickens, to let farmers know when to examine them for parasites. It could also help farmers track the results of feed and environmental alterations by indicating changes in behavior.