Artificial intelligence in poultry industry

AI in Poultry Industry: Artificial intelligence is defined as computer systems replicating human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making and translation between languages.

Artificial intelligence in poultry industryAt a simplistic level, predictive modelling such as that used in feed formulation might be a form of artificial intelligence, but the use of machine vision, neural networks and deep learning take us into areas where computers can surpass human capacities.

There is race in the world to become the global leader in artificial intelligence (AI). In the past few years all the developed countries are striving to promote the use and development in A.I. There is lot of discussion regarding A.I in Pakistan from the highest government level.

The topics under focus are to promote Technology driven economy with enhanced allocations to higher education and technical human resource development. Moreover, promotion of digitalization and promotion of AI (Artificial Intelligence) education.

Poultry industry is booming. Estimated growth in poultry is 1% for the year 2018. Poultry products especially eggs have been a universal acceptance irrespective of culture and religion. It is estimated that 66% of the egg production is from Asia. Poultry has a far-fetched future in a country like Pakistan where GDP is linked to protein intake.

Different technologies are emerging to help farmers achieve efficiency. Evolution in every field is central to achieve peak in that field.  The only question is how soon it happens. So, to cope with the emerging trends there is need to introduce AI (Artificial Intelligence) in the field of poultry.

Drones in Poultry

Drones can be used in poultry industry. Although there is concern that these drones could make flock nervous and impart stress, yet it can be used for free-range or yard farms where poultry birds can roam freely. As non-descript birds farming is talk of the town.

These drones work as nannies for these non-descript birds (large scale). Regular monitoring of aviculture with the help of drones is helpful for security of flock.

Drones take pictures of the flock throughout the day at regular interval and send it immediately to the analysing system that build the database for monitoring the flock.

Models to detect avian diseases

The infected birds may have symptoms like nasal and saliva secretions apart from high temperature (influenza).  Pictures or visuals sent from more precise drone in free range and three dimensional models in control houses are fed to specially built symptoms detector analyser to recognize the disease at an early stage as the infection is contagious and leads to reduced production.

It also helps farmers in saving the life of chicks as clogging blocks the nose of the bird leading to death. By annotating the secretions on the beak of chicken, devices are trained to identify the difference between a healthy bird and influenced bird. Tools help to differentiate precisely the target shape and texture of the secretion.

Models to detect nutritional deficiencies in chicks.

Poultry especially layer may suffer nutritional deficiencies due to persistent peak production. A farmer can avoid such losses by early detection.

Detectors that detect bone deformities and decreased growth of young chickens through the data provided by 3D models. By colouring or drawing a box over the infected bird, devices help to locate the bird and shift to CP (culled pen) and pay special attention to those birds.

Models to detect behavioural diseases

Pecking (bite something with beak) behaviour often leads to compromised health and welfare conditions of the flock. Death occurs within 10 minutes of pecking, so early detection becomes the need of the hour.

Devices which gives alerts to the farmer regarding cannibalism within the timeframe of destruction will enhance the welfare and productivity of the poultry.

Again, by using box annotating tool, devices are fed to detect the behaviour of feather pecking in birds and its severity. It also enables to identify the injured birds, which alarms the concerned official to take necessary action.

Robots doing the ‘’dirty work’’

One of the most practical applications of digital technology in the poultry industry can be the use of robots. There are a multitudinous number of repetitive tasks that robots could assist with. Poultry houses require nearly constant attention to cleaning and sanitizing, collecting eggs and checking birds.

This is time-consuming, monotonous work, but it would not bother a robot. Additionally, robots are more precise, thorough and honest about the work they do, compared to their human counterparts.

Chicken translators

Sounds of the birds is prime indicator of many diseases (Infectious bronchitis, New castle disease, Avian influenza, Chronic Respiratory Disease).

Many poultry producer will attest that the sounds of the flock indicate health, comfort and overall well-being. By listening to and understanding the sounds of a healthy flock, producers can be tuned in to signals of distress and have a better chance of reducing stress or distress early on.


A form of AI, machine vision, has been used to grade eggs as well as determine defects such as cracking or internal blood spots. It can also be used in assessing infertility during incubation by scanning eggs and distinguishing fertile from infertile. An algorithm is then created, enabling the device to determine the percentage of fertility.

All the above discussion is not beating the air. People in poultry developed countries are working on it as Aidan Connolly, chief innovation officer and vice president of corporate accounts at Alltech , presented “Flocking to Digital: The Future of Poultry Technology” during the Alltech Annual Breakfast Meeting at the International Production & Processing Expo.

As a poultry industry developing country we must calculate pros and cons of AI. Artificial intelligence (AI) overall is poised to enhance productivity and innovation around the world.

The expected benefits promise to be transformative, but the negative repercussions could be magnified in developing countries, where the livelihoods of many people are precarious and social institutions can be fragile. So, there must be equilibrium and policy makers must keep all the perspective in mind.

Authors: Haseeb Jawad, Muhammad Kashif Saleemi

Department of Pathology, University of Agriculture Faisalabad.

By Haseeb Jawad

Dr.Haseeb Jawad Doctor of veterinary medicine (UAF,FSD) Currently, doing M.Phil. Pathology (UAF,FSD)