First mobile application to measure animal welfare and health in poultry farms

The new app developed by Ikerbasque researcher Ms. Inma Estevez at NEIKER- Tecnalia is the first mobile application for the evaluation of animal welfare. i-Watchturkey is aimed at measuring the health and welfare of turkeys in commercial poultry farms, using the scientific method.

At the same time as the evaluation is being undertaken, the statistical tool incorporated into the application enables farmers and veterinary surgeons to make comparisons with previous measurements in a simple and rapid manner. The tool requires the user to input information about the conditions of the animal accommodation and the management practices carried out, these features may be linked to the behaviour of the birds, their health and their welfare.

Doctor Estévez’s knowledge of ecology led her to think that a methodology of a transverse nature might be useful for the measurement of the welfare of turkeys on poultry farms, “It was a kind of Eureka moment” according to her. The idea was accepted and tested in commercial poultry farms by the AWIN project research teams at NEIKER-Tecnalia and the University of Milan and with the collaboration of researchers from the University of Purdue in the USA. Apart from testing the methodology, the next logical step was to create a platform for the gathering, analysis and visualisation of data Developing an app seemed the simplest and most rapid tool to reach out to users worldwide.

The results have been presented at various international conferences. The research has been published in Poultry Science journal. “Many scientists have expressed their surprise with the results obtained using such a simple method: the indicators that we have implemented can enable obtaining great economic impact in the poultry industry, and our objective is to both enhance the welfare of the turkeys as well as to increase the profitability of the farmers, helping them to have healthier farms” stated Dr. Estévez. She is currently working on the development of a sister app aimed at chicken farms, the expectation being that this will be on the market within a month.