Infrared thermography provides an accurate assessment of feather condition in broiler chickens

Bethany Raine, Jessica Martin, Malcolm Mitchell, Agnieszka Futro, R D'Eath

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


The current study shows that infrared thermography shows promise as an alternative way of assessing feather condition compared to traditional visual scoring scale.

Feather loss is a major problem for broiler chickens and laying hens kept in commercial avian systems. Specific to broilers the feather loss or damage is associated with poor litter quality and ventilation and demonstrates a key welfare concern with birds being vulnerable to heat loss and skin burns and blisters (Haslam et al., 2007). The current most commonly used method of assessing feather coverage is a visual scoring scale from zero (fully feathered birds) to five (completely bald birds), however this is a subjective measure with low inter-observer reliability. Infrared thermography (IRT) measures the surface temperature of an animal and assigns an absolute temperature value to each pixel of the thermal image making it a much more objective method. IRT has been shown to successfully assess feather condition in laying hens however feather score and IRT have not yet been compare in broiler chickens.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Mar 2020
EventWPSA/BSAS UK 2020 Spring Meeting - De Vere Midlands Conference Centre Nottingham, Notingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 31 Mar 2020 → …


ConferenceWPSA/BSAS UK 2020 Spring Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period31/03/20 → …


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