Evaluating Novel Technologies
Two novel technologies consisting of an individual water consumption system (IWCS) and infrared thermography system (ITHS) were installed in a finishing room. The individual water consumption system (installed in each pen) was composed of a nipple drinker attached to a water fl ow meter, and an RFID reader (and antenna) to capture individual pig data. The infrared thermography system was composed of two types of infrared cameras, one to capture images of individual pigs drinking, a second to capture an image of all the pigs in the pen.
To assess whether the novel technologies were capable of detecting pigs that may be stressed due to routine practices, two stressors were introduced during the trial: (1) moving pigs to the barn hallway and handling them through a pre-defined route for 10 minutes, and (2) mixing unfamiliar groups of pigs. Data from the IWCS system showed that grower pigs tend to consume more water when stressed, and water consumption increased as the pig grew regardless of stress induction. As captured by the infrared thermography system, aggression as a result of mixing unfamiliar pigs to the pen caused an increase in the recorded body temperature of pigs. The system also showed that the pigs’ body temperature was affected by changes in room temperatures. Additionally, installing the two novel technologies and inducing stress due to moving and mixing had no considerable negative impact on the pigs’ production performance.