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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Hillary Dalton
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).
© 2019 Stevenson, Dalton and Erasmus. Accelerometers have the potential to provide objective, non-invasive methods for detecting changes in animal behavior and health. Our objectives were to: (1) determine the effects of micro-acceleration data loggers (accelerometers) and habituation to accelerometers on turkey gait and health status, (2) determine age-related changes in gait and health status, and (3) assess the validity and reliability of the accelerometers. Thirty-six male commercial turkeys were randomly assigned to one of five groups: accelerometer and habituation period (AH), accelerometer and no habituation period (AN), VetRap bandage (no accelerometer) and habituation period (VH), bandage (no accelerometer) and no habituation period (VN), and nothing on either leg (C). Health status and body condition were assessed prior to video-recording birds as they walked across a Tekscan® pressure pad at 8, 12, and 16 weeks to determine effects of treatment on number of steps, cadence, gait time, gait distance, gait velocity, impulse, gait cycle time, maximum force, peak vertical pressure, single support time, contact time, step length, step time, step velocity, stride length, total double support time, and duty factor. Accelerometer validity and reliability were determined by comparing the number of steps detected by the accelerometer to the number of steps determined from video recordings. Several age-related changes in turkey gait were found regardless of habituation including a slower cadence at 16 weeks, shorter gait distance at 8 weeks, and slower gait velocity at 16 weeks. When comparing bandaged vs. unbandaged limbs, both treatment and age-treatment interactions were found depending on the gait parameter. Accelerometer validity and reliability were affected by both age and treatment. False discovery rate increased, while accuracy and specificity decreased with age. Validity and reliability were lowest for non-habituated birds (AN and VN). Results demonstrated that micro-data loggers do not adversely affect turkey health status, but habituation to wearing accelerometers greatly affects accelerometer reliability and validity. Accelerometer validity and turkey gait are also greatly affected by the age of the turkeys.
Author(s): Stevenson R, Dalton HA, Erasmus M
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Frontiers in Veterinary Science
Online publication date: 31/01/2019
Acceptance date: 29/11/2018
Date deposited: 02/05/2019
ISSN (electronic): 2297-1769
Publisher: Frontiers Media S.A.
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