Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Validity of micro-data loggers to determine walking activity of Turkeys and effects on Turkey gait

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Hillary Dalton



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Ā© 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 TekscanĀ® 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.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Stevenson R, Dalton HA, Erasmus M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Frontiers in Veterinary Science

Year: 2019

Volume: 5

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.


DOI: 10.3389/fvets.2018.00319


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name
Purdue University Department of Animal Sciences
Purdue University Center for Animal Welfare Sciences