Research on activity and behavior in stables

The investigation of movement, activity, and behavior of animals in pens or stables is valuable in research on animal health and welfare. It gives great insight into differences between group and individual housing, enriched and plain stables, different types of feeding systems, and so on. EthoVision® XT will make your research easier and more efficient by automatically tracking your animal in its enclosure and analyzing its movement and activity.

One of the main reasons to conduct research on farm and zoo animal behavior is to improve the living conditions in view of animal welfare. EthoVision XT allows you to automatically collect data on important indicators of health and welfare, such as the general activity, resting behavior, or social interaction of your animals.

Live or from video files

You can use EthoVision XT in any type of set-up, as long as you can view your animals from above with a camera. EthoVision XT can track from a live video feed or from previously recorded video files.

Reliable detection

EthoVision XT features smart detection settings that eliminate the need for sensors or large markers and ensure that your animal is reliably tracked, even in unevenly lit stables or if the animal rearranges its bedding during the experiment. During tracking, EthoVision XT stores the coordinates of your animal while it moves through the stable, pen or other type of enclosure.

From basic to in-depth analysis

After tracking, you can use this data for anything from basic to in-depth analysis. EthoVision XT enables you to set up a trial list defining each subject and experiment you have planned, including independent variables such as age and gender. You can also define different points or areas of interest within the stable, such as a feeding trough. Use both together with the tracking and behavioral data you have collected to select data prior to analysis. This will help you easily answer questions such as: “How much time does the animal spend near the feeding trough?”, or “When was the animal in proximity of another animal?”. EthoVision XT offers a range of parameters for efficient analysis.

Measure social interaction

EthoVision XT can track multiple animals simultaneously, and tell them apart with the help of a color marker. This enables you to investigate social interaction parameters in an efficient manner; EthoVision XT calculates parameters that tell you which animals spent a lot of time in close proximity to each other, or how much time an animal spent moving away from another animal.

Behavioral scoring

You might be interested in behaviors that cannot be detected automatically. For example, you not only want to know how much time an animal spent near the feeding trough, but also how much of that time the animal actually spent eating. That is why EthoVision XT has a built-in manual even recorder. This allows you to define a list of behaviors and score these during data acquisition. For more elaborate behavioral scoring, import your EthoVision XT data and the video file into The Observer®XT and benefit from extensive scoring functionality. For example, the playback functionality lets you easily playback the video to certain episodes in which a lot of behaviors co-occur, so that you can score these without missing anything while playing the video at half speed.

Compare behavior and physiology

Combining information on the physiology of the animal with activity and other behavioral data can lead to a better understanding of your results, and give you insight into the animal’s inner world. EthoVision XT allows you to synchronize and visualize external data streams alongside your track data, analysis results, and manually recorded behaviors. For example, you can investigate the influence of group housing or the provision of enrichment on stress responses in animals such as cows, by integrating heart rate data into your experiment.

TrackLab: another solution for your stable studies

Studying spatial behavior can help you learn more about the movement of your subjects and how much time they spend in different areas. With TrackLab, studying spatial behavior in a stable is easier and more efficient. Collect data with the tracking system of your choice (being an open and flexible system, it works with a wide variety of technologies) and visualize, process, and analyze that data easily. TrackLab also can have real-time integration with other software, giving it a wide range of possibilities.