Welfare Improving monitoring Solutions for cHickens

The poultry industry aims to keep on growing, but at the same time it wants to improve animal welfare and adhere to the changing regulations. This will require a further automatization of the welfare and behavior assessment of poultry, with opportunities to steer behavior in real-time. To enable this, the WISH project plans to design innovative sensor technology and flock-based analysis methods. This should lead to a new gold standard in poultry welfare monitoring.

A changing landscape for the poultry industry

The broiler poultry industry in Flanders and beyond has highly efficient production systems. Still, the projected growth might result in animal health and welfare issues. This will cause productivity losses and economic pressure throughout the sector. In addition, the legislative framework is changing for both the farms and the companies developing feed additives and veterinary drugs. Last, there is a growing consumer pressure to raise poultry that adheres to high-quality standards.

The need for automated assessment

Assessing the behavior and welfare of poultry still requires much manual labor. This is not only costly and subjective, but also leads to late interventions and incorrect data interpretation.

In the WISH project, the project partners will design a modular system-based toolbox of sensors and interpretation possibilities. These can be tuned for both laboratories and industrial poultry farms.

A widespread use of such tools would reduce the costs of poultry farming by 20%, improve objectivity, and allow for real-time continuous observation and immediate intervention.

A toolbox of innovative sensing and analysis

For laboratories, the WISH researchers foresee a high-end, full spectrum of functionalities. These will help clinical research organizations, feed additives labs, and developers of veterinary drug and welfare-improving systems conducting experiments on broiler chickens. For commercial farms, customized combinations of the toolbox modules will be developed.

The WISH toolbox will be based on novel sensor technologies and flock-based analysis methods. These will be designed to continuously monitor chickens, provide feedback, and allow dynamic behavior steering in real-time with LED-light recipes and/or multifunctional platforms. All this to improve the productivity of poultry farming and the welfare of the animals.

“The poultry industry is looking for solutions that increase the welfare of animals and that have a positive impact on the productivity, at an acceptable pricing. To address this demand, WISH aims to design a new golden standard of poultry welfare monitoring.”


Welfare Improving monitoring Solutions for cHickens

WISH is an imec.icon research project funded by imec and Agentschap innoveren & ondernemen.

It started on 01.03.2022 and is set to run until 29.02.2024.

Project information


  • Poulpharm bvba
  • Vetworks
  • Lopos
  • Roxell
  • Explorentis


  • UGent - Ethology and Animal Welfare (EAW)
  • UGent – Chair Poultry Health Sciences
  • imec - WAVES - UGent
  • imec - IDLab IBCN - UGent


  • Project lead: Veerle De Colvenaer
  • Research lead: Eli De Poorter
  • Proposal Manager: Margot Deruyck
  • Innovation manager: Annelies Vandamme