Predicting Parturition Time through Ultrasonic Measurement of Posture Changing Rate in Crated Landrace Sows

Wang, J.S.;Wu, M.C.;Chang, H.L.;Young, M.S.

  • Received : 2006.09.22
  • Accepted : 2006.12.18
  • Published : 2007.05.01


This study presents an automatic system to predict parturition time in the crated sows. The system relies on ultrasonic transducers mounted from above along the length of the crate. Using a 40 kHz time of flight (TOF) single envelope wave, the momentary distances between the sensors are measured. Therefore, the local momentary height of the sow and the momentary posture, i.e. standing posture (SDP), kneeling posture (KP), sitting posture (STP) and lateral lying posture (LLP) are determined. Crated sows change their postures from standing to lying and vice versa which follows a characteristic pattern. As parturition approaches, sows exhibit uneasiness, restlessness and the stand up sequence (SUS, the posture transition from LLP to SDP) rate increases because of labor pains. In time series, the SUS rate demonstrates a peak and it happens approximately 0-12 h before parturition. In this paper, the basic parturition threshold value method (BPTVM) and the same hour method (SHM) are proposed for predicting parturition, both of which are based on the SUS rate. The BPTVM mainly detects the peak of the SUS rate. As the SUS rate exceeds the threshold value, the parturition becomes predictable. Moreover, the SHM calculates the difference in the SUS rates between a particular time of day and the corresponding time of the preceding day. Compared to the BPTVM, the SHM can eliminate the circadian rhythm of the SUS rate influenced by feeding behavior. Using the SHM the parturition can be approximately predicted within hours. In an attempt to define the threshold parameters of predicting parturition, a data set with 32 sows of the SUS rate are used to estimate assumable predicting probability. The results show the assumable probability of the parturition prediction within 9 h is 96.9% for the SHM and 84.4% for the BPTVM. Moreover, the SHM can even reach a 75% probability of prediction within three hours of parturition. We conclude that the SHM is more accurate and is more useful for parturition time prediction. When parturition is detected, the proposed algorithm generates a warning signal which can inform human personnel to protect the mother and newborn piglets.


Sows;Parturition;Ultrasound;Postures;Basic Parturition Threshold Value (BPTV)


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