PoultryUSA - April 2018 - 63
and use of robots may hasten this trend. To counter
this, producers will need to become better communicators, not only to allay concerns expressed by the
public but also to ensure that robots exactly carry
out the tasks required of them.
Among robots already being commercialized for
poultry production at SPACE were:
■ Octopus Scarifier
The Octopus Scarifier is said to the first robot of
its kind in the world, designed to aerate litter and
The robot has advanced communication and navigation systems that are on a par with autonomous
vehicles. It is mobile, intelligent, autonomous, selfrecharging, can be operated 24/7, and its unique
scarifier turns and aerates all litter types. It also continuously maps indoor temperature, humidity, CO2,
noise and light levels.
A version for the decontamination of empty
poultry houses is also available, called the Octopus
The Octopus Scarifier can be equipped with various modules, designed to decontaminate buildings
and deliver liquid medicines or vaccines. Its manufacturers note that the robot can improve welfare
and reduce mortality as turning and ventilating litter
helps to prevent the onset of aspergillosis, podermatitis, and hock and breast injuries, which may lead to
death and downgrades at processing.
To watch the Octopus Scarifier
and Spoutnic in action, go to
Regular aeration of litter also inhibits fermentation and reduces ammonia levels, and application
of biocides directly into the turned litter can reduce
bacterial challenge, increasingly important as concerns surrounding over-use of antibiotics and antibiotic resistance mount.
April 2018 ❙ www.WATTAgNet.com
The Spoutnic not only encourages birds to lay in nest boxes
but encourages movement, promoting weight gain and
health. Mark Clements
The Spoutnic, produced by Tibot
Technologies, is the brainchild of a husband and
wife with a breeding flock, and was dreamed up
after the latter developed health problems and
was no longer able to walk the house to prevent
birds laying on litter.
The Spoutnic can move randomly throughout the
hen house, forcing birds to move.
In addition to simply journeying through the
poultry shed, the Spoutnic is equipped with lights
and sounds to prevent birds becoming habituated.
Work with a university research team has resulted in
various combinations of lights and noises which can
be changed over time.
The robot can move at a variety of speeds and
can pass over eggs without breaking them.
The Spoutnic may encourage layers to lay in
nesting boxes, but it also offers other benefits. By
encouraging birds to move, there is an improvement in weight gain and health, and the Spoutnic's
random movements do not result in stress or birds
Once charged, the Spoutnic can perform for a
guaranteed eight hours. ■