Researchers at ISU say virtual reality could boost health in poultry

Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 10:34 PM CDT
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AMES, Iowa (KCRG) - Virtual reality has risen in popularity over the years, especially in things like video games. But now it’s being used for something you might not expect.... making healthier chickens.

Researchers at Iowa State University said by using virtual reality technology, they can simulate a free-range environment for laying hens.

They found showing hens scenes of chickens in more natural environments actually reduced indicators of stress.

Researchers said it also created changes in the chickens that related to increased resistance to E. Coli Bacteria.

E. Coli poses risks to the chicken and to humans who eat contaminated eggs.

ISU associate professor of food science and human nutrition... Melha Mellata... said, “hens in free-range environments do tend to engage more often in positive, ‘normal’ behaviors that seem to enhance their overall health and immunity.”

She goes on to say “It’s intriguing to think that even just showing hens free-range environments can stimulate similar immunological benefits.”

Mellata also said more research is needed but it “suggests virtual reality could be a relatively simple tool to improve poultry health in confined environments and improve food safety”

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