detecting illness in poultry

How Temperature Monitoring Systems Play a Vital Role

Avian flu, or avian influenza, is a viral disease that affects poultry and wild birds. Outbreaks of avian flu can occur periodically in different regions around the world, and the prevalence can vary over time. The effects of the 2023 Avian influenza outbreak in South Africa have been devastating. To date, 420 000 poultry have been culled, 1.6 million birds have been infected and the industry has suffered a loss of R34 million in revenue.

A temperature monitoring system in poultry farms can help detect illness in birds by identifying abnormal changes in body temperature. Poultry birds tend to exhibit elevated body temperatures when they are experiencing health issues or infections. By continuously monitoring the birds’ body temperatures, any significant deviation from the normal range can be an early indication of illness.

Here’s how a temperature monitoring system can detect illness in poultry:

  1. 1. Baseline Temperature Measurement:
  2. Before illness occurs, a baseline temperature is established by our air probes which determines the temperature of healthy birds. This is typically done by regularly measuring the body temperature of a sample of healthy birds within the flock. The average and acceptable range of temperatures are determined based on these measurements.
  3. 2. Continuous Monitoring:
  4. Once the baseline temperature is established, our temperature monitoring system collects and analyses real-time temperature data from individual birds or specific areas within the poultry house. This can be done using thermal sensors, infrared cameras, or even specialised ear tags or implants that measure body temperature.
  5. 3. Deviation Detection:
  6. The Cold Watch temperature monitoring system compares the current temperature readings to the established baseline or the expected temperature range. If there is a significant deviation, such as a persistent high or low temperature, it can be an indication of illness or infection in the birds.
  7. 4. Alerts and Notifications:
  8. When the temperature monitoring system detects abnormal temperature readings, it can generate real-time alerts or notifications for the farm manager or personnel responsible for bird health. These alerts can be sent via email, SMS, or through our centralised monitoring system. Prompt notifications allow for timely intervention and proper diagnosis of potential health issues.
  9. 5. Early Intervention and Diagnosis:
  10. Once alerted to a potential illness, farm personnel can closely observe the affected birds for other signs and symptoms. They can then take appropriate actions, such as isolating the sick birds, conducting further examinations, and consulting with veterinarians to diagnose and treat the illness.


It is important to note that while temperature monitoring systems can provide early indications of illness, they are not definitive diagnostic tools. Other clinical signs and diagnostic tests are typically needed to confirm specific illnesses or infections in poultry. However, at Cold Watch, our temperature monitoring serves as a valuable tool for early detection and intervention, which can help prevent the spread of diseases and minimise the impact on the overall flock’s health.