Sheep Learned to Ignore Overhead Drones
March 2, 2018

Researchers have found that sheep mostly ignore the presence of a drone after a time, allowing the technology to be used effectively on smaller farms. The study was one of several conducted by Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences on various applications of drone technology, from monitoring crops to sampling microbes in the air.

“Farms could use drones as a ‘check-on’ tool to ensure sheep are where they are supposed to be,” says Dan Swafford, project associate for Virginia Cooperative Extension. “Drones can help farmers gain quick access to see if an animal is in need or injured, [or] to examine if a ewe has delivered a lamb.”

Swafford worked with Andrew Weaver, a former graduate student in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science. Weaver was a natural fit as he had been working with sheep and had a private pilot’s license.

“We kept a scoring system to see how flighty the sheep were.” Weaver says. “They learned that it was OK, and with regular flying they got used to it.”

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Source: Farmer’s Weekly