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Pig Research Centre

Pig unit dry sowWe specialise in high quality animal health and welfare research, knowledge transfer and education activities.

More information on our Pig Research

We own farms and research facilities covering the major livestock species. These support our research, teaching and knowledge exchange/consultancy functions.

The majority of our pig research is conducted at our pig unit and we also undertake a number of projects on selected commercial farms. The pig unit is a farrow to finish, 100 sow herd. We use PIC genetics, with Large White x Landrace sows and Pietrain terminal sires. Our biosecurity measures, and closed herd (breeding replacement gilts on site) ensure high health status. The herd’s high welfare standards are recognised by membership of the QMS farm assurance scheme.

Our research staff have experience in designing and managing major research projects in animal science to a high standard, publishing in refereed international journals (Quality Assurance ISO 9001:2015). Our skills and experience cover a wide range of animal husbandry and research methodologies, including:

  • Nutritional trials monitoring feed intake and growth
  • Studies of pathogens and parasitic organisms
  • Behavioural observations and behavioural tests (e.g. animal temperament such as fear or aggression, animal cognition)
  • Designing and evaluating alternative housing systems
  • Welfare measurement using various scoring systems, including Qualitative Behavioural Assessment
  • The collection of physiological samples including blood, saliva and faeces and a variety of post-mortem tissues including nervous tissue, adrenals, liver etc
  • CT scanning: e.g. for growth studies, predicting carcass composition from live animals
  • Minor surgical procedures e.g. to implant catheters and telemetry devices for continuous monitoring of physiological variables
  • Our Veterinary Laboratories are located close by providing a wide range of analytical and diagnostic services

Dr Rick D'Eath

Reader in Animal Behaviour & Welfare

Address: Animal & Veterinary Sciences, SRUC, Roslin Institute Building, Easter Bush, Midlothian EH25 9RG

Telephone: 0131 651 9356

Fax: 0131 535 3121