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Dr Victoria Sandilands

Senior Research Scientist
Avian Science
Department of Agriculture, Horticulture and Engineering Sciences

Research Interests

  • Effects of housing and management on the behaviour and welfare of poultry.
  • Humane culling of poultry.
  • Sleep in poultry.
  • How to reduce feather pecking in laying hens.

Selected research projects

  • PhD: The use of sleep as a measure of chronic stress in laying hens
    Using sleep quality/quantity as a novel welfare indicator in laying hens that experience stress (e.g. brief hunger, pain, or specific housing designs). 
  • PhD: Blunting the blows: reducing feather pecking by beak shape selection
    Selecting for naturally-occurring beak shape variation may help reduce damage caused by feather pecking in hens, until eliminating the behaviour can be achieved.
  • The use of enrichments in commercial free-range laying hens
    Environmental enrichments are required in free-range hen housing, but which ones are truly beneficial to hens? This project examines a range of enrichments in 8 flocks.
  • Multi-tier versus single-tier housing for laying hens: production and welfare
    Free-range hens are housed in either multi- or single-tier housing systems, which affect production and welfare (such as keel bone damage).

PhD students

  • Elena Armstrong (UFAW studentship)
    University of Newcastle. Developing lifetime animal welfare assessment tools using novel physiological measures of cumulative chronic stress.
  • Dan  O’Hagan (BBSRC iCASE studentship)
    University of Newcastle Assessing transient affective states in poultry using intracranial recording of brain oscillations.


I am the Programme Director of the University of Edinburgh/SRUC MSc in Applied Poultry Science, a distance-learning programme taught entirely online. I teach the poultry housing element of one course on this MSc. I also teach on the University of Edinburgh/SRUC MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare, on SRUC’s Applied Bioscience courses, and I organise and teach on the only avian personal license training course in Scotland (via ScotPIL).

Selected Publications

See all of Victoria Sandiland's Publications here

Dr Victoria Sandilands

Behavioural Scientist

Address: SRUC, Roslin Institute Building, Easter Bush, Midlothian, EH25 9RG, UK

Telephone: 01292 525 421

Fax: 01292 525 098