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Dr Rick D'Eath

Dr Rick D'Eath

Rick D'Eath

 0131 651 9356

Animal & Veterinary Sciences,

SRUC, Roslin Institute Building,

Easter Bush, Midlothian

EH25 9RG


As a behavioural scientist, I study behaviour as a way of measuring Animal Welfare, and to understand and solve welfare problems which involve behaviour in captive animals, particularly farmed livestock.

My research interests include:

1) Behavioural problems in pig groups: particularly

•Social aggression (fighting and bullying), where I have long-standing collaboration with SRUC colleague Dr Simon Turner, looking for genetic and management solutions and seeking to understand how pigs assess each other during fights.
•Tail biting. Identifying practical means to predict, detect and prevent tail biting on farm. In collaboration with Danish Pig Research Centre and Teagasc in Ireland.

2) The problem of hunger in feed-restricted broiler breeders and dry (lactating) sows. These animals have high growth potential but must be rationed to be healthy adults. Can we find diets which restrict energy to ensure good health without chronic hunger?

3) The use of technology to improve management and welfare by monitoring behaviour on-farm. Developing machine-vision approaches based on video technology to automate behaviour recording.

Leading Ideas

  • Agricultural Systems and Land Management
  • Livestock Diseases
  • Livestock Welfare

Area of Strategic Research Programme

Further information the Scottish Government's Strategic Research Programme is available

  • Theme 2: Productive and sustainable land management and Rural Economies
  • 2.2 - Livestock Production, Health, Welfare, and Disease Control
  • 2.2.7 Welfare assessment techniques
  • 2.3 - Productive and Sustainable Land Management
  • 2.3.1 Improvement of livestock