The high health, high welfare Easter Howgate pig unit offers commercial buildings that can host experiments as well as dedicated research facilities offering greater flexibility and control in terms of feeding, housing, group sizes, temperature, ventilation and flooring.
The SRUC Oatridge pig unit is a conventional farm offering the potential for focused trial work under commercial settings.
Off-site and mobile facilities include a Veterinary Investigation Unit, Analytical Services Department (specialising in feed analysis), a Biomarkers Laboratory, a mobile CT scanner, as well as mobile Thermography capabilities.
Key research expertise:
The skills and experience of SRUC research staff cover a wide range of animal husbandry and research methodologies.
- Behaviour and welfare to include welfare measurement, behavioural observations and analysis, cognitive tests and social network analysis, pain and stress assessment, positive welfare assessment, building design and environmental enrichment
- Nutrition and gut health to include growth and performance, microbiome, including AMR profiling, challenge models, feed intake and growth rate, environmental impact and genetics
- Sensors and technology to include IR Thermal and CT imaging, 3D cameras and EID, DNA tagging, facial recognition, behavioural event logging, activity and accelerometry
Specialist CIEL capability includes:
PigSAFE free farrowing houses
This facility is ideal for studying sow and piglet behaviour and performance. Two buildings house 12 sows each. The units are fully instrumented for behaviour and climate monitoring. These high welfare sow units are designed to promote natural behaviours in the sow that enhance mothering ability, reduce levels of piglet mortality and help combat aggression. They provide a dynamic environment to improve early life experiences for piglets which can improve health and growth.
Flexible Flooring Pig Unit
Two research buildings provide flexible flooring and adjustable penning to allow different configurations of floor-type and pen sizes & configurations, accommodating a range of trial needs including discrete behavioural tests. Instrumented for behaviour and climate monitoring.
Focused research tackling industry- relevant needs such as finding solutions to tail biting, tail docking, freedom around farrowing, meeting legislative requirements, codes and recommendations to provide manipulable materials.
Supporting the Grand Challenges facing livestock food production:
Health & Welfare Management
Resource Efficiency & Precision Nutrition