• Easter Bush, Roslin Institute Building

    EH25 9RG Midlothian

    United Kingdom


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

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.

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. Current work involves collaborating with agri-tech and pig supply chain companies to use 3D cameras to measure tail posture in pigs to develop an early warning system for tail biting (TailTech project)

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Oxford

15 Sep 199330 Dec 1996

Award Date: 30 Dec 1996

Master, University of Oxford

1 Sep 199030 Jun 1993

Award Date: 30 Jun 1993

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Research Output

Rearing undocked pigs on fully slatted floors using multiple types and variations of enrichment

Chou, J-Y., Drique, C. M. V., Sandercock, D. A., D'Eath, R. B. & O'Driscoll, K., 2 Apr 2019, In : Animals. 9, 4, 139.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 3 Citations (Scopus)
    4 Downloads (Pure)

    Using technology to improve animal welfare: 3D cameras can detect lowered tail posture and give early warning of tailbiting in pigs

    D'Eath, RB., Jack, MC., Futro, A., Talbot, D., Zhu, Q., Barclay, D. & Baxter, EM., Jun 2018, p. 52. 1 p.

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

    Early intervention with enrichment can prevent tail biting outbreaks in weaner pigs

    Lahrmann, HP., Hansen, CF., D'Eath, RB., Busch, ME., Nielsen, JP. & Forkman, B., 23 Jun 2018, In : Livestock Science. 214, p. 272 - 277 6 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 15 Citations (Scopus)
    41 Downloads (Pure)

    Cost-benefit analysis: tail-biting

    D'Eath, RB., 12 Mar 2020, Pigs: Welfare in Practice. Camerlink, I. (ed.). Sheffield, UK: 5m Publishing, p. 30 - 33

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • Activities

    • 3 Invited talk

    3D Tails and TailTech: developing an early warning system for pig tail biting

    Rick D'Eath (Speaker)

    7 Mar 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

    3D technology and animal welfare

    Emma Baxter (Invited speaker) & Rick D'Eath (Speaker)

    10 Apr 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

    3D Tails / TailTech

    Rick D'Eath (Speaker)

    28 Nov 2018

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk