Funder and dates: REG, Scottish Funding Council, April 2016 - April 2017
Collaborators/partners: SRUC, Roslin Institute
That animals should thrive under our care is a concept to which farmers will readily relate. To thrive (‘growing vigorously and flourishing’) also fits well to policy interest in positive welfare; it implies animals should experience both physical vigour and mental well-being. In animal science, growth and development has been a major focus of research, however there has been little work directly looking at the relationships and mechanisms linking physical and behavioural development. This project aims to investigate this relationship and gain a greater understanding of the conditions that permit young animals to thrive. With pigs as our model we will focus on early pre- and post-natal experience including examining the role of the mother and environmental enrichment in shaping positive behavioural and physical outcomes. The project is collaboration between SRUC and the Roslin Institute.