Writtle University College's Holly Deacon hopes to improve animal welfare with a ground-breaking new project. The MSc Animal Welfare and Conservation student is liaising with a local farmer to research piglets.
Holly is looking at the milk replacer drinking behaviour of 16 litters of 20-day old piglets in the farrowing crates.
She is monitoring the frequency of milk supplement use during the day and night, noting the piglets' willingness to drink together, follow each other to the milk cup and any signs of aggressiveness. She aims to understand the piglets' individual social behaviour and to see if weight or sex has any effect.
Holly said: "Overall, the results of my project might indicate if the welfare of the animals or production of the farm could benefit from the presence of an additional milk cup for each litter."