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Keelin O'Driscoll

Research Officer

Research Interests

  • Investigating husbandry and management factors that affect the well-being and productivity of agricultural animals, particularly with regard to animal health.
  • The feasibility of novel systems of production, or aspects of production systems, using a wide variety of animal based measures (e.g. health, immune, molecular and behaviour based measures).
  • Methods of measuring animal welfare and stress.

Current Projects

  • Earwel: Elucidating etiology and risk factors for ear lesions on Irish pig farms (2021-2025). My role: Task leader
  • TailBiteAdvice: An ICT-based real-time advisory tool to minimise tail biting in fattening pigs (2021-2024).
  • MonoGutHealth: Training and research for sustainable solutions to improve gut health and reduce losses in monogastric livestock using bioactives and early life nutrition (2021-2025).
  • PigNoDock: Development and implementation of a tail biting risk assessment tool on commercial pig farms (2019-2023).
  • SowWeanWel: The implications of chronic stress in gestating sows for sow performance and welfare and for the resilience of her piglets to stress and disease (2018-2022).
  • WATERWORKS: Water foot printing and water use reduction of Irish pig production (2017-2021).

Completed projects:


  • BA Biological Sciences, University of Oxford (2000)
  • MSc Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare, University of Edinburgh (2004)
  • PhD, University College Dublin (2008)
  • Fulbright Scholarship, Purdue University/USDA (2006/2007)

Post doctoral education:

  • University of Cambridge (2008/2009)
  • Marie Curie Experienced Researcher, Teagasc (2010/2012)


I carried out my MSc research on dairy calf feeding and competitive behaviour at the University of British Columbia’s dairy education and research centre. I then completed my PhD (The effect of out-wintering pad design on dairy cow health and welfare) with UCD, based at Teagasc Moorepark. As part of my PhD I also spent a year as a visiting scientist at the USDA Livestock Behaviour Research Unit in Purdue University, funded by a Fulbright award. Following this I moved to University of Cambridge where I spent two years working on an RSPCA funded project investigating methods of provision of water to commercially farmed ducks. While there I applied for and was successful in obtaining an individual Marie Curie fellowship, which brought me back to the Teagasc Animal Bioscience centre in Co. Meath. I spent two years researching the molecular mechanisms underlying bovine lameness from claw horn disorders. Since 2013 I have been employed in the Teagasc Pig Development Department as a research officer, funded by the Irish Farmers Association and Teagasc Joint programme.

Professional Membership

  • International Society of Applied Ethology: Council Member
  • European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP): Ordinary Member 
  • Rooney, H.B., O’Driscoll, K., Silacci, P., Bee, G. O’Doherty, J.V. and Lawlor, P.G. 2020. Effect of dietary L-carnitine supplementation to sows during gestation and/or lactation on sow reproductive performance, muscle maturation and lifetime growth in progeny from large litters. British Journal of Nutrition. 124:43-56.
  • Chou, J.-Y., D’Eath, R.B., Sandercock, D.A. and O’Driscoll, K. 2020. Enrichment use in finishing pigs and its relationship with damaging behaviours: comparing three wood species and a rubber floor toy. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. In press
  • Hartnett, P., O’Driscoll, K. and Boyle, L.  2020. The effect of group composition and mineral supplementation during rearing on the behaviour and welfare of developing gilts. Translational Animal Science. In press
  • Rooney,  H.B., O’Driscoll, K., O’Doherty, J.V. and Lawlor, P.G. 2020. Effect of incremental sow dietary energy density during late gestation and lactation on sow lactation performance, piglet vitality and lifetime growth of offspring. Journal of Animal Science. 98:1.
  • Haigh, A. and O’Driscoll, K. 2019. Irish pig farmer’s perceptions and experiences of tail biting. Porcine Health Management. 5:30,
  • Haigh, A., Chou, J.-Y. and O’Driscoll, K. 2019. An investigation into the effectiveness of compressed straw blocks in reducing abnormal behaviour in growing pigs. Animal. 13(11):2576-2585.  
  • Schmitt, O., O’Driscoll, K., Baxter, E. and Boyle, L. 2019. Artificial rearing affects the emotional state and reactivity of pigs post-weaning. Animal Welfare. 28(4):433-442.
  • Rooney, H.B., O’Driscoll, K., O’Doherty, J.V. and Lawlor, P.G. 2019. Effects of L-carnitine supplementation and sugar beet pulp inclusion in gilt gestation diets on gilt live-weight, lactation feed intake and offspring growth from birth to slaughter. Journal of Animal Science. 97(10):4208-4218.
  • Hartnett, P., Boyle, L. Younge, B and O’Driscoll, K. 2109. The Effect of Group Composition and Mineral Supplementation during Rearing on Measures of Cartilage Condition and Bone Mineral Density in Replacement Gilts. Animals. 9(9): 637.
  • Chou, J.-Y., O’Driscoll, K., D’Eath, R.B., Sandercock, D.A. and Camerlink, I. 2019. Multi-step tail biting outbreak intervention protocols for pigs housed on slatted floors. Animals.  9(8):582.
  • Schmitt, O., Baxter, E., Lawlor, P., Boyle, L. and O’Driscoll, K. 2019. A single dose of fat-based energy supplement to light birth-weight pigs shortly after birth does not increase their survival and growth. Animals. 9:227.
  • Schmitt, O., O’Driscoll, K., and Baxter, E. 2019. Exploratory study of the effects of Intra-Uterine-Growth-Retardation and neonatal energy supplementation of low birth-weight piglets on their post-weaning cognitive abilities. Animal Cognition. 22:373-385.
  • Chou, J.-Y., Drique, C.M.V., Sandercock, D.A., D’Eath, R.B. and O’Driscoll, K. 2019. Rearing undocked pigs on fully slatted floors using multiple types and variations of enrichment. Animals. 9:139-155.
  • O’Driscoll, K., Lewis, E. and Kennedy, E. 2019. The effect of feed allowance at pasture on the lying behaviour of dairy cows. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 213:40-46.
  • Schmitt, O., Baxter, E., Boyle, L. and O’Driscoll, K. 2019. Nurse sow strategies in the domestic pig (Sus Scrofa): II. Consequences piglet growth, suckling behaviour, and sow nursing behaviour. Animal. 13:590-599.
  • Schmitt, O., Baxter, E., Boyle, L. and O’Driscoll, K. 2019. Nurse sow strategies in the domestic pig (Sus Scrofa): I. Consequences for the selected measures of sow welfare. Animal. 13:580-589.
  • Lavery, A. Lawlor, P.G., Magowan, E., Miller, H.M., O’Driscoll, K. and Berry, D.P. 2019.  An association analysis of sow parity, live-weight and back-fat depth as indicators of sow productivity. Animal. 13:622-630.
  • Schmitt, O., O’Driscoll, K., Boyle, L. and Baxter, E. 2019. Artificial rearing affects piglets pre-weaning behaviour, welfare and growth performance. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 210:16-25.

Shiv Vasa

Shilpi Misra

Martyna Lagoda

Roberta Maria D’Alessio

Orla Kinane (2018-2019)

Phoebe Hartnett (2016-2019)

Hazel Rooney (2016-2019)

Jen-Yun Chou (2015-2019)

Oceane Schmitt, PhD (2015 – 2018)