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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

  • OneWelPig: Using a 'One Welfare' framework to develop alternative high welfare pig production systems. Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Research Stimulus fund (2022-2026)
  • 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:

Education

  • 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)

Career

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 

A complete list of publications are available here.

Recent publications include:

  • Boyle, L., Carroll, C., Clarke, L., Manzanilla, E.G., Gardiner, G., McCutcheon, G., McCrum., E., McKeon, M., Lawlor, P., Lynch B., O’Doherty, J. and O’Driscoll, K. 2022. An overview of Irish pig production, research and knowledge transfer since 1960. Irish Journal of Agriculture and Food Research. https://doi.org/10.15212/ijafr-2020-0153
  • Lagoda, M., Boyle, L., Marchewka, J. and O’Driscoll, K. 2021. Early detection of suboptimal locomotion in gilts using a novel visual analogue scale; associations with chronic stress and reproduction. Animals 11:2900 https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11102900
  • Misra, S., Bokkers, E., Upton, J., Quinn, A. and O’Driscoll, K. 2021. Effect of environmental enrichment and group size on water use and waste in grower-finisher pigs. Scientific Reports 11:16380  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-95880-0
  • Rooney, H., Schmitt, O., Courty, A., Lawlor, P. and O’Driscoll, K. 2021. Like mother like child: Do fearful sows have fearful piglets? Animals 11(5):1232 https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11051232
  • Kinane O., Butler, F. and O’Driscoll, K. 2021. Freedom to grow: Improving sow welfare also benefits piglets. Animals 11(4):1181 https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11041181
  • Lagoda, M., O’Driscoll, K., Marchweka, J., Foister, S., Turner, S. and Boyle, L. 2021. Associations between skin lesion counts, hair cortisol concentrations and reproductive performance in group housed sows. Livestock Science 246:104463 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.livsci.2021.104463
  • Van Staaaveren, N., Boyle, L.A., García Manzanilla, E., O’Driscoll, K., Shalloo, S. and Calderón Díaz, J.A.  2021. Severe tail lesions in finisher pigs are associated with reduction in annual profit in farrow-to-finish pig farms. Veterinary Record. https://doi.org/10.1002/vetr.13
  • Schmitt O. and O’Driscoll, K. 2021. Use of Infra-Red Thermography to non-invasively assess neonatal piglet temperature. Translational Animal Science. 5:1-9 https://doi.org/10.1093/tas/txaa208
  • Hartnett, P., Boyle, L. and O’Driscoll, K. 2020. Rearing in female-only groups and dietary mineral supplementation improves sow welfare in the early parities, and lifetime performance. Translational Animal Science. 4:1-15 https://doi.org/10.1093/tas/txaa176
  • Misra, S., van Middelaar, C.E., Jordan, K., Upton, J., Quinn, A.J., de Boer, I.J.M. and O’Driscoll, K. 2020. Effect of different cleaning procedures on water use and bacterial levels in weaner pig pens. Plos One. 15(11): e0242495. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0242495
  • Chou, J.-Y., O’Driscoll, K, Sandercock, D.A. and D’Eath, R.B. 2020. Can increased dietary fibre level and a single enrichment device reduce the risk of tail biting in undocked growing-finishing pigs in fully slatted systems? Plos One. 15(10): e0241619  https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0241619
  • Chou, J.-Y., Sandercock, D.A. , D’Eath, R.B. and O’Driscoll, K. 2020. A high enrichment replenishment rate reduces damaging behaviour and increases growth rate in undocked pigs kept in fully slatted pens. Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 7:806 https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2020.584706
  • Schmitt, O. Poivedon, A. and O’Driscoll, K. 2020. Does diversity matter? Behavioural differences between piglets given diverse or similar forms of enrichment pre-weaning. Animals 10(10), 1837; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10101837
  • Haigh, A., Chou, J.-Y. and O’Driscoll, K. 2020. Variations in the behaviour of pigs during an open field and novel object test. Frontiers in Veterinary Science. 7:607 https://doi.org/10.3389/fvets.2020.00607
  • 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  https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114520000811
  • 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. 224:104944 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2020.104944
  • 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. 4:1038-1050 https://doi.org/10.1093/tas/txaa002
  • Rooney,  H.B., O’Driscoll, K., O’Doherty, J.V. and Lawlor, P.G. 2020. Effect of increasing 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):skz379. https://doi.org/10.1093/jas/skz379
  • 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.

Molly Harrison

Lucy Markland

Shiv Vasa

Shilpi Misra

Martyna Lagoda

Roberta Maria D’Alessio

Melissa Cupido

Orla Kinane (2018-2019)

Phoebe Hartnett (2016-2019)

Hazel Rooney (2016-2019)

Jen-Yun Chou (2015-2019)

Oceane Schmitt, PhD (2015 – 2018)