Christine Nicol, Siobhan Abeyesinghe and Dr Sophie Elwes (RSPCA) are working on a project to improve the assessment of broiler chickens. In this project funded by Open Philanthropy we will evaluate the robustness, health and overall welfare of emerging breeds of broiler chicken, and validate a behavioural assessment protocol to be used for future assessments for inclusion in the RSPCA Broiler Breed Welfare Assessment Protocol.
Christine Nicol is collaborating on a project led by by Dr Cameron Clark and Dr Sabrina Lomax, University of Sydney to develop objective, robust, real-time animal welfare measures for the Australian meat industry. Analysis of behavioural changes in beef cattle from birth to slaughter will be undertaken using cutting edge,robotic and ear-tage based technologies. The project will determine which behavioural changes predict or are associated with changes in health or welfare. The aim is to devise a set of objective protocols for industry to ensure a high welfare level for each animal in the herd.
Kate Norman, Christine Nicol and Siobhan Abeyesinghe are working with a commercial laying hen producer to conduct welfare assessments in a newly developed system. Breed comparisons and benchmarking are used to compare the welfare outcomes.
Christine Nicol is collaborating with With Lorna Wilson, University of Bath to investigate patterns of Sleep Behaviour in Chicks. The aim of the project is to describe and quantify patterns of sleep behaviour in chicks and relate these patterns to other indicators of welfare. Funded by M2D (models to decisions).
Freddie Daw is undertaking a PhD to investigate ‘A formal analysis of behavioural structure as a tool to assess the impact of chronic equine disease’ funded by the Horse Trust, with Christine Nicol, Charlotte Burn, Ruby Chang. The impact of chronic conditions such as sweet itch and gastric ulceration on equine welfare will be assessed using subtle behavioural analysis. Is the horse sleeping normally? Is the behaviour fragmented? Are some activities delayed to prioritise shorter-term needs?