Dr Krista McLennan

BSc(Hons), MSc, PhD, MRSB, SFHEA, PGCTHLE; Deputy Head of Department for Biological Sciences and Senior lecturer in Animal Behaviour

Automated detection of parturition in sheep

A difficult or painful birth can have welfare consequences for the ewe and the lamb and carries an additional cost to the producer. Data from student-based projects that I have co-supervised with collaborators from Liverpool University (Dr Karen Mueller) demonstrate that during parturition sheep facial expression reaches the highest score on the SPFES demonstrating high levels of pain being present. Combining the early detection of facial expression and of other bodily expressions of parturition, this system could reduce the need for producers to be on-site 24-7 during the lambing season but could also provide additional information as to when intervention or pain relief is required.

This project is in its early stages and I am keen to hear from anyone interested in helping to collect data for this project.