Small Ruminant Research Platform

Genetics | Reproduction | Behaviour | Nutrition | Health & Welfare | Productivity | Food Integrity | Environmental Impact

Providing capability to carry out detailed metabolic studies.

In partnership with

Aberystwyth University | CIEL

Sited on Aberystwyth University’s Gogerddan campus within the Institute of Biology, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), the Small Ruminant Research Platform is supporting the commercial development of new and existing products and systems to improve nutrient use efficiency in sheep and goats. The research platform caters for monitoring feed efficiency, production and environmental parameters for individual, or groups of, animals. There is dedicated space for specific tasks; from preparation and processing, setting treatment and study parameters, to monitoring real-time data with increased precision.

Key research expertise

  • Evaluating new feeds for DM intakes and real-time performance measurements
  • Capturing methane emission data from individual animals
  • Monitoring behavioural responses to new feeds and additives
  • Studying the potential impact of climate on nutrition and performance
  • Investigating the effects of new diets on individual water intake

Principal Features

  • Group feeding facility fitted with systems for measuring individual feed intake and animal performance, whilst animals are housed as a group. The system records individual real-time live weights each time an animal feeds. Behavioural tracking equipment allows assessment of feed preference and feeding patterns, alongside social behaviour interactions
  • Six individual pens enable more detailed monitoring of water and food intake
  • Automatic feeders allow for individualized feeding of different diets
  • Four ‘EnviroPods’ provide capability to regulate and simulate a wide range of environmental conditions, including temperature and humidity, to measure in detail the effects of different factors on animal performance and gaseous emissions. Each offers a spacious area with large viewing windows allowing animal to animal visibility
  • Adjacent laboratory facilities link to the EnviroPods, providing a fully automated monitoring system to study the responses of livestock to different feeds, feed additives or environmental conditions


More efficient use of feed. Fine-tuning genetics so animals produce meat as efficiently as possible with least environmental impact. Informing research into “bioactive compounds” – extra-nutritional constituents of interest in manipulating metabolism and preventative health treatments.

Supporting the Grand Challenges facing livestock food production:

Climate Smart Food Systems

Resource Efficiency & Precision Nutrition

Small Ruminant Research Platform | CIEL