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Donald C Lay Jr

Animal Sciences 

  • Research Leader, USDA-ARS Livestock Behavior Research Unit
POUL Room 218
125 S. Russell St.
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2042

Area of Expertise: Animal Behavior and Well-Being

Education: B.S., Virginia Tech; M.S. and Ph.D., Texas A&M University


Research Program

Purdue Center for Animal Welfare Science

Personal Information

Don was raised in central Virginia on a traditional family farm consisting of cattle, swine and horses. He received a B.S. degree in Animal Science from Virginia Tech in 1985; and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Animal Science from Texas A&M in 1990 and 1995, respectively. Upon graduation, he accepted a position at Iowa State University as Assistant Professor specializing in Behavioral Physiology. In 2000, Don moved to West Lafayette, IN to serve as Research Leader of the USDA-Agricultural Research Service's Livestock Behavior Research Unit. This research unit is paired with members of Purdue University's Animal Sciences department, effectively creating the largest and most significant team of scientists in the U.S. focused on animal welfare. Don leads his team of scientists responsible for developing scientific measures of stress and well-being in swine, cattle, and poultry; using the multiple disciplines of stress physiology, immunology, neurophysiology, bacteriology, and ethology. Don has authored and co-authored 1 textbook, 2 book chapters, and over 100 articles of which more than 75 are peer reviewed. He has been invited to give more than 40 presentations nationally and internationally. Don has been PI or Co-PI on more than 30 externally funded grant proposals totaling approximately $3.5 million dollars. 

News Releases

Animal agriculture is focus of Purdue Ag Forecast discussion - Purdue News, January 2011

Awards & Honors

(2004) Cooperative Resolution Program Conflict Management Training. United States Department of Agriculture.

(2003) Area Early Career Research Scientist. USDA.

(2003) Certificate of Merit for Superior Supervisory Leadership. USDA.

(2002) 2002's College of Agriculture Team Award. Swine Production Systems Initiative Team.

(2002) Certificate of Merit for Supervisory Leadership. USDA.

(2001) Certificate of Merit for Superior Performance in Conducting Research, Obtaining extramural Funds, and Providing Leadership. USDA.

(2000) Iowa State University's College of Agriculture Early Achievement in Teaching Award. Iowa State University.

Selected Publications


Lay, D. C. (2006). Effects of Melengestrol Acetate as an Alternative to Induce Molting in Hens and on the Expression of Yolk Proteins and Turnover of Oviductal Epithelium. Animal Reproduction Sciences.

Lay, D. C. (2006). Food Safety. ARS Research Magazine.

Lay, D. C. (2006). Production Animal Agriculture and the Food Industry: Working Together to Provide for the Animal and the Consumer. Farm Animal Wellness Seminar.

Lay, D. C. (2006). Animal Behavior and Stress. Iowa State Veterinary School.

Schenck, E. L., Lay, D. C., Kattesh, H. G., Cunnick, J. E., Daniels, M. J., Toscano, M. J., . . . (2006). The effects of prenatal stress on the ano-genital distance and growth hormone immuno-positive cells in the pituitary gland of the pig.. J. of Anim. Sci..

Toscano, M. J., Schenck, E. L., Dufour, B., Thogerson, C., Lay, D. C., Craig, B. A., . . . (2006). Behavioural changes following 21 to 57 H of feed deprivation in swine. J. of Anim. Sci..

Marchant-Forde, J. N., Lay, D. C., Marchant-Forde, R., McMunn, K. A., Pajor, E. A., Cheng, H. W., & [unknown] (2006). Alternative piglet processing procedures given singly affect cortisol, behavior and growth.. J. of Anim. Sci..

Marchant-Forde, J. N., Lay, D. C., McMunn, K. A., Marchant-Forde, R., Pajor, E. A., Cheng, H. W., & [unknown] (2006). The effects of piglet processing procedures on behavior, growth and cortisol.. J. of Anim. Science.

Lay, D. C., Marchant-Forde, J. N., McMunn, K. A., Marchant-Forde, R., Pajor, E. A., Cheng, H. W., & [unknown] (2006). Two alternative combinations of pig processing methods affect cortisol and behavior. J. of Anim. Science.