Our campuses are currently closed to the public. Visit www.massey.ac.nz/coronavirus for our COVID-19 updates

Dr Rene Corner-Thomas staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 85179

Dr Rene Corner-Thomas PhD, MVS, BSc

Senior Lecturer- Sheep Research Centre

School of Agriculture and Environment

Senior Lecturer - Sheep Research Centre

School of Veterinary Science

Dr Rene Corner-Thomas completed a BSc at the University of Melbourne in 1996 and moved to New Zealand in 2000 to undertake a Masters in Veterinary Epidemiology. She was first employed at Massey University as a research assistant in the Animal Welfare and Bioethics Centre in 2002 before undertaking a PhD in 2003 to examine the effects of mid-pregnancy stressors on lamb development and post-natal growth. At completion of her PhD in 2007, Rene began working at Estendart Ltd undertaking research compliant with the principles of Good Laboratory Practice (GLP). In 2012, Rene returned to Massey University to take up a position as a Research office in the International Sheep Research Centre. Her research aims to improve productivity and profitability of sheep production systems. In addition, she aims improve the welfare of sheep and examine the potential impacts of sheep behaviour on the environment. 

Dr Rene Corner-Thomas is a senior lecturer in sheep production in the International Sheep Research Centre at Massey University. After completing a PhD at Massey University in 2007 she worked as a Research Officer at Estendart Ltd before returning to the University in 2012. Rene joined the Sheep Research Centre as a research officer to work on projects ranging from large flock studies of hogget breeding, to feeding hogget ewes on alternative herbages during lambing to an investigation of ewe longevity. In 2015, Rene took up a lecturing position and in 2018 was promoted to senior lecturer.

More about me...View less...


Contact details

  • Ph: +85179
    Location: 3.74, AgHort A
    Campus: Turitea


  • Doctor of Philosophy - Massey University (2008)
  • Master of Veterinary Studies - Massey University (2002)
  • Bachelor of Science - University of Melbourne (2000)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

My principle interests are in ewe and hogget production and longevity. In particular ewe and hogget nutrition during pregnancy and the effect of ewe and lamb behaviour on lamb survival and growth to weaning. I am also interested in ewe and lamb behviour and the impacts it can have on lamb survival. 


21st Century Citizenship, Resource Development and Management, Future Food Systems

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Agricultural And Veterinary Sciences (070000): Animal Nutrition (070204): Animal Production (070200): Animal Reproduction (070206)


Sheep production and management

Managing multiple bearing and rearing ewes

Hogget (ewe lamb) breeding

Use of alternative herbages (chicory / plantain)

Improving reproductive performance


Lambs and lamb growth

Lamb survival

Ewe and lamb behaviour

Farmer learning

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 4 11
Team Member 1 3

Completed Projects

Project Title: Science-based Extension for Lower North Island Sheep and Beef Farmers

This is a 2-year project located at Riverside Farm that develops a new extension model based on high-quality farmer/scientist interaction and farmer-led networking. Building on earlier work by Massey's Farmer Learning Group, the project focuses on the use of perennial summer forages in dryland farming. The reconstituted Farmer Learning Group consists of a cross-College and interdisciplinary team of 12 Massey scientists (drawn from the Institute of Education, IAE and IVABS) working together with some 45 sheep and beef farmers from the eastern Lower North Island. Project leader is Brennon Wood and the team includes a newly-appointed Research Officer, Roxanne Henwood, and one PhD student. The extension programme features 8 day-long, science-based workshops to be held at Riverside, network surveys to collect local knowledge, an industry-sponsored Colloquium and an on-site Field Day.
Read Project Description Hide Project Description

Date Range: 2015 - 2017

Funding Body: Ministry for Primary Industries

Project Team:

Research Outputs

Teaching and Supervision

Teaching Statement

I teach into undergraduate courses in Reproduction, Sheep Production, Wool Production, Livestock behaviour, Welfare of livestock and Livestock Management to Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of AgriScience, Bachelor of Veterinary Technology and Bachelor of Veterinary Science students. 

Courses Coordinated

  • 117.107 Introduction to Animal Behaviour and Welfare
  • 117.255 Animal Health, Behaviour and Welfare
  • 193.107 Animal Behaviour and Welfare for Veterinary Technologists
  • 227.107 Animal Behaviour and Welfare for Veterinary Science

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Supervisor 3 0
Co-supervisor 4 1

Current Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • Aloyce Bunyaga - Doctor of Philosophy
    The impact of water on behaviour and productivity of sheep
  • Emmanuelle Haslin - Doctor of Philosophy
    Does management to increase ewe lamb growth increase their mature weight?
  • Jay Weerasekara Ekanayake M - Doctor of Philosophy
    Early weaning of twin-born lambs onto a herb-clover mix containing plantain (Plantago lanceolata), chicory (Cichorium intybus), red clover (Trifolium pratense) and white clover (Trifolium repens)

Co-supervisor of:

  • Jacques Krticka Carvalho - Doctor of Philosophy
    Opportunities of Shelterbelt in Pastoral Systems
  • Yangfan Ye - Doctor of Philosophy
    Integrate sensory profiling, nutritional value and physico-chemical properties of NZ lamb
  • Jimmy Semakula - Doctor of Philosophy
    Improving the measurement of live weight and body condition score in ruminants
  • Seer Ikurior - Doctor of Philosophy
    Develop support tools for sustainable control of GI nematodes in sheep

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Co-supervisor of:

  • 2016 - Gabriella Gronqvist - Doctor of Philosophy
    The effect of maternal nutrition during mid-to-late pregnancy on ewe and lamb behaviour and the association with lamb survival

Massey Contact Centre Mon - Fri 8:30am to 4:30pm 0800 MASSEY (+64 6 350 5701) TXT 5222 contact@massey.ac.nz Web chat Staff Alumni News Māori @ Massey