Project 12

Individual variation in tier use in commercial tiered aviaries

ESR 12: Klara Grethen         Supervisor: Dr. Mike Toscano         Location: University of Bern 
Project Description: Understanding how animals respond to environmental stressors is an essential aspect of animal welfare science and the goal of creating positive environments for animals. These interactions can be especially challenging to investigate in production environments like those of modern, non-cage laying hen systems where tens of thousands of animals, nearly identical in appearance, will be housed together. Our research group has been using a combination of the latest technology allowing tracking of animals alongside novel data visualisation and statistical analyses to allow a focus on individual behaviour within large systems. This project will investigate how behavioural responses at both the group and individual level are affected by environmental challenges and the relationship with neurobiology.  The project is intended to provide an improved fundamental understanding of how individual birds respond to stressors as well as how this understanding can benefit modern breeding strategies.