Effects of on-farm hatching on behavioural development and stress responsivity in laying hens
ESR 9: Vivian Witjes
Supervisor: Mike Toscano
Location: University of Bern
Project Description: Understanding how animals respond to stressors is an essential aspect of animal welfare science and the goal of creating positive environments for animals. An important, yet poorly understood aspect of variations in how animals respond to stressors, are the role of early life experiences when the brains and stress-sensitive pathways are still developing. This project will investigate how transportation at 1 day of age and the associated stressors (e.g. handling, temperature change, food withdrawal) affects long-term development, stress responsivity, an neuronal markers of chronic stress. The project is intended to provide an improved fundamental understanding of how the stress response develops as well as the applied benefits of hatching laying hens on farm.