Early Stage Researchers (ESRs)

Vivian Witjes (ESR 9)

Project 9: Effects of on-farm hatching on behavioural development and stress responsivity in laying hens

Locations: University of Bern with secondment locations at Newcastle University & Vencomatic Group.

Vivian obtained her BSc in Psychobiology at the University of Amsterdam and discovered a great interest in neurobiology. While studying the effect of vesicle associated protein depletion on neuronal growth in mice during her first internship, her interests for biomedical neuroscience shifted to an appreciation for the animal's cognitive abilities, the complexity of their behaviour and their position in a human society. Therefore, Vivian chose to focus her MSc in Environmental Biology at Utrecht University on animal ethology and welfare. During her second internship, she investigated the memory performance of first- and lastborn piglets on a cognitive hole-board task. Most recently, Vivian worked on how keel bone fractures in laying hens affect their behaviour and movement patterns. She will continue in the field of poultry welfare, starting a PhD that will assess behavioural, physical and welfare indicators across the development of on-farm hatched chicks compared to transported day old chicks.