Univerität Hohenheim

As part of the University of Hohenheim, the Institute of Animal Husbandry and Breeding has three full Professors, 9 scientists on post-doctoral level. The technical and clerical staff comprises about 20 persons. The institute has access to two animal research stations with research facilities with dairy cows, pigs and poultry. The section "Farm animal Ethology and Small Animal Sciences" has been working on welfare problems in laying hens continuously for more than 30 years. internet: www.uni-hohenheim.de

The main fields of research were behaviour and productivity of laying hens under different housing conditions, poultry nutrition and breeding. With regard to welfare the locomotion activity, dust bathing, feather pecking and cannibalism have been studied.
Comparisons of the productivity traits in enriched cages and unenriched cages have been started at the University of Hohenheim in the year 1999. Particular behavioural problems related to feeder space and utilization of perches are being investigated in current experiments. The section Farm Animal Ethology and Small Animal Sciences has established relationships with private farms keeping hens in enriched cages and other production systems.

Prof. W. Bessei is full professor at the Institute and head of the section Farm Animal Ethology and Small Animal Sciences. He has more than 30 years experience in research on poultry behaviour and welfare. He was member of various Expert groups on poultry welfare , on the national and international level, e.g. the EU on the welfare of laying hens and broilers, the German Federal Ministry of Agriculture on layers, broilers, turkeys and waterfowl. His main field of research is the interface of genetics and housing systems with regard to the behaviour of poultry. Prof. Bessei is member of the World’s Poultry Science Association (WPSA), the American Poultry Science Association and the German Association of Animal Breeding. As member of WPSA working group on poultry Welfare he has been actively involved in the preparation of the Symposia on Poultry Welfare. As internationally renowned scientist he has been invited to present papers at international congresses. He is member of the Editorial Boards of the World´s Poultry Science Journal, the Archiv für Geflügelkunde and Anomal Science Papers and Reports.
With his extensive experience in poultry welfare issues, he will be WP-leader of WP1.
(E:mail: bessei@uni-hohenheim.de)