Current Research

  • Keel bone deformities in laying hens.
  • Individual ranging behavior of laying hens in different flock sizes.
  • Design of aviaries for laying hens and housing systems for broiler breeders.
  • Validation of automated welfare assessment for broilers. 

I obtained an MSc in Biology from Florida State University at Tallahassee, USA, including an experimental thesis on the ecological  genetics of reproductive traits in Heterandria formosa (Pisces: Poeciliidae) and my PhD in biology from the University of Basel, Switzerland, including an experimental thesis on the genetical ecology of nestling growth in the great tit (Parus major).
After pursuing studies in evolutionary genetics and ecology in quail and blue and great tits (University of Georgia and Ethological Institute Hasli, University of Bern) I switched to topics regarding animal welfare of small companion animals (budgerigars, golden hamsters, dogs) at the division of animal housing and welfare, Vetsuisse Faculty, Bern.
In my current postdoctoral position, the main purpose of my research is to investigate housing conditions of laying hens in regard to animal welfare as they relate to the Swiss authorization procedure of housing equipment. I am interested in personalities of domesticated animals as they relate to different coping styles under artificial housing conditions. In this context I study individual ranging behavior of laying hens.
I am co-supervising research projects of PhD and MSc students, and teaching about animal welfare and housing of small mammals, ornamental birds, and birds as experimental animals.

Recent Publications

Gebhardt-Henrich, S. G., Toscano, M. J., & Würbel, H. (2018). Use of aerial perches and perches on aviary tiers by broiler breeders. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 203.

Ruchti, S., Meier, A. R., Würbel, H., Kratzer, G., Gebhardt-Henrich, S. G., & Hartnack, S. (2018). Pododermatitis in group housed rabbit does in Switzerland—Prevalence, severity and risk factors. Preventive Veterinary Medicine.

Gebhardt-Henrich, S.G., Toscano, M.J., Würbel, H., 2018. Use of aerial perches and perches on aviary tiers by broiler breeders. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. 203, 24–33. 10.1016/j.applanim.2018.02.013.

Taylor, P.S., Hemsworth, P.H., Groves, P.J., Gebhardt-Henrich, S.G., Rault, J.-L., 2018. Ranging behavior relates to welfare indicators pre- and post-range access in commercial free-range broilers. Poult Sci 97 (6), 1861–1871. 10.3382/ps/pey060.

Gebhardt-Henrich, S.G., Toscano, M.J., Würbel, H., 2017. Perch use by broiler breeders and its implication on health and production. Poult Sci 96, 3539–3549. 10.3382/ps/pex189.

Gebhardt-Henrich, S.G., Pfulg, A., Fröhlich, E.K.F., Käppeli, S., Guggisberg, D., Liesegang, A., Stoffel, M.H., 2017. Limited Associations between Keel Bone Damage and Bone Properties Measured with Computer Tomography, Three-Point Bending Test, and Analysis of Minerals in Swiss Laying Hens. Front. Vet. Sci. 4, 1–9.

Candelotto, L., Stratmann, A., Gebhardt-Henrich, S.G., Rufener, C., van de Braak, T., Toscano, M.J., 2017. Susceptibility to keel bone fractures in laying hens and the role of genetic variation. Poult Sci 96 (10), 3517–3528. 10.3382/ps/pex146.