Veterinary Public Health Institute, Animal Welfare Division

Validation of automated welfare assessment for poultry


  • Influence of a prolonged dusk duration on falls and keel bone damage in laying hens
  • Piling behaviour and smothering in laying hens
  • Improving design of rearing and laying aviaries 

I studied Biology at the University of Göttingen, Germany and obtained my MSc in Behavioural Ecology at the University of Bern, Switzerland including an experimental thesis on the influences of maternal effects and early experiences on anti-predator strategies in a mouthbrooding African cichlid.
For my PhD I decided to focus on applied animal welfare related topics and moved to the Division of Animal Welfare at the University of Bern.  During my PhD I worked with laying hens investigating causes of keel bone damage in aviary systems including the assessment of preventive measures such as soft perch material, alternative aviary design and genetic selection of bone strength.

 I am currently working as a research associate at the Centre for Proper Housing: Poultry and Rabbits (ZTHZ) in Zollikofen assessing different types of commercial housing systems and equipment for poultry (laying hens, broilers, turkeys) as part of the authorization procedure of the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO).

In addition, I have a postdoctoral position at the Division of Animal Welfare, University Bern where I am working on several research projects including co-supervision of MSc and PhD students on piling behaviour and smothering in laying hens as well as improvement of aviary systems during rear and lay.


Rufener, C., Baur, S., Stratmann, A., Toscano, M. J. (2018) A Reliable Method to Assess Keel Bone Fractures in Laying Hens From Radiographs Using a Tagged Visual Analogue Scale. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 5(124). 10.3389/fvets.2018.00124

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, Poultry Science, , pex146,

Gebhardt, S.G., and Stratmann, A. 2016. What is causing smothering in laying hens? Veterinary Record, 179(10) 250-251, doi:10.1136/vr.i4618.

Stratmann, A., Fröhlich, E.K.F., Gebhardt-Henrich, S.G., Harlander-Matauschek, A., Würbel, H., and M.J. Toscano. 2016. Genetic selection to increase bone strength affects prevalence of keel bone damage and egg parameters in commercially housed laying hens. Poultry Science, doi: 10.3382/ps/pew026.

Stratmann, A., Fröhlich, E.K.F., Gebhardt-Henrich, S.G., Harlander-Matauschek, A., Würbel, H., and Toscano, M.J. 2015. Modification of aviary design reduces incidence of falls, collisions and keel bone damage in laying hens. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 165:112-123.

Stratmann, A., Toscano, M.J., Fröhlich, E.F.K., Harlander-Matauschek, A., Würbel, H., and S. Gebhardt-Henrich. 2015. Soft perches reduce keel bone fractures in laying hens. PloSOne, 10(3): e0122568.