Current research

• Quantifying forces involved in keel damage using tri-axial accelerometers
• Use of omega-3 fatty acids to improve bone health in laying hens
• Optimizing laying hen feeder design, positioning and bird density to maximize welfare. More Info.

I obtained my Ph.D. from Purdue University in the United States in 2006 where I sought to develop a multidiscipline means to assess hunger in swine. From there I continued to the University of Bristol in the UK where I investigated disease states within swine and poultry and their relationship to physiological and behavioral phenotypes. Most recently, my research focuses on bone fractures in laying hens, a topic I began at the University of Bristol and continue at my current post as Group Leader (Senior Scientist) of the Research Center for Proper Housing: Poultry and Rabbits (ZTHZ). In general, my research is of an applied nature and seeks to bring the benefits of analysis and understanding gained in the laboratory to on-farm settings in order for improvements in animal welfare to be made in an objective manner.

Selected 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.

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

Rufener, C., Berezowski, J., Maximiano Sousa, F., Abreu, Y., Asher, L., Toscano, M. J. (2018). Finding hens in a haystack: Consistency of movement patterns within and across individual laying hens maintained in large groups. Scientific Reports 8(12303). 10.1038/s41598-018-29962-x

Siegford J.M., Berezowski, J., Biswas, S.K., Daigle, C., Gebhardt-Henrich, S.G., Hernandez, C.E., Thurner, S., and M.J. Toscano. 2016. Assessing activity and location of individual laying hens in large groups using modern technology. Animals, 6(2):10, doi: 10.3390/ani6020010.

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.

Toscano, M.J., Booth, F., Wilkins, L.J., Avery, N.C., Brown, S.B., Richards, G., and J.F. Tarlton. 2015. The effects of long (C20/22) and short (C18) chain omega-3 fatty acids on keel bone fractures, bone biomechanics, behaviour and egg production in free-range laying hens. Poultry Science, 94(5):823.

Tarlton J. F., Wilkins L. J., Toscano M. J., Avery N. C. and L. Knott. 2013. Reduced bone breakage and increased bone strength in free range laying hens fed omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplemented diets. Bone, 52(2):578.

Toscano, M.J., Wilkins, L.J., Millburn, G., Thorpe, K., and J.F. Tarlton. 2013. Development of an ex vivo protocol to recreate the keel damage resulting from collisions in laying hens. PLoS ONE, 8(6):e66215, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0066215.