Ecology of Livestock Production

Welcome on our website “Ecology of livestock production“

abt 2013

Our division focuses on systematic and interdisciplinary research. Scientific hypothesis are tested comparatively across different animal species. Results from fundamental based research how animals adapt to their environent are used to develop species-appropriate and environmentally friendly animal husbandry systems. We also conduct lamaresearch in applied animal ethology including physiological aspects using non-invasive methods and behavioural genetics. Furthermore, we place special emphasis on the promotion of autochthon farm animals such as South American camelids (llamas, alpacas) in the Andean regions of South America. We organised already several symposia on that subject in Europe and overseas in cooperation with our South American and European partners.
All our experiments have a strong focus on animal welfare and ethical husbandry.




Currently our division focuses on the following research topics:


How farm animals adapt to their environment


  • Thermoregulation (llamas, sheep, poultry)
  • Water metabolism (llamas, sheep, goats, poultry)
  • Ecological efficiency in different farm animals (poultry)
  • Energetic costs for locomotion (llamas, alpacas)
  • Physiological seasonal adjustments (horses)




Promotion of autochthon farm animals (camelids)


  • Lactation strategies in llamas



Animal ethology


  • Learning and cognition (horses)
  • Human-animal-realtionship (Cattle)



In our division the following methods are established


  • Infrared thermography
  • infared

  • Stable isotopes for measuring nutrient flows (i.e. water and energy) in animals
  • Automated recording of behaviour (locomotion)
  • Video recordings of behavioural traits
  • Computer based video analysis (e.g. gait, locomotion)
  • Behavioural tests
  • Learning apparatus
  • Non-invasive methods for measuring physiological parameters