Ana Rentsch

Ph.D. Candidate

I am a PhD student in the Department of Animal Bioscience at the University of Guelph under the supervision of Tina Widowski ( I grew up in Switzerland where I obtained my bachelor’s and master’s degree in biology with special qualifications in animal behaviour. My interests revolve around social behaviour, behavioural development and individual variation and how these traits relate to animal welfare. During my bachelor and master studies, I had the opportunity to participate in 4 short-term internships in the institutes of behavioural biology (one in the evolution of sociality and one in marine biology), community ecology and evolutionary biology; two of these resulting in publications (Gygax & Rentsch et al., 2018; Schweinfurth et al., 2017).
I completed my Master thesis at the Center for Proper Housing: Poultry and Rabbits (ZTHZ; at the University of Bern, Switzerland, on the influence of keel bone fractures on laying hen behaviour in a non-cage housing system. At the 15th European Poultry Conference in Croatia, 2018, I was given the opportunity to present my Master thesis (Rentsch et al., 2018) which is now under review for publication.
Experiencing some of the consequences of performance-oriented food production has motivated me to continue my career in applied ethology. The objective of my PhD study is to determine the effects of different commercial rearing aviary designs on activity patterns, locomotory abilities, behavioural characteristics and musculoskeletal development of different strains of laying hen pullets. For more information see