Claire Mindus is a Ph.D. student with Dr. Alexandra Harlander. She completed her MSc in Animal Science at the “Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Agronomie de Toulouse” (France) with an exchange with the University of Bonn (Germany) and a gap year around the world focussing on animal welfare and behaviour. These studies and internships allowed her to work on several research projects in different animal species and different structures. In her master's thesis she monitored trials to study the effect of the date of partition in double stocked pigs on growth performances and feeding behavior during the total nursery phase (6 weeks).
Right after her MSc. she found a position at the Technical Institute for Poultry where she managed many French and European projects on laying hens and broiler’s health, welfare and behavior during 16 months. A part of her research project was looking at potential alternatives to layers’ beak trimming through an epidemiological study on husbandry practices and animals sanitary condition and two experimental studies.
She decided to continue her work on feather pecking by joining Dr Harlander’s team in the University of Guelph in May 2017. Claire’s current research is focussing on shedding light on the possible link between specific microorganisms that live in the digestive tracts of birds with and without abnormal feather pecking behaviour, how they interact with the nervous & immune systems and how this might affect behaviour. The novel application of identifying microbes and microbial products to prevent feather pecking could lead to a partnership with the feed industry and commercialize potential new probiotics. Consequently, millions of laying hens world-wide have the potential to benefit from this research.