This field of research aims at contributing to shaping the conditions for species-appropriate husbandry of food-providing animals from the point of view of sustainability and animal welfare. As an important aspect, we work on the importance of nutrition for the development of young animals, which is influenced by a wide range of endogenous and exogenous factors. Increasingly, events during intrauterine and early postnatal life induce complex physiological and immunological response patterns that affect growth, metabolism and health in the short and long term.
In addition to the direct effects of specific food or feed and nutrient profiles, there is increasing evidence that intestinal microbiota is a key driver of wellbeing and health in both neonatal and old age. A systematic, integrative approach is needed to elucidate the effects of nutritional and microbial factors on young and older individuals. Pigs are a globally important domestic animal and are also increasingly regarded as important model animals for humans. In this way, the developmental interaction between sows and piglets can not only provide essential information for the target species, but can also be used as an attractive model for mother-child interactions in humans.
When breeding livestock, care must be taken to ensure that not only performance parameters are taken into account, but that animal welfare is also taken into account from the outset. Targeted breeding using genetic markers can ensure that animals are not one-sidedly specialised, e. g. in meat preparation or egg production. The aim is to produce stable and versatile breeds of animals. Optimal husbandry conditions must also contribute to animal welfare.