Edna Hillmann

Edna Hillmann
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | HU Berlin · Department of Life Sciences

PhD

About

96
Publications
15,011
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
1,323
Citations
Introduction
Edna Hillmann currently works at the Department of Life Sciences, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Edna does research in Animal Welfare and Animal Husbandry.
Additional affiliations
September 2017 - present
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Position
  • Professor (Full)
October 2003 - August 2017
ETH Zurich
Position
  • Group Leader
April 1998 - December 1999
Freie Universität Berlin
Position
  • PhD Student
Education
October 1992 - November 1999
Freie Universität Berlin
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (96)
Article
Full-text available
Background Discrimination and perception of emotion expression regulate interactions between conspecifics and can lead to emotional contagion (state matching between producer and receiver) or to more complex forms of empathy (e.g., sympathetic concern). Empathy processes are enhanced by familiarity and physical similarity between partners. Since he...
Article
Full-text available
Vocal expression of emotions has been observed across species and could provide a non-invasive and reliable means to assess animal emotions. We investigated if pig vocal indicators of emotions revealed in previous studies are valid across call types and contexts, and could potentially be used to develop an automated emotion monitoring tool. We perf...
Article
Full-text available
Milking stall dimensions have not been adapted to the increase in cow body size caused by selection for better milking performance over the past decades. Improper milking stall dimensions might limit cow comfort, could lead to stress responses during milking and thus could negatively affect cow welfare. A crossover study was conducted in an experim...
Article
Full-text available
This research communication describes the relationship between the occurrence of lameness and body condition score (BCS) in a sample of 288 cows from a single farm that were repeatedly scored in the course of 9 months while controlling for confounding variables. The relationship between BCS and lameness was evaluated using generalised linear mixed-...
Preprint
In order to promote rumen development by stimulating concentrate intake, dairy calves are usually fed low amounts of milk, however this may result in prolonged hunger. Furthermore, calves are often weaned off milk without considering individual capacity to feed on solid food. We investigated the effects of two feeding regimes differing in milk allo...
Article
Full-text available
The "outdoor veal calf" system was developed to encounter the demand for a veal fattening system that allows for reducing antimicrobial use without impairing animal welfare. Management improvements including direct purchase, short transportation, vaccination, three-week quarantine in individual hutches, and open-air housing in small groups in a roo...
Article
Full-text available
In this Research Communication we address the hypotheses that reduced contact with humans during the first week of life would impair the relationship of dairy calves reared in dam-calf-contact systems to humans in comparison with artificially reared animals, but that this difference would vanish over time. Artificially reared calves ( Artificial) t...
Article
Full-text available
In this Research Reflection we describe a common standpoint on suitable methodology for controlled and observational studies in cow-calf contact systems in dairy production. Different methods to assess behaviour, health and production in cow-calf contact systems are outlined. Knowledge and experience from researchers working in this field supplemen...
Article
Full-text available
Due to increasing public concern regarding separation of the dairy cow and calf within the first days after birth, alternative systems, where cows and calves stay in contact for an extended period, are receiving increasing interest from a broad array of researchers and other stakeholders. With more research in the area, there is a risk of inconsist...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of the study reported in this Research Communication was to compare play behaviour and social interactions of dairy calves either separated from their mother and reared in a calf group ( Artificial ) or with access to their mother and the cow herd (cow-calf contact: Contact ). Contact calves had access to a calf area and also to the cow bar...
Preprint
Emotions, unlike mood, are short-lived reactions associated with specific events. They can be characterized by two main dimensions, their arousal (bodily activation) and valence (negative versus positive). Knowledge of the valence of emotions experienced by domestic and captive animals is crucial for assessing and improving their welfare, as it ena...
Preprint
Full-text available
Emotions, unlike mood, are short-lived reactions associated with specific events. They can be characterized by two main dimensions, their arousal (bodily activation) and valence (negative versus positive). Knowledge of the valence of emotions experienced by domestic and captive animals is crucial for assessing and improving their welfare, as it ena...
Article
Hazel leaves (Corylus avellana) fed to sheep resulted in decreased methane emissions without negatively affecting feed intake, and were found to have antioxidant properties in vitro. The objective of this study was to evaluate effects of hazel leaves, rich in tannins, on blood antioxidant activity, cellular immune response and heart beat parameters...
Article
Full-text available
The pig industry faces many animal welfare issues. Among these, biting behaviour has a high incidence. It is indicative of an existing problem in biters and is a source of physical damage and psychological stress for the victims. We categorize this behaviour into aggressive and non-aggressive biting, the latter often being directed towards the tail...
Article
Emotion expression plays a crucial role for regulating social interactions. One efficient channel for emotion communication is the vocal-auditory channel, which enables a fast transmission of information. Filter-related parameters (formants) have been suggested as a key to the vocal differentiation of emotional valence (positive versus negative) ac...
Article
Full-text available
The pig industry faces many animal welfare issues. Among these, biting behaviour has a high incidence. It is indicative of an existing problem in biters and is a source of physical damage and psychological stress for the victims. We categorize this behaviour into aggressive and non-aggressive biting, the latter often being directed towards the tail...
Article
In dairy farming, social isolation of cattle is commonly practiced for husbandry procedures such as artificial insemination, claw trimming and at times, for provision of medical treatment. When isolated, cows express physiological and behavioural signs of stress, such as elevated heart rate, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical activity and increa...
Article
Full-text available
Access to an outdoor run might provide some benefits for the social and activity behavior of dairy goats. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of weather parameters on outdoor run use by dairy goats under temperate weather conditions. Data were collected from February to April and in October, 2014, on 14 commercial dairy goat farm...
Article
In organic and other enriched housing systems, straw is commonly used as enrichment material for pigs. Its positive effects on health and behavioural welfare are well known. However, potential additional impacts of roughages (other than straw) have rarely been investigated. On six organic farms, we therefore investigated how providing grass silage...
Article
Full-text available
Here we view naturalness from the point of view of proximate behavioural control. The mechanisms of behaviour control have evolved in order that animals reach a specific goal after they have performed motivated behaviour. This goal was closely related to a function at the time when the mechanism evolved. Function and goal may be de-coupled in a nov...
Article
Full-text available
Here we view naturalness from the point of view of proximate behavioural control. The mechanisms of behaviour control have evolved in order that animals reach a specific goal after they have performed motivated behaviour. This goal was closely related to a function at the time when the mechanism evolved. Function and goal may be de-coupled in a nov...
Article
For dairy goats in loose housing, access to an outdoor run has potential welfare benefits as it provides additional space, enables spatial separation and may offer items representing behavioural enrichment for the goats (e.g. brush, climbing possibilities). However, these benefits will only apply if the outdoor run is actually used, and the use may...
Article
Entire male pigs display more aggressive and sexual behaviour. This might cause a condition of chronic stress and impair their welfare. In order to assess chronic stress in entire and castrated male pigs, as well as effects of providing grass silage as occupational and feed material on behaviour and health, we carried out a 2 × 2 × 2-factorial expe...
Article
Full-text available
Measuring emotions in nonhuman mammals is challenging. As animals are not able to verbally report how they feel, we need to find reliable indicators to assess their emotional state. Emotions can be described using two key dimensions: valence (negative or positive) and arousal (bodily activation or excitation). In this study, we investigated vocal e...
Article
In order to assess chronic stress in entire and castrated male pigs and to describe effects of a provision of grass silage in those pigs, a 2 × 2 × 2 factorial experiment comprising the factors castration, chronic intermittent social stress and provision of grass silage was carried out with 147 growing-finishing pigs from 25.6 to 102.1 kg body weig...
Article
During rearing and until first insemination, housing conditions of gilts are relatively constant and the few human-animal interactions negative. Around first parturition, however, gilts experience intensified contact with stockpersons and are subjected to new management procedures such as being driven individually and exposed to an unknown housing...
Article
Full-text available
Vocal expression of emotions has been suggested to be conserved throughout evolution. However, since vocal indicators of emotions have never been compared between closely related species using similar methods, it remains unclear whether this is the case. Here, we investigated vocal indicators of emotional valence (negative versus positive) in Przew...
Article
The aim of this study was to investigate if visible eye white and eye temperature measurements are feasible non-invasive physiological indicators of acute stress in cows when they are exposed to cattle crush treatment for claw trimming. In the experimental setting, 30 cows of two breeds (Red Holstein and Brown Swiss) were exposed to a non-stressful...
Article
Full-text available
In alpine regions, cows are often equipped with bells during pasture season to ensure that farmers can locate them. Constant exposure to the chime of a bell may affect cows’ acoustic perception in general. The aim of this study is to test whether routine bell exposure affects the reactivity to a noise stimulus and might be associated with hearing i...
Article
Introduction: Two flocks of ewes with lambs were compared for differences in performance. One group was permanently infected with footrot, the other one served as healthy control. They were kept in the same barn but in different bays during lambing and on pasture during the summer. Biweekly all animals were weighed and in the affected group all fe...
Article
Full-text available
Background Non-human animals often produce different types of vocalisations in negative and positive contexts (i.e. different valence), similar to humans, in which crying is associated with negative emotions and laughter is associated with positive ones. However, some types of vocalisations (e.g. contact calls, human speech) can be produced in both...
Article
Full-text available
Horses can sleep while standing, however, recumbency is required for REM sleep and therefore essential. Previous research indicated a minimal duration of recumbency of 30 minutes per 24 hours to perform a minimal duration of REM sleep. For group-housed horses, suitable lying area represents a potentially limited resource. In Switzerland, minimal di...
Article
Separating calf and cow within 24 h after birth is common practice in dairy farms. Some dairy farmers, however, practice a rearing system in which the calves are nursed by their dam or by foster cows. We investigated if dairy calves reared in such a system (calves with cow-contact) differ in their social behaviour and stress reactivity from calves...
Article
Dairy cow body size has increased over time because of breeding selection for higher milk yield, but milking stall dimensions have never been adjusted and are based on the practical experience of milking-machine manufacturers and advisory institutions. Narrow, limited milking stall dimensions might lead to behavioral changes during milking due to l...
Conference Paper
An outdoor run provides additional space and structure and could therefore be beneficial for the social behaviour of dairy goats in loose housing. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of an outdoor run on the number of agonistic interactions, the number of goats indoors and the number of goats lying in the lying and activity area. The...
Conference Paper
Dairy goats in loose housing systems have often access to an outdoor run. The use of an outdoor run is expected to be beneficial for the social behavior and claw wear of dairy goats. To promote its use it is necessary to understand under which climatic conditions goats use an outdoor run. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of di...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to analyze whether the activity of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) differs between two regrouping procedures in goats, which would indicate stimulus specificity of these stressors. Applying two regrouping procedures, we evaluated heart rate and heart rate variability (RMSSD, SDNN, and RMSSD/SDNN). The two regrouping pro...
Article
Full-text available
The use of colour light therapy to treat diseases and disorders in animals is increasingly common but only very little research has been conducted on the effects of illumination with coloured light. The present study examined to which extent coloured light causes behavioural and physiological responses in horses. Red, green, blue and yellow as well...
Article
Under natural conditions, horses spend 12–18 hours of a day with synchronous grazing, but for stabled horses, the amount of forage and thus duration of feed intake usually are restricted. In group-housed horses, therefore, feeding times are often situations with increased levels of agonistic behaviour. Our aim was to evaluate how forage provision,...
Conference Paper
To date, there is not much information available about how goats use an outdoor run and what factors might influence its use. In the present study, the use of an outdoor run and the activity of dairy goats were investigated on 14 farms and related to the design of outdoor run and indoor housing. Neither the quality index of the outdoor run-, nor th...
Article
Full-text available
In alpine regions cows are often equipped with bells. The present study investigated the impact of wearing a bell on behaviour and heart rate variability in dairy cows. Nineteen non-lactating Brown-Swiss cows with bell experience were assigned to three different treatments. For 3 days each, cows were equipped with no bell (control), with a bell wit...
Article
Full-text available
Studying vocal correlates of emotions is important to provide a better understanding of the evolution of emotion expression through cross-species comparisons. Emotions are composed of two main dimensions: emotional arousal (calm versus excited) and valence (negative versus positive). These two dimensions could be encoded in different vocal paramete...
Article
In alpine regions, bells are used to relocate free-ranging grazers like cows and goats. Considering that goats have a well-developed hearing capacity, sounds (e.g. a chime of a bell) may act as stressors depending on their characteristics. The aim of this study was to test whether a non-uniform sound (chime of a bell) varying in amplitude and frequ...
Article
In organic farming, the production of pork from entire male pigs seems to be the most promising alternative to castration, as organic animal husbandry aims at high standards of animal welfare and elimination of mutilations. However, previous research on behaviour of entire male pigs was mostly carried out under barren housing conditions and is thus...
Conference Paper
In the present study heart rate variability as indicator of sympatho-vagal activity, cortisol metabolites concentration as indicator of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal activity, as well as lying and feeding behaviour were assessed in goats while being introduced into unfamiliar, established groups. The observed patterns of the different variables we...
Article
In a feeding trial the hypothesis was tested that the presence of experienced piglets facilitates the adaptation of newly weaned piglets to solid food. The 72 four-week-old piglets in the experimental group were mixed at weaning with 12 piglets which had been weaned one week earlier, whereas their 72 siblings in the control group were reared in the...
Article
The strict dominance hierarchy in goats bears the risk of low-ranking goats not getting adequate access to feed, especially for goats in small groups. The aim of our study was to test the effect of restraint in headlocks with and without blinds at the feed barrier on feeding and agonistic behaviour in horned and hornless goats. A total of 54 non-la...
Article
In studies concerning animal welfare, especially on methods to enhance positive welfare, different stimuli are used to create positive situations or “rewards”. A positive judgement by the animals, however, cannot be assumed a priori. The aim of this study was to determine by means of preference tests whether special feed and being brushed are judge...
Article
Physiological and behavioural reactions of cattle to handling procedures in a commercial abattoir (electrical prodding actions and duration of the animals' stay in the stunning box) were evaluated and set in relation to sex, breed type, and carcass weight. A total of 192 cattle comprised of 45 bulls, 61 steers, and 86 heifers from different breed t...
Article
Full-text available
Rearing of entire male pigs is currently being discussed in many European countries as an animal friendly and economically interesting alternative to castration. However, entire male pigs are often related to an increased prevalence of skin lesions, caused by the higher aggression potential. Yet, while their more aggressive behaviour is relatively...
Article
The observation of locomotor activity and resting behaviour is used to determine time budgets, which may give some indication for the assessment of horses’ welfare concerning management and housing. As an alternative to time-consuming direct observations, a common automatic measuring method is the use of pedometers. One disadvantage of pedometers i...
Conference Paper
The introduction of an individual goat into small established groups has considerable negative consequences for the introduced goat’s welfare. In the present experiment, we tested whether the presence of familiar conspecifics can mitigate the negative effects of social confrontations. To assess this situation we confronted 12 horned, female, nonlac...
Article
The aim of this study was to test the effects of mother rearing on behavioural and physiological stress reactions of calves in challenging situations. Thus, we compared mother-reared and artificially reared calves that were kept in the same group but with varying contact with adults. Mother-reared calves (Mother) were suckled and had unrestricted c...
Article
When introduced into a new herd, goats are confronted with unfamiliar animals. Their behavioural and physiological reactions during this confrontation are likely to differ depending on the presence or absence of familiar conspecifics (peers). To assess these reactions, we confronted 12 goats both alone and with two peers (confrontees) with establis...
Article
As a goat's separation from or reintegration into its group is likely to have an adverse effect on the welfare of both the separated goat and the remaining goats in the group, management procedures need to be carried out in a way that minimises their negative impact. In the present study, we tested the effects of two treatments of separation and re...
Article
The present study investigated the effect of gentle touching applied during the last 5 weeks before slaughter in finishing cattle on behaviour towards humans, stress indicators and beef quality. Three experiments were carried out. Experiments 1, 2 and 3 employed eight Limousin crossbred bulls, eight Piemontese crossbreds (six females, two steers) a...