Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Ass. Prof. Dr. Knut Niebuhr 1963 - 2020

On February 1st, 2020 Knut Niebuhr's eyes shut forever after a patiently endured serious illness. He fought to the end with admirable perseverance, but the opponent was overpowering. The silence that now remains is full of gratitude, respect and recognition for his scientific achievements and personal commitment.

Knut Niebuhr studied veterinary medicine at the University of Pisa and the LMU Munich. For his doctoral thesis on the resettlement of the bearded vulture, he came to the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, where he received his doctorate in 1996 and also worked for the Bearded Vulture project as a research assistant. From December 1997 he worked as a university assistant at the Institute for Animal Husbandry and Animal Welfare (since 2019 Institute of Animal Welfare Sciences), since 2008 as assistant professor and head of the poultry working group.

The focus of his work was on the behavior, husbandry and well-being of laying hens in various husbandry systems and production forms, but he also devoted himself to fattening poultry. So Knut Niebuhr various projects, e.g. to use the run of laying hens, to use bridges or tunnels as access to runs, to design the run for broilers and to evaluate new husbandry systems for laying hens. In particular, his research on factors influencing feather pecking and cannibalism in laying hens led to a concept in husbandry and management that can now be used to shorten the beaks. These results also attracted great international attention and contributed significantly to improving animal welfare for laying hens. During his work, he always tried to find practical solutions and was therefore in close contact with the various actors in poultry practice. His research also took place in practice on poultry farms; he himself worked on hundreds of companies for data collection and advice. In addition to research, he was also very enthusiastic about teaching at the university and transferring knowledge into practice. With enthusiasm, he was not only able to arouse students' understanding of animals and their behavior and provide them with the basis for scientifically based animal welfare, but also to help practitioners find ways of animal-friendly poultry farming and avoiding problems.

Beyond Austria's borders, Knut Niebuhr will be remembered as a razor-sharp thinker, recognized expert, courteous colleague, good friend and great person.