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Domestication effects on foraging behaviour: consequences for adaptability in chickens
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Zoology . Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The main aim of this thesis was to study domestication effects on foraging behaviour in chickens and to investigate whether and how domestication and selection for high production have influenced adaptability in chickens. Two domestic strains of chickens (egg layers and meat type chickens) and their wild ancestor, the red jungle fowl (RJF) were compared in different test situations with respect to foraging behaviour and adaptability. The domestic strains showed a modified foraging strategy, where they were less inclined to explore and feed from a hidden food source, i.e. they showed less contrafreeloading (CFL, the behaviour of working for food even though identical food can be easily obtained) than RJF. The difference in CFL between RJF and the layers were not altered by food deprivation, which suggests that the lower CFL in the layers represents a genetically based difference in feeding strategy. In addition, CFL decreased with age in RJF and layers and social isolation decreased CFL in RJF. Furthermore, when foraging, RJF acquired information about the quality of different food sources, which was utilised after a change in environmental conditions. Contrary to this, layers gained less information during foraging and showed an impaired spatial learning ability compared to RJF, and in this respect, layers showed a lower degree of adaptability. Chronic stress impaired the learning capacity of both breeds but RJF seemed to be overall faster to learn to locate food in a spatial learning task. Furthermore, stressed RJF started to eat faster in the spatial learning test than non-stressed RJF, and contrary to this, stressed layers showed a more passive response by prolonging the time to start feeding compared to non-stressed layers. This indicates a more active response to stress in RJF than in layers. Similarly, when RJF and layers were exposed to food deprivation, RJF showed an active response by increasing their time spent on foraging behaviour. The general results in this thesis most likely reflect different adaptive strategies, where RJF appear to be better adapted to a stochastic environment, and the domestic strains to grow and produce egg in a more predictable environment. The findings are in accordance with the resource allocation theory, which suggests that animals selected for high production are expected to reallocate a high proportion of resources into production traits and hence fewer resources might be left to other biological processes, e.g. exploratory behaviour. Selection for high production seems to influence the ability of chickens to cope with a changing environment, which may have implications for the welfare of chickens in a production environment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institutionen för fysik, kemi och biologi , 2008. , 37 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1164
Keyword [en]
Etologi, chicken, domestication effects, behaviour, red jungle fowl (RJF), contrafreeloading (CFL), egg production
National Category
Ethnology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-11237ISBN: 978-91-7393-969-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-11237DiVA: diva2:17647
Public defence
2008-03-28, Planck, Fysikhuset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-03-11 Created: 2008-03-11 Last updated: 2010-01-13Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Red jungle fowl have more contrafreeloading than white leghorn layers: Effect of food deprivation and consequences for information gain
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Red jungle fowl have more contrafreeloading than white leghorn layers: Effect of food deprivation and consequences for information gain
2002 (English)In: Behaviour, ISSN 0005-7959, E-ISSN 1568-539X, Vol. 139, 1195-1209 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Contrafreeloading (CFL), i.e. choosing food which requires work over free food, occurs at a higher rate in red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus) compared to White Leghorn layers. We examined whether this difference between breeds was altered by food deprivation and whether it affected the information gained about alternative food sources. In a first experiment, twenty birds of each breed were deprived for zero, three and six hours and then allowed a choice of feeding from freely available food or food mixed with wood shavings. In both breeds, CFL tended to decrease after deprivation, but jungle fowl consistently showed more CFL than Leghorns also after food deprivation. This shows that differences in CFL between breeds were not altered by food deprivation, and the larger CFL in jungle fowl may represent a genetically based difference in feeding strategy. In a second experiment, we examined whether the differences in CFL affected how the birds acquired information about alternative food sites of different quality. Twenty birds of each breed were allowed to forage during three 10 min sessions in a four armed maze, where symbols in each end of the arms indicated the location of four different quality food sources, 'high gain' (freely available food), 'medium gain' (70% food, 30% wood shavings), 'low gain' (30% food), and 'no gain' (100% wood shavings). Each bird was then tested in the same maze when the 'high gain' food source and its symbol had been removed, and the other three sources contained only the symbols and wood shavings. Jungle fowl chose the symbol indicating the best available food source significantly more often than the Leghorns. The results indicate that Leghorn gain less information during foraging, which may have consequences for their adaptation capacity in a production environment. This could either be a consequence of Leghorns showing less CFL, or a generally impaired learning capacity of Leghorns compared to jungle fowl.

National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-48342 (URN)10.1163/15685390260437335 (DOI)
Available from: 2009-10-11 Created: 2009-10-11 Last updated: 2017-12-12
2. Effects of age, sex and social isolation on contrafreeloading in red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) and White Leghorn fowl
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Effects of age, sex and social isolation on contrafreeloading in red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) and White Leghorn fowl
2008 (English)In: Applied Animal Behaviour Science, ISSN 0168-1591, E-ISSN 1872-9045, Vol. 114, no 3-4, 419-428 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Contrafreeloading (CFL), i.e. choosing to work to obtain food over free food, has been studied in many different species. White Leghorn laying hens selected for high production have a lower extent of CFL compared to their wild ancestor, red junglefowl. We studied the effects of age, sex and social isolation. on the extent of CFL in red junglefowl and White Leghorn layers.

For 48 h, 30 birds of each breed were allowed a choice, between freely available food and food mixed with wood shavings. Both females and males were tested individually as young birds (8-10 weeks old) and when they were sexually mature (27-29 weeks old). To test the possible effects of social isolation, the same birds were also tested in pairs at 30 weeks of age.

Junglefowl showed a higher extent of CFL at the younger age compared to Leghorns (33.7% vs. 22.7%: P = 0.05) and both breeds showed higher extent of CFL at a young age than when sexually mature (P < 0.001). There were no significant differences between the two breeds when they were sexually mature and tested individually but, when tested in pairs, junglefowl showed higher extent of CFL than Leghorns (31.7% vs. 17.0%; P < 0.001). There were no differences in the extent of CFL between the sexes in either breed.

The results indicate that age and social isolation influence the extent of CFL in fowl. Furthermore, the results support earlier findings that the extent of CFL is lower in Leghorns than junglefowl, indicating a possible side-effect of selection for increased production.

Keyword
Domestication, Contrafreeloading, Junglefowl, White Leghorn, Age, Social isolation
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-16127 (URN)10.1016/j.applanim.2008.03.002 (DOI)
Available from: 2009-01-08 Created: 2009-01-07 Last updated: 2017-12-14Bibliographically approved
3. A note on contrafreeloading in broilers compared to layer chicks
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A note on contrafreeloading in broilers compared to layer chicks
2006 (English)In: Applied Animal Behaviour Science, ISSN 0168-1591, Vol. 101, no 1-2, 161-166 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Contrafreeloading (CFL) is the behaviour where an animal chooses to work for food even when identical food can be obtained without any effort. Previous studies have suggested that the difference in CFL between White Leghorn layers and jungle fowl may be a side effect of selection for increased production traits in the Leghorn strain.

In this experiment we studied to what extent broilers chicks (Cobb/Ross), which are highly selected for fast growth, perform CFL and compared this with a layer strain (Calder Ranger), which grows considerably slower. We predicted that broilers should have a lower degree of CFL compared to the layer strain, as an energy-saving response to the demands of rapid growth.

During 48 h 10 pairs of each breed were given a choice between freely available food and food mixed with wood shavings. Behavioural observations were made twice each day. Broilers showed less CFL (p < 0.05), were more inactive (p < 0.001) and performed less active behaviours (p < 0.05) than layers.

Our results support previous findings that decreased CFL in domestic fowl may indicate adaptive reallocation of energy resources in response to selection for increased production traits.

Keyword
Contrafreeloading; Resource allocation; Broiler; Laying hen
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13000 (URN)10.1016/j.applanim.2006.01.006 (DOI)
Available from: 2008-03-11 Created: 2008-03-11
4. Domestication and stress effects on contrafreeloading and spatial learning performance in red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus) and White Leghorn layers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Domestication and stress effects on contrafreeloading and spatial learning performance in red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus) and White Leghorn layers
2009 (English)In: BEHAVIOURAL PROCESSES, ISSN 0376-6357 , Vol. 81, no 1, 80-84 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

White Leghorn layers (WL) show modified foraging strategies. compared to their ancestor, the red jungle fowl (RJF). Birds selected for high production may invest more resources into production traits and less in other biological Processes. This may affect the capacity to adapt to new or variable environments.

Thirty birds of each of RJF and WL were raised in a stressful environment (unpredictable light:dark schedule) and 30 control animals of each breed in similar pens, but on a 12:12 h light:dark schedule. We studied the differences between breed and treatment with respect to contrafreeloading (CFL), spatial learning ability and the birds behaviour in a T-maze.

WL showed less CFL, were less cautious in the test arena and showed an impaired spatial learning ability Compared with RJF in both test situations. Stress impaired spatial learning in both breeds, but stressed RJF showed a more active response to the test situation than non-stressed RJF, by starting to eat faster, while stressed WL prolonged their time to start eating compared to non-stressed WL. Our results may reflect different adaptive Strategies, where RJF appear better adapted to an unpredictable environment.

Keyword
Chickens, Domestication, Foraging, Spatial learning, Stress
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-18403 (URN)10.1016/j.beproc.2009.02.005 (DOI)
Available from: 2009-05-25 Created: 2009-05-25 Last updated: 2009-05-25
5. Domestication effects on food deprivation induced behaviour in red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus) and White Leghorn layers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Domestication effects on food deprivation induced behaviour in red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus) and White Leghorn layers
Manuscript (Other academic)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13002 (URN)
Available from: 2008-03-11 Created: 2008-03-11 Last updated: 2010-01-13

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