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Characterisation of social behaviour in red junglefowl and White leghorn laying hens: phenotypic and genetic studies
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2005 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The objective of this thesis was, by using two model strains of chicken, red junglefowl and White Leghorn layer, to study differences in social behaviour of the species that could be derived from domestication and production related selection processes. The social phenotype characterisation was done to be able to further study the association of the social differences to specific production related traits as well as to certain genome areas in intercross and backcross lines generated from these two parental populations.The first part of the thesis covers phenotypic differences between the two parental stocks in social motivation (sociality), social discrimination ability and preferences as well as the dynamics of aggression and hierarchy establishment under unstable social circumstances. These features are crucial for the coping of fowl in its social environment. The underlying social motivation and related characteristics were measured first in chicks, while the fourth study was designed to investigate if the social motivation differences across the breeds would persist into adulthood and if so, would correlate with various production related traits, as growth and egg production, in the F3 progeny. The last paper analysed the effect of genotype along a domestication linked Growth1 QTL on some of the social behaviour differences. The behaviour tests revealed a consistent breed specific behavioural difference, which was linked to the novelty and stressfulness of each test situation. The junglefowl chicks behaved in a manner that is considered to be adaptive in the wild; they for instance explored and foraged more in the novel environment. Conversely, the Leghoms appeared more fearful and showed a higher level of attachment to familiar companions in the tests. These breed specific behaviour patterns persisted over age and correlated also with several production related traits in the F3 progeny. Even though selection for egg production has affected the social behaviour only on a quantitative level (frequencies and intensities) the dynamics of aggression and hierarchy establishment differed remarkably between the breeds when studied in unstable groups; Leghoms responded to regrouping with greater aggression and had more difficulties to adapt to strangers. The genetic study in the last paper revealed a link between social motivation and exploratory behaviour and two adjacent marker areas within the Growth1 QTL, indicating at least two involved genes in this area. The conclusion of this thesis is that social motivation, which is considered to underlie most social behaviour traits in fowl, has been influenced by selection for high production in the studied White Leghom stock in comparison with junglefowl. Furthermore, the found breed differences seem to segregate together with some production related traits in an advanced intercross generation, and to be associated with a QTL-region, which has been suggested to play an important role in the domestication of chickens.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2005. , 62 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 970
Keyword [en]
Red junglefowl, social behaviour, behaviour tests
National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-30343Local ID: 15880ISBN: 91-85457-24-8 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-30343DiVA: diva2:251165
Public defence
2005-10-19, Sal Planck, Fysikhuset, Campus Linköping, Linköping, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Available from: 2009-10-09 Created: 2009-10-09 Last updated: 2012-12-05
List of papers
1. Social versus exploration and foraging motivation in young red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) and White Leghorn layers
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Social versus exploration and foraging motivation in young red junglefowl (Gallus gallus) and White Leghorn layers
2003 (English)In: Applied Animal Behaviour Science, ISSN 0168-1591, E-ISSN 1872-9045, Vol. 84, no 2, 139-158 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Social coherence tendency is an important behavioural characteristic in young fowl related to an underlying social motivation that can be modified by breeding. Our aim was to investigate if selection for productive traits in a certain White Leghorn layer strain has influenced different components of social motivation compared to the ancestor, red junglefowl. From both breeds, 29 chicks were tested between 4 and 7 weeks of age in four behavioural tests designed to study social motivation. A runway test was used to measure social reinstatement behaviour. Social coherence tendency versus foraging motivation was measured in both novel and familiar environments following 0 and 3 h food deprivation. The novel environment was an L-shaped social versus foraging arena and the familiar environment was identical to the chicks’ home pens. Both included stimulus birds in a box and food at opposite ends of the test arenas. Furthermore, spacing behaviour of groups consisting of three chicks was observed in a novel pen. The runway test revealed a stronger social affiliation in junglefowl when the social contact had first been reinstated. In the social versus foraging arena, junglefowl moved more whereas Leghorns spent more time immobile. These differences were greater with 3 h food deprivation. Deprivation and breed had a significant interaction resulting in more time spent feeding by junglefowl but not by Leghorns. Contrary to this, in the familiar pen, Leghorns responded to deprivation by feeding more and keeping longer distance to the stimulus birds than junglefowl. In the novel pen, Leghorn chicks had shorter nearest neighbour distances than junglefowl. The results indicate that the adaptability of the birds to their social and physical environment may have been influenced by means of selection for increased production capacity. Leghorns from the studied strain may have greater problems in adapting to a new environment.

Keyword
Coping, Junglefowl, Production, Selection, Social motivation, White Leghorn
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-46428 (URN)10.1016/j.applanim.2003.07.001 (DOI)
Available from: 2009-10-11 Created: 2009-10-11 Last updated: 2017-12-13
2. Responses of young red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus) and white leghorn layers to familiar and unfamiliar social stimuli
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Responses of young red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus) and white leghorn layers to familiar and unfamiliar social stimuli
2004 (English)In: Poultry Science, ISSN 0032-5791, E-ISSN 1525-3171, Vol. 83, no 3, 335-343 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Social preferences of familiar over unfamiliar social stimuli in chicks may be used to measure sociality, a characteristic important for the welfare of poultry in commercial production. We studied social preferences and reaction to strangers in young White Leghorns and red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus) in 3 tests. All chicks were raised and housed in 2 groups of 34 individuals per breed. At 24 to 29 d of age 38 chicks per breed were tested in 2 runway tests. In the first, chicks had a free choice between familiar and unfamiliar breed members, and in the second the choice was between unfamiliar chicks of their own breed and the other breed. On d 41 to 42, spacing and agonistic interactions of 28 pairs of chicks per breed (in half of the pairs, chicks were unfamiliar to each other) were observed in an open field for 10 min (pair test). In the first runway test, clear preference for familiar chicks and avoidance of unfamiliar social stimuli was found only in Leghorns, whereas both breeds showed a preference for their own breed members in the second runway test. Affiliation to the familiar breed, however, was more pronounced in Leghorns. In the pair test, Leghorns were significantly more involved in agonistic interactions than wild-type chicks. Avoidance of unfamiliar and preference for familiar conspecifics might suggest a weaker capacity of Leghorns to cope with novel social and environmental stimuli, which might have implications for the welfare of the birds in production environments when encountering unfamiliar individuals.

Keyword
coping, jungle fowl, layer, production, social preference
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-48408 (URN)
Available from: 2009-10-11 Created: 2009-10-11 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
3. Social interactions in Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) and White Leghorn layers in stable groups and after re-grouping
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Social interactions in Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) and White Leghorn layers in stable groups and after re-grouping
2005 (English)In: British Poultry Science, ISSN 0007-1668, E-ISSN 1466-1799, Vol. 46, no 2, 156-168 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

1. Although social behaviour is a major factor affecting the coping of poultry in production environments little is known about how it has been affected by intensive selection processes in fowl. We attempted to clarify selection effects on overall repertoire and occurrence of different social behaviours as well as on aggressive responses to re-grouping with unfamiliar birds by comparing high-producing White Leghorn layers to wild type Red Junglefowl.

2. In the first experiment we observed 8 stable mixed sex groups/breed each consisting of four 24-week-old birds previously familiar to each other. During 9 consecutive days, a wide range of social signals, sexual and aggressive interactions as well as spacing behaviour and activity were recorded over a 12-h photoperiod.

3. In the second experiment, starting at 19 weeks of age, 16 single sex groups of three birds from each breed were formed by mixing unfamiliar individuals. Aggressive behaviours were recorded 0, 5, 24 and 48 h after re-grouping.

4. Results from the stable groups indicated that the repertoire of social behaviours has been preserved during selection with few changes in frequencies and intensities. However, Leghorns showed a more cohesive spacing pattern than junglefowl.

5. In the second experiment, aggressive activity was higher immediately and after 24 h following re-grouping in Leghorns, but there was a drop in the aggressiveness at 5 h to the same level as junglefowl. We suggest that this may indicate poorer social learning capacity with a weaker ability to cope with group disruptions compared to the ancestral breed.

National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-42126 (URN)10.1080/00071660500062638 (DOI)60599 (Local ID)60599 (Archive number)60599 (OAI)
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2017-12-13
4. Co-segregation of behaviour and production related traits in an F3 intercross between red junglefowl and White Leghorn laying hens
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Co-segregation of behaviour and production related traits in an F3 intercross between red junglefowl and White Leghorn laying hens
2005 (English)In: Livestock Production Science, ISSN 0301-6226, E-ISSN 1872-6070, Vol. 94, no 3, 149-158 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In poultry breeding, selection for production traits may cause side-effects on the physiology and behaviour of the birds with a potential influence on animal welfare. Genetic associations between phenotypic traits can be studied in an intercross of two divergent breeds. In advanced generations, traits controlled by the same genes or by genes located close to each other will co-segregate. Our aim was to study if behavioural styles expressed by red junglefowl (n=26) and White Leghorn (n=26) in a social vs. exploration motivation test as well as breed-differences in contrafreeloading (CFL), an energy demanding feeding strategy, would co-segregate with production related traits in their F3 intercross progeny (n=78). The results revealed Leghorns to maintain closer social contact in the test, whereas junglefowl, which according to previous studies have also a higher degree of CFL, were more active and explorative. Furthermore, these behavioural differences correlated with several production related traits, such as growth and residual feed intake (RFI), in the F3 generation. F3 birds with higher levels of production related traits behaved in a fashion resembling Leghorns more than junglefowl. Both in parental animals and the F3 birds, the above effects were clearest among females. The results, thereby, suggest that selection for high production in fowl may simultaneously have side-effects on sociality and foraging. This could further influence the general capacity of birds to cope with environmental challenges such as exploring a novel environment. The genetic mechanisms underlying this co-segregation remain to be investigated.

National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-42128 (URN)10.1016/j.livprodsci.2004.10.010 (DOI)60614 (Local ID)60614 (Archive number)60614 (OAI)
Available from: 2009-10-10 Created: 2009-10-10 Last updated: 2017-12-13Bibliographically approved
5. Sociality in a White Leghorn x Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) cross affected by a major growth QTL
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sociality in a White Leghorn x Red Junglefowl (Gallus gallus) cross affected by a major growth QTL
Show others...
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Comparisons between the chicken ancestor, red junglefowl, and domesticated White Leghorn layers have shown that junglefowl chicks are more explorative in novel environments while layers tend to immobilize and stay closer to social stimuli. We aimed at studying if these differences between populations are connected to QTL, Growth1, identified earlier on chromosome 1, which is associated with several production and domestication related traits in fowl, for example growth. To narrow down the size of the QTL, a backcross was produced, using F3 Leghorn/junglefowl intercross males segregating along the QTL and Leghorn females. The offspring were genotyped at nine different marker positions along the QTL. The genotype at each marker position could be either heterozygous junglefowl/Leghorn or homozygous Leghorn. Ninety-two backcross chicks reared as one batch were tested after 3-h food deprivation in an L-shaped maze for 10-min. The test was the same as previously used for the parental chicks. The chicks had a free choice between food and social companions at opposite ends of the test arena. The results revealed that two chromosomal areas in the Growth1 QTL region were associated with the behavioral variables in the test. Furthermore, the differences between the two alternative marker allele genotypes closely resembled those seen between the parental stocks earlier: the heterozygous chicks behaved as junglefowl while homozygous ones acted more like Leghorns. The tendencies for the chicks to immobilize and start feeding in the test were linked to MCW106, whereas social motivation had a strong association to three adjacent markers. MCW010. UG0006 and UG0002. These results support previous studies, suggesting that this QTL has an important role in controlling domestication related traits in fowl.

National Category
Natural Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-85957 (URN)
Available from: 2012-12-05 Created: 2012-12-05 Last updated: 2012-12-05

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