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  • 1.
    Rutkauskaite, Austeja
    et al.
    Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
    Jensen, Per
    Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
    Domestication effects on social information transfer in chickens2022In: Animal Cognition, ISSN 1435-9448, E-ISSN 1435-9456, Vol. 25, p. 1473-1478Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Red junglefowl (RJF), ancestor of all domesticated chickens, is a highly social, omnivorous bird species, presumably with a capacity for social information sharing. During domestication, birds have been selected to live in large, dynamic groups, and this may have affected their social cognition. Here, we studied social information transfer in female RJF and domesticated White Leghorn (WL) chickens. Individuals were trained to open a puzzle-box feeder by pecking a lid and we then recorded the behaviour towards the same puzzle-box feeder for birds that had either observed the trained individual ("guided") or saw the puzzle-box feeder for the first time ("naive"). WL were considerably faster in approaching the feeder regardless of prior demonstration and pecked more at it. Both breeds were significantly faster to approach the puzzle-box feeder and pecked more after prior demonstration, but the effects were significantly stronger in WL. We conclude that both RJF and WL can utilize social information to address a novel problem, but during domestication this ability appears to have increased. The effects can be an effect of either social learning or stimulus enhancement. Some caution in this conclusion is necessary since we tested relatively few WL. Furthermore, possible confounding explanations include higher fearfulness in RJF and different effects of dominance interactions between demonstrators and observers.

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