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Title: The responses of domestic fowl to video images of conspecifics and of abstract stimuli
Author: Clarke, Colette Helen
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1999
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Both chicks and adult hens traversed a runway to approach video images of feeding conspecifics, regardless of whether the corresponding soundtrack was played or not. This suggests that visual and auditory components of the stimulus did not exert additive effects and that the visual features of the conspecific videos were the most important in eliciting approach. As in previous runway tests, a familiar screensaver video image was attractive to chicks when they were placed individually in an otherwise novel environment (open field). Furthermore, regular exposure to screensaver videos during the first week of life decreased chicks' fear when they were subsequently placed in an open field with no videos present. These results suggest that chicks remember symbolic video images, that their documented attraction to familiar objects and odours in novel environments generalizes to include video images, and that video stimulation may reduce rear, perhaps by enriching the chicks' environment. Screensaver videos in front of the home cage for 10 min on consecutive days reliably attracted and sustained the interest of individually housed laying hens for as long as 8 days; thereafter interest waned gradually. These results are consistent with those shown by chicks upon repeated exposure to similar screensaver videos. Thus, this phenomenon is not dependent on the stage of development. Furthermore, the hens' interest was fully reinstated when a new screensaver was shown. These results underline the importance of giving chicks the opportunity to investigate novelty. When simultaneously presented with two video images at opposite ends of the home cage, chicks spent more time near bright rather than dull, moving rather than still, coloured rather than black & white, and complex rather than simple stimuli. These findings suggest that chicks have strong preferences for certain features of video images. Collectively these findings clearly demonstrate that chickens readily become attracted to and remember biologically neutral video images.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available