Behavioral biology of chickens and quail

LM Dixon, Sarah L Lambton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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This chapter discusses the behavioral biology of poultry. It focuses on domestic fowl (chickens) and quail, as these are the species most commonly kept for research purposes. They are both considered to be good laboratory models for a variety of human and animal diseases, and both are used in production, behavior, and welfare studies. This chapter first reviews the wild behavior of junglefowl and Japanese quail, from which domestic fowl and quail are derived. Behaviors, such as sheltering and roosting, social interactions, maternal influences, dustbathing, and foraging are considered. It then draws on the behavioral ecology of these species to understand the normal and abnormal behaviors domestic poultry perform under laboratory conditions, in the context of behavioral needs. In particular, aggression, feather pecking, and behaviors indicative of frustration and fear are considered. This informs a discussion of the strategies that might be employed to maintain behavioral health in captivity. The chapter concludes with a list of recommendations, including provision of environmental enrichment, cover to provide shelter and nesting areas, dustbaths, and perches. In addition, housing in facilities with litter-covered solid floors and appropriate social groups is beneficial.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBehavioral biology of laboratory animals
EditorsKristine Coleman, Steven Schapiro
Place of PublicationOxon
PublisherCRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-429-01951-7
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-02923--4
Publication statusPrint publication - 12 Aug 2021


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