Some quantitative changes in the behaviour of the domestic chicken in the first seven weeks after hatching : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science at Massey University

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Massey University
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The study, which was carried out at the Poultry Research Centre, at Massey University. was concerned with the behavioural development of the domestic chicken, and more specifically with the quantitative changes taking place in specific categories of behaviour from hatching to approximately two months after hatching. Observations for the study were carried out under laboratory conditions rather than in the field, for the following reasons. (i) some control of environmental variables could be achieved in the laboratory which could not be attained under field conditions. (ii) that the chicks could be kept in view to permit a detailed surveillance of their movements to be made for the duration of each observation period. This was necessary for a full quantification of the observations to be obtained, and for the data to be of use in statistical analyses. (iii) that a set number of chickens could be observed from the beginning to the end of each trial so that the data would be amenable to statistical treatment. Under field conditions it is doubtful if these requirements could have been met to the satisfaction of the observer. the nature of the topic under study, quantitative techniques were essential, as was the use of statistical tools to extract sufficient information from the raw data to warrant the adoption of the quantitative approach. Five separate trials were performed, using separate groups of newly-hatched chicks for each trial, and taking into account the time required for cleaning and disinfecting between trials, the total time taken for the observations and experiments was approximately 12 months. [From the Introduction]
Chickens, Animal behaviour, Aggressive behaviour in animals