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October 2021

Application of the filial imprinting phenomenon to broiler chicks at a commercial farm

Author(s): Snapir, N., Robinzon, B.

Journal/Book: Poult Sci. 1987; 66: 1564-6.

Abstract: Ten thousand broiler chicks on commercial farms in Israel were imprinted to blue and red plastic boxes (20 x 20 x 40 cm) containing loud speakers (8 omega, 12 W) equipped with a tape recorder, in which a classical music cassette had been placed. Upon reaching 3 wk of age, an attempt was made to move these chicks from the training area (A) to a new area (B) using the imprinting objects. This experiment was repeated four times: May, August and November of 1985, and in January 1986. During the warm months of May and August 30 to 60% of the experimental chicks followed the imprinting objects toward Area B. During the cold months and in all four repetitions with the controls, less than 5% of the flocks moved from Area A to Area B. Winter chicks may have been imprinted on brooder heaters. In all repetitions, most of the imprinted chicks distributed themselves equally over Area B 1 h after the doors between Areas B and A were closed. Controls, however, crowded around the door between Areas A and B resulting in the death of many chicks by asphyxiation. This study has shown that thousands of heavy strain chicks can be easily attached to an imprinting stimulus and it may be possible to apply this phenomenon for commercial purposes.

Keyword(s): Acoustic Stimulation. Animal. Animal Husbandry/methods. Chickens/physiology. Imprinting (Psychology)/physiology. Photic Stimulation. Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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