H W Erhard

James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom

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Publications (1)1.51 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: A clutch of young chicks housed with a mother hen exhibit ultradian (within day) rhythms of activity corresponding to the brooding cycle of the hen. In the present study clear evidence was found of ultradian activity rhythms in newly hatched domestic chicks housed in groups larger than natural clutch size without a mother hen or any other obvious external time-keeper. No consistent synchrony was found between groups housed in different pens within the same room. The ultradian rhythms disappeared with time and little evidence of group rhythmicity remained by the third night. This disappearance over time suggests that the presence of a mother hen may be pivotal for the long-term maintenance of these rhythms. The ultradian rhythm of the chicks may also play an important role in the initiation of brooding cycles during the behavioural transition of the mother hen from incubation to brooding. Computer simulations of individual activity rhythms were found to reproduce the observations made on a group basis. This was achievable even when individual chick rhythms were modelled as independent of each other, thus no assumptions of social facilitation are necessary to obtain ultradian activity rhythms on a group level.
    Behavioural Processes 08/2008; 78(3):408-15. · 1.51 Impact Factor

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1.51 Total Impact Points

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  • 2008
    • James Hutton Institute
      Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom