The aim of this study was to investigate the social influence of single chicks with different foraging experience on the behaviour of their group members during the first days after hatching. In contrast to the duplicate cage procedure normally used in social learning studies, four naïve group members could freely interact with a tutor or a control chick in an enriched 20-m2 test arena. This arena contained two types of food caches with differently coloured food. The tutor was 3 d older than its group members and was trained to feed from one of the two food cache types, whereas the control chick was not familiar with the characteristics of the test arena and was either of the same age or 3 d older than its group members. During the first 9 d after hatching, the foraging activity of 32 chick groups was tested in 15 trials per group. Groups with a 3 d older but inexperienced control chick had the least foraging success whilst groups with a naïve control chick of the same age compared more favourably with the groups with experienced tutors than with groups that included older control chicks. In a second experiment, a tutor compartment was introduced into the test arena in order to compare a situation of unrestricted contact possibilities with the duplicate cage procedure in which tutor and bystanders are separated by a Perspex divider. The tutor compartment was opened for some test groups, allowing free interaction between tutor and naïve chicks. Those chicks which could only watch the tutor through the Perspex developed a preference for the tutor’s food type and discovered this food type as fast as the chicks of groups with unrestricted interactions. However, a relatively large proportion of groups (3 out of 8) did not develop successful foraging behaviour at all, whereas the successful groups showed longer feeding latencies during the subsequent trials than groups which had unrestricted contact with their tutor. This indicates an inhibiting effect of the duplicate cage procedure. It is concluded that when testing chicks of a few days of age, a distinction should be made between (i) the social influence on food particle preferences and (ii) the social influence on learning where to find food. This is important for generalizations taken from duplicate cage procedures without any environmental enrichment, as this restrictive setting only allows detection of food particle preferences.