Maternal Influences on Feeding and General Activity in Domestic Chicks


Corresponding author: Marie-Annick Richard-Yris, UMR CNRS-6552, Ethologie–Evolution–Ecologie, Université Rennes 1, Bât. 25 Campus de Beaulieu, F-35042 Rennes cedex, France. E-mail:


The aim of this study was to determine if and how the presence of a hen influences the behaviour of chicks and, more precisely, their food preferences. We observed two types of young, brooded and non-brooded chicks in the presence of three different food types. Results revealed that brooded chicks performed more locomotion and more sustained feeding activities than non-brooded chicks. Moreover, brooded chicks had different preferences from non-brooded chicks and very clearly followed their mother's preferences. We concluded that social facilitation and local enhancement could play a significant role in determining the importance of feeding activities and preferences of brooded chicks.