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The relations between filial and sexual imprinting in the domestic fowl: Effects of age and social experience

Abstract : 40 cockerels, were exposed to an artificial training model for 15 days. These sessions were between 1 and 15 days (‘I’ groups); 16 and 30 days (‘II’ groups); or 31 and 45 day (‘III’ groups) after hatching. Otherwise the subjects were reared either in isolation (groups Ii, IIi, IIIi) or in pars with a pullet (groups I♀, II♀, III♀). Sexual tests giving a choice between the training model and a novel model or a conspecific, were performed at maturity (5 months). Following responses during training suggested that all birds except group IIIi had established a strong filial attachment bond with their model. Results of tests on adults showed that the birds in group IIIi, with weak filial attachments to the training model, were however strongly sexually imprinted with the training model. The birds in groups Ii and IIi, with strong filial attachment to the training model, did not generally attempt to mate with the training model. All socially reared birds mated preferentially with the conspecific choice object but they also mated with the training model towards which they were all previously filially attached. It is argued that the development of a sexual preference is not a direct consequence of the filial attachment.
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Jean-Marie Vidal. The relations between filial and sexual imprinting in the domestic fowl: Effects of age and social experience. Animal Behaviour, Elsevier Masson, 1980, 28 (3), pp.880-891. ⟨10.1016/S0003-3472(80)80148-5⟩. ⟨hal-01368578⟩

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