The animals in this study were selected on their level of fear of human and the generation that was studied was the fifth selected generation. Two selection lines were used (high and low fear of humans) as well as an unselected line where the animals have been randomly selected. Level of fear of human was determined through a standardised behavioural test, from which a fear score was estimated.
Basal Metabolic Rate
I used an open respirometry system to measure basal metabolic rate in 5-6 week old chicks. Measurements were done overnight which is the normal resting period for chickens. The chicks were matched according to weight in this experiment to eliminate bias due to weight differences.
Novel Object and Feed Intake
The chickens were tested in a novel object test at the age of 21 weeks. A novel object test is used to measure the boldness of an individual. In my test I used a broken egg as a motivator since chickens are highly motivated to feeding on that.
I also measured feed intake of the chickens from the age of 21 weeks for one week. For this purpose I built card board boxes for each individual so that the amount of feed could be weighed.
Egg Weight and Onset of Egg Laying
Egg weight and onset of laying in females was tested when the animals were between 19 and 24 weeks of age. The chickens were housed separately with visual and auditory contact with conspecifics.
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Last updated: 05/27/14