Publication Date: 2008.
Runway tests are considered indicative of underlying sociality in birds and their ability to make social discriminations. We evaluated whether experience of a prior stressor alters the subsequent affiliation responses of 9 or 10-day-old chicks simultaneously exposed to familiar (cagemates) and unfamiliar conspecifics placed in goal boxes at opposite ends of a runway. Birds were housed in groups of eight in home cages. Half of the birds in each home cage were used as either familiar or unfamiliar social stimuli in the goal boxes. The other half of the birds were randomly assigned either to a control (CON; n = 51) group that remained undisturbed until testing or to a stress-treatment (STR; n = 52) group that was exposed to a 5-min restraint stressor, returned to its home cage and then tested 1 h later. Birds were individually tested in the runway for 5 min and the behaviours video-recorded. During revision of tapes, the projected floor image of the runway was divided into squares and zones. The stressor decreased (P < 0.01) the time spent in close proximity (close zone; CZ) to conspecifics regardless of the familiarity of the stimulus birds. Regardless of treatment, test chicks showed shorter latencies to enter (P < 0.05) and spent longer time (P < 0.02) in the familiar than in the unfamiliar CZ suggesting that young chicks can discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar conspecifics encountered in novel surroundings. While in close proximity to familiar conspecifics, STR birds showed a reduced (P < 0.05) number of squares entered compared to CONs. This reduced locomotor activity was not accompanied by an increased activity in other zones of the runway. At the end of the trial, both CON and STR birds showed a reduced (P < 0.05) locomotor activity in the unfamiliar CZ and an increased (P < 0.05) activity in the central zone of the runway. Interestingly, no differences were detected between CON and STR birds in the total number of squares entered during the trial. These results suggest that prior stressor exposure did not affect the overall amount of locomotion but altered the spatial distribution of it. Collectively, our findings suggest that exposure to an acute stressor event subsequently affects chicks' affiliation responses in runway tests. The way a bird will react depends on the identity (familiar or unfamiliar) of the conspecifics in its close environment. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Author affiliation: Guzmán, Diego Alberto. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Científico Tecnológico Conicet - Córdoba. Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas y Tecnológicas. Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales. Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas y Tecnológicas; Argentina
Author affiliation: Marin, Raul Hector. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Centro Científico Tecnológico Conicet - Córdoba. Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas y Tecnológicas. Universidad Nacional de Córdoba. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales. Instituto de Investigaciones Biológicas y Tecnológicas; Argentina
Repository: CONICET Digital (CONICET). Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas