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Breed Recognition in the Social Interactions of Domestic Fowl

E. B. Hale
Behaviour
Vol. 10, No. 3/4 (1956 - 1957), pp. 240-254
Published by: Brill
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4532859
Page Count: 15
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Breed Recognition in the Social Interactions of Domestic Fowl
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Abstract

The hypothesis that in social interactions between breeds of chickens, behavioral responses are based on breed recognition rather than on individual recognition factors was tested by: (a) paired contests between birds having previous experience with the other breed, (b) formation of small multibreed flocks, and (c) morphological modification of dominant birds of another breed or of strangers belonging to the breed winning paired inter-breed contests. Inter-breed contests pairing winners in previous contests between the breeds typically led to fighting while pairing losers typically resulted in mutual avoidance to a far greater extent than did similar pairings within a breed. The social hierarchy developed in 13 of 15 small (less than ten individuals) multibreed flocks was one of complete dominance of one breed over the other. This tendency also existed, but in lesser degree, in more complex (number of pair relations) flocks of about fifteen birds. Strangers of a dominant breed were accepted as dominant individuals without challenge by individuals of the subordinate breed. Morphological modifications (coloring, dubbing) of the dominant breed penmates did not modify recognition by the subordinate breed birds even though similar modifications led to loss of individual recognition within a breed. Modification of strangers of a breed previously winning paired inter-breed contests led to slight loss of breed recognition on the part of defeated birds of another breed. Behavioral responses based on breed recognition without discrimination of individuals established a situation in which a single brief experience with one member of another breed had a profound influence upon subsequent reactions to other individuals of that breed encountered within the memory span. In small flocks this led to a tendency for members of one breed to react to the other breed as an entity. Strange individuals placed in flocks of another breed were accepted as dominant birds without challenge if members of their breed had previously defeated or dominated members of the flock. /// Um festzustellen, ob die Kücken-Rangordnung sich dadurch erhält, dass man sich persönlich kennt oder vielleicht nur die Rasse des Anderen, untersuchte Verf. a) Begegnungen zwischen Partnern, die die andere Rasse schon kannten, b) bildete er kleine gemischte Gruppen und c) machte er dominante Vögel fremder Rasse oder Fremde der Rasse, die in solchen Begegnungen überlegen waren, durch Färbung auffällig. Begegneten sich zwei Vögel verschiedener Rasse, die zuvor beide den Gegner der anderen Rasse besiegt hatten, so kämpften sie fast immer miteinander; waren es jedoch die beiden Unterlegenen, so gingen sie einander noch häufiger aus dem Wege als Gleichrassige. In 13 von 15 gemischten Gruppen aus höchstens 10 Kücken war am Schluss die eine Rasse der anderen durchweg überlegen. Dasselbe galt, wenn auch nicht so durchweg, in grösseren Gruppen bis zu 15 Vögeln. Fremde einer dominanten Rasse wurden von Angehörigen der schwächeren Rasse kampflos anerkannt. Färbte man einen bekannten Vogel der starken Rasse so, dass seine Rassegenossen ihn nicht mehr persönlich erkannten, so achteten ihn die Gruppengenossen der schwächeren Rasse immer noch. Färbte man Fremde, die vorher einen Rassefremden besiegt hatten, so war der Drohwert seiner Rasse für die Besiegten nur schwach gemindert. Einmalige Erfahrungen mit einem Vertreter der anderen Rasse können sogleich auf die ganze Rasse verallgemeinert werden; vor allem in kleinen Gruppen reagierten alle Rassegleichen auf alle der anderen Rasse übereinstimmend, so auch auf fremde neu hinzugesetzte.

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