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Stimulus Determinants of Sexual and Aggressive Behavior in Male Domestic Fowl

Alan E. Fisher and E. B. Hale
Behaviour
Vol. 10, No. 3/4 (1956 - 1957), pp. 309-323
Published by: Brill
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4532861
Page Count: 15
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Stimulus Determinants of Sexual and Aggressive Behavior in Male Domestic Fowl
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Abstract

Stimulus factors eliciting sexual and aggressive responses in New Hampshire and Barred Plymouth Rock males were analyzed by tests with White Leghorn models and live females of several breeds. Sexual morphology was not a factor in response to the models. Postural position was important. Models in the crouching position did not elicit aggressive responses. Sexual responses were elicited by all models (male, female, crouching, aggressive stance, normal standing position) but the crouched models were most effective. Raised hackles on standing models tended to depress aggressive responses. The cocks were clearly differentiated into model reactors and non-reactors with most cocks failing to react. In general, model reactors were also more responsive to live females than non-reactors with the differences greatest with white females and with other-breed females in a choice situation involving own-breed hens. Group testing was a reliable procedure for distinguishing reactors and non-reactors. Males reared in single-breed flocks were more responsive to own-breed females than to other breeds with the fewest responses to White Leghorn females. The low responsiveness of the cocks to the models was interpreted as reflecting the "White Leghorn" characteristics of the models rather than the absence of "liveness". Six males reared in isolation from other birds waltzed only to female chickens, but were never observed to mount a crouching female. After further experience three of these males mounted and copulated by forced matings with standing females rather than mounting females already crouching. One male "mated" biologically inappropriate stimulus objects and was not observed to copulate with a female. Females reared in isolation crouched to humans but did not respond to the waltzing of cocks. Hackle raising is interpreted as a threat display with both releaser and inhibitory functions and waltzing is tentatively interpreted as a specifically courtship oriented pattern released in the inexperienced male by the female fowl only. /// Durch Darbieten ausgestopfter Weisser Leghorns und lebender Hühner verschiedener Rassen wurde untersucht, welche Reize Geschlechts- und Kampfverhalten bei New Hampshire und Barred Plymouth Rocks auslösten. Die sekundären Geschlechtsmerkmale der Modelle spielten keine Rolle, wohl aber die Haltung. In Kauerstellung montierte Präparate wurden nie angegriffen und am häufigsten getreten; aber auch stehende männliche Modelle in normaler, ja in angriffslustiger Stellung wurden besprungen. Die angehobenen Sichelfedern wirkten etwas abschreckend. Die meisten Hähne beachteten die Modelle nicht; die auf sie Reagierenden sprachen auch auf lebende Weibchen stärker an; am grössten waren die Unterschiede bei weissen Weibchen und wann Hennen der gleichen Rasse und fremdrassige zur Wahl standen. Durch Gruppenvergleiche kann man gut antwortende Hähne von nicht antwortenden leicht unterscheiden. Hähne, die nur mit rassegleichen Weibchen aufgewachsen waren, kümmerten sich weniger um fremde Rassen, am wenigsten um die Weissen Leghorn Hennen. Dass die Hähne auf Modelle so schlecht ansprachen, könnte mehr an ihren Leghornmerkmalen gelegen haben, als an ihrer Unbeweglichkeit. 6 Kaspar Hauser-Hähne balzten nur vor weiblichen Kücken; keinen sah man ein hingekauertes Huhn treten. Als sie erfahrener waren, vergewaltigten drei von ihnen stehende Hennen, obwohl andere sich duckten. Ein Hahn besprang gänzlich untaugliche Dinge. Isoliert aufgewachsene Hennen duckten sich vor Menschen und liessen den tänzelnden Hahn unbeachtet. Das Heben der Sichelfedern wirkt als Drohung; das Tänzeln scheint auch bei unerfahrenen Hähnen nur durch eine Henne auslösbar zu sein.

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