Table of Contents
Animals, Volume 8, Issue 2 (February 2018)
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Cover Story (view full-size image) Electronic tracking of free-range laying hens reveals that some hens never venture outside. Fear [...] Read more. Electronic tracking of free-range laying hens reveals that some hens never venture outside. Fear may play a role but there is still much to be understood about why birds in the same flock vary so dramatically. In an article published in this journal, researchers tested birds that varied in their outdoor range use in a spatial cognition test where hens learned to locate a food reward within a T-maze. The researchers also looked at whether early enrichment could improve learning in the T-maze. ‘Birds that never used the outdoor area were slower to learn to find the food reward’ says Dr Dana Campbell from the CSIRO. ‘Learning rate in the T-maze also predicted some aspects of range use in young birds’. Enriching the chicks’ environment improved learning but tested age played a strong role. These results further the understanding of factors that may influence range use in a free-range system. View this paper