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THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND ANIMAL ETHICS COMMITTEE (AEC)
STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURES FORM
(For Domestic Fowl, Native Fauna/Wildlife, Domestic Livestock & Laboratory Animals)
Title of Procedure:
Imprinting of Domestic Chickens (F1)
Objective:
To assess the capacity for learning and stable memory function in recently hatched
chicks.
Details of Procedures:
Chicks of 5-10 days of age are individually exposed to a stimulus, known to elicit
imprinting behaviour (e.g. model of a hen), for a period of 2 hours.
Following exposure the success of the imprinting procedure is determined by placing
each chick in a runway or other arena for 5 minutes. The chick is located midway
between the stimulus to which the chick was exposed in training and a novel stimulus.
Imprinting is measured by the direction which the chick chooses to move and the time
spent near each stimulus.
The test procedure may be performed immediately after imprinting, or hours or days
after the initial exposure.
Drug, Chemicals or Biological Agents:
Nil.
Care of Animals after the Procedure:
Chicks should be returned to their original group or individual cages and cared for as
usual, particular attention being paid to the provision of food, water and warmth
Qualifications, Experience, Skills or Training Necessary to Perform this
Procedure:
All operators should be familiar with the behaviour of young chicks and domestic
chickens, as well as handling methods relevant to the species. In addition, operators
should be familiar with the technical aspects involved in using the equipment needed
for behavioural testing.
Effects of Procedure on Wellbeing of Animals:
Should be nil.
Pain Relief Measures:
Not applicable.
References:
Nil
Prepared by:
Ruth Tremont (UNE Director of Animal Welfare), Mr Carl Parsons and
Professor Lesley Rogers (Department of Physiology), 1992/3.
Reviewed by: Professor Lesley Rogers (Centre for Neuroscience & Animal Behaviour),
2006.