nature versus nurture?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by pipthepeep, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. pipthepeep

    pipthepeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    115
    0
    99
    Aug 19, 2010
    I am just wondering if anyone has any theories about how much of chicken behavior is instinctual and how much is learned socially? Like, if you had a chicken who was orphaned as an egg and grew up with absolutely no other chickens and no pecking order or whatever, are there behaviors it would never learn? or is it all instinctual? Just curious what people think about this!
     
  2. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    It would be easy to test...

    Most birds are fully hard-wired for life. However imprinting is a problem... (oh that's mommy so that's what I am, I need to look for those to be a mate to.) Parents can teach short-cuts, good hunting places for food, or the best way to catch prey (for chicken, bugs)
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,883
    2,531
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Quote:Both. Pecking order innate. Most if not all sounds innate. May not learn predators without exposure to near death situation. Learning from others can help develope proper response to predator such as going to cover or launching into a tree. Eating and avoiding certain ingestible items may be influenced through learning. Moving away from feeders to forage can be learned with some. Roosting locations can be learned from others. Others increases speed of adopting proper behavior. Some instincts may have been lost during process of domestication.
     
  4. pipthepeep

    pipthepeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    115
    0
    99
    Aug 19, 2010
    ok that all makes sense....so...i have a 9 month old rooster who is imprinted on me (no question about this)...i just introduced him to hens for the first time the other day, and he has shown aggression and confusion...but no "normal" roo mating behavior, and still wants to spend all his time with me. Do I interpret this as a case of the imprinting having screwed up his instincts?
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,883
    2,531
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Quote:I just hand raised an American game rooster with siblings for an experiment. He appears to treat me as kin (as in mother) and is submissive to me even at 6 months post-hatch. He did integrate into free ranging flock but still comes for food and interaction time when I call his name (I never thought I could get a chicken to come to its name). He also has begun to cut-wing for ladies but developement of that is slow. Mine will in my opinion be able to sire offspring but he will always be excepting of my close proximity, much more so than bird tamed later in life. Give your bird a little time and increasing day lengths, then he will get it right. Chickens not so prone to being "screwed-up" by improper imprinting as with many wild birds, their hardwiring is good enough to compensate. Problem you may see is that mating behavior may be directed to you as well as hens.
     
  6. pipthepeep

    pipthepeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    115
    0
    99
    Aug 19, 2010
    Thanks, its good to hear from someone with some of the same first hand experience. My roo looked at me like I was crazy when I put the hens in there, like what the heck are these? So far, he has been a great roo...but all of his "talking" (warning noises, crowing when the "flock" is out of sight, purring/ clucking when he finds a goodie in the grass) has always been directed at me...just wanted to know if there is hope for him to redirect towards his own species:) But I also don't want him to get aggressive towards me once he discovers his true place with the ladies, as I have heard roos sometimes do when they are handled a lot in their younger days...
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,883
    2,531
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Quote:I do not know what creates aggressive roosters but early handling maybe a factor with some birds like with bull calves. Genetics can also be a factor as was in one of our game lines. The crowing is likely directed at parties the rooster can not see which is consistent with how far the call carries. The other sounds maybe directed at you and with experience you will find those calls have discrete meanings.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by