potential science fair experiment using chickens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by centrarchid, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I have been watching a broody hen forage with her chicks on pretty much a daily basis. They find, capture and consume a wide range of food items. Smaller chicks eat critters almost exclusively if not consuming starter feed applied in morning and evening. The sequence of find, capture and consume is significant in that more is found than consumed and capture is in between in respect to item number. Largest items consumed might be a fledgling bunting, mouse, lizard or small snake but these are not encountered on a regular basis. Froglets are found frequently and as season progresses larger insects, especially grasshoppers are noteworthy. The hen invest considerable effort chasing larger grasshoppers, sometimes more than a 100 feet. Chicks still not capable of catching such grasshoppers if insect warm and healthy. Chicks capture smaller and slower insects on their own. What is obvious is that not all insects I can see as birds forage are engaged by hen or chicks. Either they fail to see such organisms or they pass over them intentionally. Insects coming of milkweed plants seem to be ignored. Most butterflies and some bugs also ignored.

    I suspect there may be a pattern in respect to what insects are consumed or ignored. It would make for a very interesting and potentially easy to conduct experiment suitable for a science fair project.
     
  2. southerndesert

    southerndesert B & M Chicken Ranch

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    Sounds interesting and you are correct as there can be a direct link between the plant and insect that causes birds to ignore the insect. Milkweed is not good for chickens and this ability to ward off or poison pests is passed on the the insects that feed on it ie: Monarch Butterfly caterpillar....

    There are many such relationships in nature.
     
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Coloration and size would be among first characteristics to consider.
     
  4. saddina

    saddina Internally Deranged

    May 2, 2009
    Desert, CA
    Many schools do not allow any experaments or project with live animals, so you;d want to have it appoved first.
     
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:Animal care protocols easy when plenty of lead time allowed for animal welfare committee to process. I do it frequently with kids working with fishes. Experimment of this sort involves minimal stress to the bird. When vertebrates used, trials are often conducted under our university supervision to meet some of the more rigerous requirements of high school.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2011
  6. babigyrl22

    babigyrl22 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2011
    Caledonia
    This sounds like an interesting experiment. I'd be interested in your findings.
     
  7. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:I have too many experiments going already. Hoping to get others involved. They could pool their results and being able state with a high level of confidence what characteristics an insect has that influences whether a chicken looks upon it as good eats. Such an effort would be awsome experience for science fair students interested in behavior. Would be much easier than studying human behavior that so many students choose too investigate.
     

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