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Research discovers hens don’t form friendships

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A Royal Veterinary College study has found that hens reared in commercial conditions do not form friendships and are not particular about who they spend time with.
Research discovers hens don’t form friendships

The research published by Applied Animal Behaviour Science and funded by BBSRC, was carried out to discover if the welfare of chickens could be improved by taking advantage of 'friendships'.

"We investigated the possibility that domesticated egg-laying hens form distinct 'friendships' by examining whether or not individual chickens were particular about who they spent most time with,”said Dr Siobhan Abeyesinghe, from the Royal Veterinary College. “This is not so odd a question as you might think: in humans and other species, friendships have been shown to enrich life positively, buffer against stressful experiences and even improve reproductive success."

The movements of eight identical groups of 15 laying hens were monitored over eight weeks, examining whether pairs of birds were found together more often then expected by chance when they were active and when roosting at night.
"We found no evidence to suggest that modern hens reared in commercial conditions form such friendships, even when they are housed in small groups where it is possible to know every other bird," said Abeyesinghe. "This suggests that, at present, fostering of friendships cannot be used as a way to improve the welfare of chicken."

More research is now required to determine whether this apparent lack of 'BFFs' is true of the chicken's ancestor, the Red Junglefowl, or whether the early social experiences of domesticated hens affect their formation of specific friendships in later life.

by World Poultry

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6 comments

  • # 1

    Big John Wayne

    Maybe you did not study them for a long enough period. Check this out Chicken Heaven On Earth 5 year study results reveal that hens do cultivate very distinct relationships with one another. http://chickenheavenonearth.weebly.com/hens-do-form-friendships-with-other-hens-study-results.html
  • # 2

    em

    Chickens do too form friendships with each other and bond with humans. If you coop them up and stuff them full of weird things of course they won't be happy or healthy.
  • # 3

    Cath

    This article is bunk. Yes, chickens do make bonds under battery cage, under breeding cage, under pasture, broiler houses, coops, backyards, ET... These researchers obviously have no idea what they were looking for and do not understand the pecking order and chicken behavior. These people had funding too.
  • # 4

    JIMDEM

    The Red Jungle Fowl is not the only source of the modern chicken nor is it the apex, the Gallus Malay has an equal or longer recognized history. The red jungle fowl was the first named therefore the title GALLUS GALLUS, one of the many gallus of the world. ….jimdem
  • # 5

    B.L.

    Chickes absolutely do NOT form any sort of friendships or bonds except as a pecking order (flock hierarchy). Chickens do not bond except as a flock instinct for self protection. This is based on 40+ years of personal observation not the globalist funded pseudo- science being pushed in support of the UN Agenda 21 effort to move nature, animals, fish and fowl above human lives.
  • # 6

    SHRI

    Absolutely baseless study. They can not but bond wherever for that is the instinct

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