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RED JUNGLE FOWL HAVE MORE CONTRAFREELOADING THAN WHITE LEGHORN LAYERS: EFFECT OF FOOD DEPRIVATION AND CONSEQUENCES FOR INFORMATION GAIN

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Contrafreeloading (CFL), i.e. choosing food which requires work over free food, occurs at a higher rate in red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus) compared to White Leghorn layers. We examined whether this difference between breeds was altered by food deprivation and whether it affected the information gained about alternative food sources. In a first experiment, twenty birds of each breed were deprived for zero, three and six hours and then allowed a choice of feeding from freely available food or food mixed with wood shavings. In both breeds, CFL tended to decrease after deprivation, but jungle fowl consistently showed more CFL than Leghorns also after food deprivation. This shows that differences in CFL between breeds were not altered by food deprivation, and the larger CFL in jungle fowl may represent a genetically based difference in feeding strategy.

In a second experiment, we examined whether the differences in CFL affected how the birds acquired information about alternative food sites of different quality. Twenty birds of each breed were allowed to forage during three 10 min sessions in a four armed maze, where symbols in each end of the arms indicated the location of four different quality food sources; 'high gain' (freely available food), 'medium gain' (70% food, 30% wood shavings), 'low gain' (30% food), and 'no gain' (100% wood shavings). Each bird was then tested in the same maze when the 'high gain' food source and its symbol had been removed, and the other three sources contained only the symbols and wood shavings. Jungle fowl chose the symbol indicating the best available food source significantly more often than the Leghorns. The results indicate that Leghorn gain less information during foraging, which may have consequences for their adaptation capacity in a production environment. This could either be a consequence of Leghorns showing less CFL, or a generally impaired learning capacity of Leghorns compared to jungle fowl.

10.1163/15685390260437335
/content/journals/10.1163/15685390260437335
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/content/journals/10.1163/15685390260437335
2002-09-01
2016-12-04

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