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Influence De La Privation Sociale Et De "L'Autoperception" Sur Le Comportement Sexuel Du Coq Domestique

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image of Behaviour

This study attempts to describe the effects of social experience and to analyse the processes which lead in isolated animals to either normal sexual behaviour towards a specific partner, or to abnormalities in coordination and orientation in this sexual behaviour. io cockerels were maintained in physical and visual isolation until 5 months old and 10 "controls" were each raised in the presence of a female for the same length of time. Behaviour patterns were analysed in choice tests with naturalised models of congeners of varying colour and structure and, in confrontations with living hens. Intergroup comparisons reveal significant differences for most of the behaviour considered in the tests. Intragroup analysis shows that the control animals preferentially choose a sexual partner possessing colouration and, or, a structure similar to those of their home pen congenors. Isolated cockerels choose a partner with certain characters (in particular of colour) analogous to their own. Moreover the first mating attempts by these cockerels are more frequently in reversed position (head to tail). Some ambiguous results arising from tests with models of different structure seem to be due to the limitations of the adopted experimental procedures and from the fact that direct visual self-perception is not the only factor involved. The overall results obtained permit the acceptance of the hypothesis that an isolated cock perceives (self-perception) and becomes attached (self-fixation) to parts of its own body, but remains able to orient and adjust its behaviour towards a partner resembling itself. A more general discussion includes observations on the litterature concerned with deprivation of social experience in other species and contrasts the proposed interpretations.

Affiliations: 1: (Laboratoire d'Ethologie Université de Rennes, Rennes, France


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