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Stimulus Intensity and Acoustical Communication in Young Domestic Chicks

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The effects of maternal clucks on the frequency of high intensity peeps and approach responses given by young domestic chicks was examined in the laboratory. Clucks increased the frequency of approach responses and decreased the frequency of peeps relative to silent control periods. Both response measures decreased as cluck intensity increased, and both responses increased with time over a 20-min test period. The results suggest that peep inhibition and approach tendencies are graded both temporally and according to the intensity of the signal received by the chick from the parent. This system appears to be well suited to the maintenance of family unity through the combined actions of a strong parent-young acoustical communication link and approach response tendencies.

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Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada


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