Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Embryonic exposure of chicken chicks (Gallus gallus domesticus) leads to heightened sensitivities towards the exposed scent

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Behaviour

In chickens, food consumption can be altered by exposing the chicks to scents as embryos. We exposed eggs to an orange-scented food additive in the final days of incubation. Following hatching, we tested these exposed chicks’ ability to detect this scent at a variety of concentrations. We found that orange-exposed chicks responded to an orange-scented solution at lower concentrations than control chicks. This sensitization may allow chicks to be more effective at locating acceptable food items but requires further testing to determine its significance. Orange-exposed and control chicks were also tested with the scent of raspberry. Orange-exposed chicks responded to the raspberry presentation significantly more than the control chicks did, suggesting that the embryonic exposure to orange may have influenced how the chicks responded towards another fruity smell. This result suggests that chicks may be learning general characteristics of exposed scents while in the egg, though this needs further research.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, St. John Fisher College, 3690 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14618, USA

*Corresponding author’s e-mail address:

Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

1. Aigueperse N., Calandreau L., Bertin A. (2013). "Maternal diet influences offspring feeding behavior and fearfulness in the precocial chicken". — PLoS ONE Vol 8: e77583. [Crossref]
2. Amo L., Jansen J.J., van Dam N.M., Dicke M., Visser M.E. (2013). "Birds exploit herbivore-induced plant volatiles to locate herbivorous prey". — Ecol. Lett. Vol 16: 1348-1355. [Crossref]
3. Ayer-Le Lievre C., Lapointe F., Leibovici M. (1995). "Avian olfactory neurogenesis". — Biol. Cell. Vol 84: 25-34. [Crossref]
4. Bang B.G. (1971). "Functional anatomy of the olfactory system in 23 orders of birds". — Acta Anat. Vol 79(Suppl. 1): 1-76. [Crossref]
5. Bang B.G., Cobb S. (1968). "The size of the olfactory bulb in 108 species of birds". — Auk Vol 85: 55-61. [Crossref]
6. Bertin A., Calandreau L., Arnould C., Levy F. (2012). "The developmental stage of chicken embryos modulates the impact of in ovo olfactory stimulation on food preferences". — Chem. Senses. Vol 37: 253-261. [Crossref]
7. Bertin A., Calandreau L., Arnould C., Nowak R., Levy F., Noirot V., Bouvarel I., Leterrier C. (2010). "In ovo olfactory experience influences post-hatch feeding behaviour in young chickens: prehatch olfaction and feeding". — Ethology Vol 116: 1027-1037. [Crossref]
8. Board R.G. (1982). "Properties of avian egg shells and their adaptive value". — Biol. Rev. Vol 57: 1-28. [Crossref]
9. Bonadonna F., Caro S., Jouventin P., Nevitt G.A. (2006). "Evidence that blue petrel, Halobaena caerulea, fledglings can detect and orient to dimethyl sulfide". — J. Exp. Biol. Vol 209: 2165-2169. [Crossref]
10. Caspers B.A., Hagelin J., Bock S., Krause E.T. (2015). "An easy method to test odour recognition in songbird hatchlings". — Ethology Vol 121: 882-887. [Crossref]
11. Caspers B.A., Hagelin J.C., Paul M., Bock S., Willeke S., Krause E.T. (2017). "Zebra Finch chicks recognise parental scent, and retain chemosensory knowledge of their genetic mother, even after egg cross-fostering". — Sci. Rep. Vol 7: 12859. [Crossref]
12. Coureaud G., Hamdani Y., Schaal B., Thomas-Danguin T. (2009). "Elemental and configural processing of odour mixtures in the newborn rabbit". — J. Exp. Biol. Vol 212: 2525-2531. [Crossref]
13. Coureaud G., Thomas-Danguin T., Le Berre E., Schaal B. (2008). "Perception of odor blending mixtures in the newborn rabbit". — Physiol. Behav. Vol 95: 194-199. [Crossref]
14. Culik B. (2001). "Finding food in the open ocean: foraging strategies in Humboldt penguins". — Zoology Vol 104: 327-338. [Crossref]
15. Cunningham G.B., Bonadonna F. (2015). "King penguins can detect two odours associated with conspecifics". — J. Exp. Biol. Vol 218: 3374-3376. [Crossref]
16. Cunningham G.B., Strauss V., Ryan P.G. (2008). "African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) can detect dimethyl sulphide, a prey-related odour". — J. Exp. Biol. Vol 211: 3123-3127. [Crossref]
17. Cunningham G.B., Van Buskirk R.W., Bonadonna F., Weimerskirch H., Nevitt G.A. (2003). "A comparison of the olfactory abilities of three species of procellariiform chicks". — J. Exp. Biol. Vol 206: 1615-1620. [Crossref]
18. Drapkin P.T., Silverman J. (1999). "Development of the chick olfactory nerve". — Dev. Dyn. Vol 214: 349-360. [Crossref]
19. Fluck E., Hogg S., Mabbut P.S., File S.E. (1996). "Behavioural and neurochemical responses of male and female chicks to cat odour". — Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. Vol 54: 85-91. [Crossref]
20. Gomez G., Celii A. (2008). "The peripheral olfactory system of the domestic chicken: physiology and development". — Brain Res. Bull. Vol 76: 208-216. [Crossref]
21. Graves G.R. (1992). "Greater yellow-headed vulture (Cathartes melambrotus) locates food by olfaction". — J. Raptor Res. Vol 26: 38-39.
22. Grubb T.C. (1972). "Smell and foraging in shearwaters and petrels". — Nature. Vol 237: 404-405. [Crossref]
23. Hagelin J.C. (2007). "Odors and chemical signaling". — In: Reproductive behavior and phylogeny of aves, Vol. 6B ( Jamieson B.G.M., ed.). Science Publishers, Enfield, NH, p.  76-119.
24. Hagelin J.C., Simonet J.C., Lyson T.R. (2013). "Embryonic domestic chickens can detect compounds in an avian chemosignal before breathing air". — In: Chemical signals in vertebrates 12 ( East M.L., Dehnhard M., eds). Springer, New York, NY, p.  363-377. [Crossref]
25. Hutchison L.V., Wenzel B.M. (1980). "Olfactory guidance in foraging by procellariformes". — Condor Vol 82: 314-319. [Crossref]
26. Jones R.B. (1987). "Food neophobia and olfaction in domestic chicks". — Bird Behav. Vol 7: 78-81. [Crossref]
27. Jones R.B., Carmichael N.L. (1999). "Domestic chicks are attracted to a familiar odorant in a novel test situation: a brief report". — Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci. Vol 61: 351-356. [Crossref]
28. Jones R.B., Facchin L., McCorquodale C. (2002). "Social dispersal by domestic chicks in a novel environment: reassuring properties of a familiar odourant". — Anim. Behav. Vol 63: 659-666. [Crossref]
29. Jones R.B., Gentle M.J. (1985). "Olfaction and behavioral modification in domestic chicks (Gallus domesticus)". — Physiol. Behav. Vol 34: 917-924. [Crossref]
30. Jones R.B., Roper T.J. (1997). "Olfaction in the domestic fowl: a critical review". — Physiol. Behav. Vol 62: 1009-1018. [Crossref]
31. Krause E.T., Schrader L., Caspers B.A. (2016). "Olfaction in chicken (Gallus gallus): a neglected mode of social communication?" — FEVO Vol 4: 94.
32. Lalloue F.L., Ayer Le-Lievre C., Sicard G. (2003). "Analysis of the functional maturation of olfactory neurons in chicks before and after birth". — Chem. Senses. Vol 28: 729-737. [Crossref]
33. Liu A., Savya S., Urban N.N. (2016). "Early odorant exposure increases the number of mitral and tufted cells associated with a single glomerulus". — J. Neurosci. Vol 36: 11646-11653. [Crossref]
34. McKeegan D.E.F., Demmers T.G., Wathes C., Jones R.B., Gentle M.J. (2002). "Stimulus-response functions of single avian olfactory bulb neurones". — Brain Res. Vol 953: 101-111. [Crossref]
35. McKeegan D.E.F., Lippens N. (2003). "Adaptation responses of single avian olfactory bulb neurones". — Neurosci. Lett. Vol 344: 83-86. [Crossref]
36. Mennerat A. (2008). "Blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) respond to an experimental change in the aromatic plant odour composition of their nest". — Behav. Processes. Vol 79: 189-191. [Crossref]
37. O’Neill G., Musto C., Gomez G. (2016). "Chronic odorant exposure upregulates acquisition of functional properties in cultured embryonic chick olfactory sensory neurons: odors modulate olfactory neuron differentiation". — J. Neurosci. Res. Vol 95: 1216-1224. [Crossref]
38. Owre O.T., Northington P.O. (1961). "Indication of the sense of smell in the Turkey vulture, Cathartes aura (Linnaeus), from feeding tests". — Am. Midl. Nat. Vol 66: 200-205. [Crossref]
39. Porter R.H., Hepper P.G., Bouchot C., Picard M. (1999). "A simple method for testing odor detection and discrimination in chicks". — Physiol. Behav. Vol 67: 459-462. [Crossref]
40. Porter R.H., Picard M., Arnould C., Tallet C. (2002). "Chemosensory deficits are associated with reduced weight gain in newly hatched chicks". — Anim. Res. Vol 51: 337-345. [Crossref]
41. Sneddon H., Hadden R., Hepper P.G. (1998). "Chemosensory learning in the chicken embryo". — Physiol. Behav. Vol 64: 133-139. [Crossref]
42. Todrank J., Heth G., Restrepo D. (2010). "Effects of in utero odorant exposure on neuroanatomical development of the olfactory bulb and odour preferences". — Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B: Biol. Sci. Vol 278: 1949-1955. [Crossref]
43. Turro I., Porter R.H., Picard M. (1994). "Olfactory cues mediate food selection by young chicks". — Physiol. Behav. Vol 55: 761-767. [Crossref]
44. Voznessenskaya V.V., Parfyonova V.M., Wysocki C.J. (1994). "Induced olfactory sensitivity in rodents: a general phenomenon". — Adv. Biosci. Vol 93: 399-406.
45. Yee K.K., Wysocki C.J. (2001). "Odorant exposure increases olfactory sensitivity: olfactory epithelium is implicated". — Physiol. Behav. Vol 72: 705-711. [Crossref]

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Behaviour — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation