Do hens have friends? It seems not

Do hens have friends? It seems not!

(Phys.org)—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.

The research published by Applied Science on 15th January 2013, was carried out to discover if the welfare of chickens could be improved by taking advantage of 'friendships'.

Dr Siobhan Abeyesinghe, from the Royal Veterinary College, said: "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. This is not so odd a question you might think: in humans and other species, friendships have been shown to enrich life positively, buffer against and even improve .

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. 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 of domesticated hens affect their formation of specific in later life.


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More information: Abeyesinghe, S. et al. Do Hens Have Friends? Applied Animal Behaviour Science (2013). dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2012.12.003
Citation: Do hens have friends? It seems not (2013, January 18) retrieved 22 September 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-01-hens-friends.html
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Jan 19, 2013
I'd think anyone who has owned chickens will not be surprised at this finding... I've seen them peck one another half to death and their eggs.

Jan 22, 2013
This is research imbecile at so many levels with conclusions turned on its head. Just because the hens are stressed with battery farming, they do suffer with submarine syndrome - so they're losing social relations and hierarchies, which are quite apparent in the small groups (which hens do form naturally). Whole this research is apparently motivated with support of large-scale battery farming.

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