In a non-invasive experiment, analyzers at the University of Bristol’s Animal Welfare and behavior research cluster within the College of Veterinary Sciences found that domesticated hens show a transparent physiological and behavioral response once their chicks square measure gently distressed.
During a controlled procedure, once their chicks were exposed to a puff of air, the hens’ pulse exaggerated and eye temperature shriveled. The hens conjointly modified their behavior and reacted with increased alertness, decreased preening and increased vocalizations directed to their chicks.
Some of these responses have antecedently been used as indicators of Associate in Nursing emotional response in animals. In domesticated chickens, time spent standing alert is related to higher levels of worry. Previous analysis has shown that hens conjointly by selection avoid surroundings related to high levels of standing and low levels of preening.
Researcher Jo King of England said: “The extent to that animal’s square measure plagued by the distress of others is of high connection to the welfare of farm and laboratory animals. Our analysis has addressed the elemental question of whether or not birds have the capability to indicate sympathetic responses. We found that adult female birds possess at least one of the essential underpinning attributes of ‘empathy’; the ability to be affected by, and share, the emotional state of another.”
The researchers selected to use chickens within the experiment as a result of, under commercial conditions, chickens will regularly encounter other chickens showing signs of pain or distress due to routine husbandry practices or thanks to the high levels of conditions like bone fractures or leg disorders.
Findings like this have clear implications for the ways in which we have a tendency to present farm and kill the animals that some individuals favor eating.