Feeding and pecking behaviour in ostrich (Struthio camelus) chicks in captivity

  • Paxton C
  • Bubier N
  • Deeming D
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1. Three sets of experiments were performed on two batches of ostrich chicks to investigate the factors affecting the pecking and feeding behaviour of grouped individuals. 2. Chicks showed no significant alteration of their feeding behaviour in response to raising pen walls in the rearing facility from 30 to 60 cm. 3. Further analysis on a different set of birds revealed consistent short term individual differences in the frequency of feeding and non-feeding pecks. 4. There were significant pen effects on behaviour suggesting the possible development of a pen 'culture' of pecking behaviour. 5. Pecking behaviours in 26 to 33 d-old chicks, with the exception of drinking, were generally negatively correlated, so any non-food pecking by a chick was generally associated with fewer pecks targeted at food. 6. By the age of two months chicks were pecking at food on the floor to a far greater extent than at any food presented in food trays.

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