Prenatal Sensory Experience Affects Hatching Behavior in Domestic Chicks (Gallus Gallus) and Japanese Quail Chicks (Coturnix Coturnix Japonica)

M. J. Sleigh, Winthrop University
Michael B. Casey, The College of Wooster


Species-typical developmental outcomes result from organismic and environmental constraints and experiences shared by members of a species. We examined the effects of enhanced prenatal sensory experience on hatching behaviors by exposing domestic chicks (n=95) and Japanese quail (n=125) to one of four prenatal conditions: enhanced visual stimulation, enhanced auditory stimulation, enhanced auditory and visual stimulation, or no enhanced sensory experience (control condition). In general, across species, control embryos had slower hatching behaviors than all other embryos. Embryos in the auditory condition had faster hatching behaviors than embryos in the visual and control conditions. Auditory-visual condition embryos showed similarities to embryos exposed to either auditory or visual stimulation. These results suggest that prenatal sensory experience can influence hatching behavior of precocial birds, with the type of stimulation being a critical variable. These results also provide further evidence that species-typical outcomes are the result of species-typical prenatal experiences. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.