Performance of large groups of chicks using operant ...

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Title Performance of large groups of chicks using operant conditioning to control the thermal environment
Author(s) W. D. Morrison, Lius A. Bate, E. Amyot, I. McMillan
Journal Poultry Science
Date 1987
Volume 66
Issue 11
Start page 1758
End page 1761
Abstract In 4 trials, 408, 320, 160 and 400 one-day-old [male] chicks were housed on litter in pens measuring 1.8 x 2.4 m. Eight pens were used for each trial. For the first 6 days, temp. was maintained at 28 degrees C and on day 7 reduced to 16 degrees . Four pens were equipped with microswitches; the remaining 4 pens were each continuously heated by 2 infrared lamps. When chicks pressed the microswitch, infrared lamps were turned on for 1 min during the learning phase (operant conditioning) (day 7) and for 4 min during the experiments (from day 8). Trials 1 and 2 were concluded at 28 days, and trials 3 and 4 at 21 days. No significant differences in body weight gain, feed conversion efficiency, body composition and mortality rate were found between operant-conditioned chicks and those continuously supplied with heat. Chicks provided with continuous heat were exposed to 3 times as much supplementary heat as operant-conditioned chicks..

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