Vocalisations in Australian poultry

Recent research conducted by Dr Peta Taylor, investigated how mother hen vocalisations can influence the behaviour of chickens throughout their life. Mother hens have been known to communicate to their chicks by making different noises, such as the “roosting call”, “feed call” and the “cluck call”.

While mother hens cannot be introduced into meat chicken sheds, playing pre-recorded maternal calls is a practical and relatively inexpensive tool to improve welfare in meat chickens. This project investigated playing the roosting call through speakers placed in commercial sheds at different locations to see if there was any impact on productivity and behaviour.

While playing maternal calls in this study did not show any improved performance, there was evidence to suggest that playing maternal calls to meat chickens positively influences social behaviours and reduced stress responses. Meat chickens exposed to the vocalisations exhibited brain and behaviour changes, including fewer distress calls and lower physiological stress responses to a challenge and were more inquisitive than those that were not exposed to the sounds.

For more information

Project details:

Project No.: PRJ-012188 Using vocalisations to modify chicken behaviour
Research organisation: University of New England