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Methodology and analysis of drinking behaviour traits in turkeys

Lookup NU author(s): Julija Rusakovica, Professor Ilias Kyriazakis


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Implications Drinking behaviour analysis can assist in the identification of different behavioural strategies associated with water intake and potentially breeding of birds with favourable drinking behaviour traits. Introduction Drinking visits are episodic behavioural events occurring as separate stopovers to drinkers, which can vary between days. A bout is a number of such drinking visits clustered together. Analysis of bouts can identify common patterns of organisation in time. The latter requires identification of a bout criterion. This is the longest interval of time accepted to be within a bout, and may potentially be used to identify different strategies that birds utilise and the biological mechanisms associated with drinking behaviour. The aim of this study was to develop a methodology for the analysis of drinking behaviour in turkeys from two genetic lines and estimate drinking behaviour characteristics for each line. Material and methods Records of visits to water stations were obtained for two turkey genetic lines (a) line A from 4627 turkeys from 6-9 weeks of age (n = 954,777 events) and (b) line B from 2351 turkeys from 10-13 weeks of age (n = 770,984 events). Birds from line A were from a male line, selected with an emphasis on feed efficiency and breast meat yield, whereas line B represented a female line, with an emphasis on reproductive performance, feed efficiency and growth. Both lines are selected for leg health and fitness traits. An electronic water station system using transponder-based data capture was used to record bird individual drinking behaviour. Video recording experiments were set up to correlate water intake records and bird drinking behaviour. Probability mixture models (PMM) used in feeding behaviour analysis by Howie et al. (2009) were adapted and fitted to the natural log transformed interval length between drinking visits. Results Video observation suggested that some of the visits recorded by the automated system included very short intervals between these visits, which were the result of bird movement inside the water station. During these short intervals of less than 4 seconds, birds did not leave the drinker. Therefore, these visits were joined together into one bout. The best fit PMM was a truncated log normal distribution for within bout intervals and a log normal distribution for between bout intervals (Figure 1). The bout criterion was estimated where the two distributions crossed and resulted in significantly different estimates for the two genetic lines (Table 1). The probability of a bird visiting a drinker in the next five minutes after the last visit showed different starting probabilities for day and night visits for both genetic lines, implying different drinking behaviour organisation during the light and dark periods of the day (Figure 2). Table 1 Mean (± standard error) of turkey drinking behaviour characteristics Genetic line A Genetic line B Bout criterion (s) 665 692 Bouts per day 10.45±0.113 9.92±0.116 Water per bout (ml) 73.26±0.044 76.63±0.058 N of visits per bout 1.11±0.001 1.21±0.001 Bout duration (s) 93.02±0.227 71.67±0.356 Conclusion A method to describe drinking behaviour in turkeys was developed; the method is consistent with the biological principles of satiety. Birds from line A showed less frequent and longer visits to the water station, whereas line B showed more variation in the length of intervals between visits. The definition of these drinking behaviour characteristics, while accounting for differences in the age of the birds, can form the foundation for estimating the genetic basis of drinking behaviour in turkeys. Acknowledgements Authors gratefully acknowledge funding from BBSRC and Aviagen. References Howie, J., Tolkamp, B., Avendaño, S., and Kyriazakis, I. 2009. Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 116, 101-

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rusakovica J, Kremer V, Avendano S, Kyriazakis I

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: British Society of Animal Science Annual Conference - Science with Impact

Year of Conference: 2015

Pages: 151

Print publication date: 01/04/2015

Online publication date: 01/03/2015

ISSN: 2040-4700

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S2040470015000035

Series Title: Advances in Animal Biosciences

Sponsor(s): BSAS