The effects of embryonic norepinephrine on Japanese quail behavior and neurophysiology
Mengers, Jasmine Nisha Parikh
Dennis, Rachel L
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Stress in poultry breeding flocks results in elevated in ovo monoamines affecting behavior and physiology. We injected Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) eggs with 10 μl of 0.05M (n = 111) or 0.01M (n = 113) concentrations of norepinephrine (NE) or saline (n = 112) at ED1 and incubated with intact controls (n = 78) to observe the influences of elevated embryonic NE on behavior and productivity. We tested developmental memory, tonic immobility, open field isolation behaviors, home cage aggression, and novel conspecific responses. We also measured body weights, egg lay and survival-related behaviors before and after rehoming at sexual maturity. Results indicated dose and age differences between treatments. Norepinephrine birds exhibited variations in stress-coping strategies, decreased productivity, increased consumption frequencies, decreased activity levels, and changes in survival-related behaviors following rehoming. Our data suggest that elevated embryonic NE plays a role in behavioral programming with impacts on poultry well-being.