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Animal Welfare Research Group

Department of Production Animal Clinical Sciences, Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Behaviour, emotional expressions, stress and measures of brain function in relation to positive emotions in laying hens (HappyHens 2007-2012)

In this project, the main objective was to develop a method based on anticipatory behaviour induced by classical conditioning to assess expressions of positive emotions in laying hens. In order to achieve this, the objectives of the project as listed in the project proposal were:

  • To develop a model to identify conditions that create positive emotional states in laying hens by analysing the profile and quantitative aspects of anticipatory behaviour, and identifying potential emotional expressions during anticipation of positive rewards.
  • To evaluate effects of positive or negative emotional states on physiological indicators of stress and emotions.
  • To use antagonists of the opioid and dopaminergic system to test the involvement of brain reward circuits in association with anticipation of positive rewards.
  • To investigate effects of reward incentive value and their physiological state on expression of anticipatory behaviours in hens
  • To describe effects of domestication on the expression of cue-induced anticipatory behavior in fowl.

Local researchers
Randi O. Moe (PI)
Janicke Nordgreen 
Andrew M. Janczak