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Anim Behav. 1998 Nov;56(5):1099-1105.

Female mate choice and male behaviour in domestic fowl.

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  • 1Centre for Food and Animal Research, Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa


The purpose of this study was to use paired choice tests to examine mate selection by female domestic chickens, Gallus gallus domesticus. We examined five behavioural and six morphological traits of 34 pairs of males to determine which male features influenced female mate choice. The frequency of a behavioural display known as wingflapping was the only variable that differed significantly between males that were chosen and males that were not. Within trials, females selected males with the highest wingflapping rate. Across trials, the wingflapping rate of chosen males ranged widely (3-82 wingflaps/h) suggesting that females used a relative choice mechanism when selecting a mate. These results differ from earlier work on the closely related red junglefowl, G. g. murghi, in which females use morphological traits and a threshold choice mechanism when selecting mates. Copyright 1998 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.

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