Chirping on the Great Lawn

Dr. Bailey’s Animal Behavior Class Brings Joy to Campus with Baby Chicks!

Guest Post by Carley Kukk ’19

Last week in my Animal Behavior class, we set out to imprint newly-born chicks. The chicks spent 2 nights with each student whether that be in our dorms or houses. Since chicks are attracted to movement and the color red, we tied a red bandana around our ankles once the chicks were adjusted to the sound of our voices. I tried to spend as much time as I could with my chick, Carter, so I held him while doing homework or in any possible moment.

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Chicks can imprint on something else after 4 hours, so it is crucial during the initial 32 hours to spend time working with them. I set up an obstacle course around my dorm room and had him jump over pillows and pens while following me. The harder the obstacle course, the stronger imprint because the chick will be focusing on you more. It was hard not to accidentally step on him! You would be surprised how fast their tiny legs can move.

At the end of the two days, Dr. Bailey held a class-wide relay race to determine the chick with the strongest imprint. My chick may have won with a time of 11 seconds… (humble brag).

Ultimately over the course of the 2 days, I was able to learn first hand about filial imprinting. I even made a new friend… 🙂 

Author: pascienceblog

Administrative Assistant, Division of Natural Sciences

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