Maternal care in birds generally includes incubation, brooding and rearing behavior. The neuroendocrine regulation of such maternal behavior is not fully understood for many bird species. The aim of this study was to elucidate whether changes in the circulating levels of ovarian steroids might be associated with brooding behavior in the female native Thai chicken. Changes in the levels of ovarian steroids of rearing hens were compared with those of non-rearing ones. Plasma estradiol, progesterone, and testosterone levels were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. The results revealed differences in circulating levels of ovarian steroids between hens rearing their chicks and those deprived of their young after hatching. The non-rearing hens had higher circulating estradiol, progesteron, and tertosterone levels than those of the rearing hens. These differences were significant during the first two weeks after hatching. The results of the present study demonstrate the inhibitory effect of brooding behavior on ovarian steroids in the native Thai chickens. Indeed, disruption of brooding behavior by removing the chicks from the hens increased circulating levels of ovarian steroids and reinitiated reproductive and egg laying activities.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2016.
- Maternal care
- Native Thai chicken
- Rearing behavior
- Steroid hormone