Stress effects on development and Animal Welfare of livestock
Development of young is strongly impacted by stressful conditions perceived during their first ontogenetic stages. We investigate the effects of stress on behavioural development (emotional reactivity, social motivation, cognitive abilities, and reproduction behaviour).
In order to improve animal welfare, we evaluate ethological strategies used to alleviate negative effects of stress by manipulating the environment (enrichment, or controllability of the environment…).
Conservation of wildlife
We have been involved in studies related to conservation of wildlife for a long time, focusing in particular on wild quail. European quail is a French game bird threatened by introgression by Japanese quail, an Asian subspecies whose domestic form is produced in France. Decline of wild European quail populations motivated the emergence of illegal releases of domestic Japanese quail in France during autumn before the hunting season opens. We evidenced for the first time that these two sub-species hybridize under natural conditions in France. We continue to characterise the behaviour of these two quail subspecies and their hybrids to understand how to protect the European quail.
- A moderate chronic stress procedure impacts negatively quail's behaviour related to their welfare. These effects can be attenuated by environmental changes in their home cages, allowing quail to control their environment.
- Crows of hybrids between European and Japanese quail were recorded in Southern France during the spring, confirming natural hybridization during the reproduction season