Development of Domestic Fowl Locomotion over Inclined Surfaces and Use of Anticipation Strategies
The aim of this thesis was to determine the safest method for vertical ascent in domestic fowl to prevent injuries and falls. The first objective was to determine locomotor style and climbing capacity (0-70°) in relation to age and the surface substrate (sandpaper or wire grid). The second was to measure modulation of hindlimb (step velocity, foot contact time and variation in center-of-pressure (COP)) and peak ground-reaction-force (GRF) in anticipating ramps (0, 40, 70°). Chicks and adults performed walking to climb 40° inclines and did not differ in the GRFs compared to 0°. They performed wing-assisted incline running or aerial ascent on steeper inclines (70°) and generated higher GRFs with longer foot contact times. Wire grid surfaces improved contact on steep inclines. Age did not have a significant effect upon GRFs relative to body weight, COPx, COPy, and velocity (x and y). Therefore we recommend incline angles of < 40°.