This video shows how I trained chicks to peck at camouflaged “moths” on a digital display. On day 1 this is the first time the chicks have encountered the display (and most things in life – they’re only 3 days old). I associate the moths with a reward against a grey background. Next I reward any pecking or scratching behaviour directed towards the moths, and slowly make the moths more camouflaged by increasing the background intensity. The chicks also switch from having the meal-worm rewards thrown onto the moth’s location to using the hopper, so no human cues could influence their behaviour. Finally the chicks (by about day 6-7) can search out and peck at the moths on a full difficulty background as soon as they’re placed in the arena.
The moving horizontal lines are an artefact of the display and progressive video recording – they’re not visible to me or the chicks.