Nociception in Chicken Embryos, Part III: Analysis of Movements before and after Application of a Noxious Stimulus

Stephanie C. Süß, Julia Werner, Anna M. Saller, Larissa Weiss, Judith Reiser, Janie M. Ondracek, Yury Zablotski, Sandra Kollmansperger, Malte Anders, Heidrun Potschka, Benjamin Schusser, Thomas Fenzl, Christine Baumgartner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Many potentially noxious interventions are performed on chicken embryos in research and in the poultry industry. It is therefore essential and in the interest of animal welfare to be able to precisely define the point at which a chicken embryo is capable of nociception in ovo. The present part III of a comprehensive study examined the movements of developing chicken embryos with the aim of identifying behavioral responses to a noxious stimulus. For this purpose, a noxious mechanical stimulus and a control stimulus were applied in a randomized order. The recorded movements of the embryos were evaluated using the markerless pose estimation software DeepLabCut and manual observations. After the application of the mechanical stimulus, a significant increase in beak movement was identified in 15- to 18-day-old embryos. In younger embryos, no behavioral changes related to the noxious stimulus were observed. The presented results indicate that noxious mechanical stimuli at the beak base evoke a nocifensive reaction in chicken embryos starting at embryonic day 15.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2859
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • Gallus gallus domesticus
  • behavior
  • chicken embryo
  • development
  • movement
  • nociception
  • pain


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