Chickens selected for feather pecking can inhibit prepotent motor responses in a Go/No-Go task
Repetitive feather pecking (FP) where birds peck and pull out feathers of conspecifics could reflect motor impulsivity through a lack of behavioural inhibition. We assessed motor impulsivity in female chickens (n = 20) during a Go/No-Go task where birds had to peck (Go) or inhibit pecks (No-Go) appropriately to obtain a food reward, depending on visual cues in an operant chamber. Birds were selected to show divergent FP performance based on their genotype (high predisposition for FP or unselected control line) and phenotype (peckers or non-peckers). Genotype, phenotype, and its interaction did not affect the number of pre-cue responses, percentage of responses during No-Go cues (false alarms), or efficiency (number of rewards over number of responses). We present the first documentation of a Go/No-Go task to measure the ability of birds genetically and phenotypically selected for FP activity to inhibit a prepotent motor response. Results indicate that the repetitive motor action of FP does not reflect impulsivity and is not genetically linked to a lack of behavioural inhibition as measured in a Go/No-Go task.