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© 2016 Wood-Gush's seminal work on the social behaviour and welfare of fowl populations laid the foundations of a sociobiology approach to understand the evolutionary nature of social interactions and their applied significance for domestic animals. Within this context, maintaining high fertility and welfare standards pose key challenges. Reviewing recent advances in the study of sexual behaviour in the fowl, I discuss how the fertility and welfare of domestic populations are inter-related and how both can be improved by resolving the forces that drove the evolution of complex sexual behaviour before domestication. I argue that this resolution hinges on three fundamental tools of sociobiology: sexual selection, sexual conflict and inclusive fitness.

Original publication




Journal article


Applied Animal Behaviour Science

Publication Date





12 - 18