Ethanol intake in the chicken and its effect on body temperature and hypothalamic serotonin

H. Fisher, H. C. Hsu, F. L. Urbano, M. Stanley, L. Averill, E. Kasziba, G. C. Wagner

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Male strain broiler chickens 13 days to 3 weeks old, were offered water or 1, 3, 5, or 10% ethanol solutions (v/v) in four experiments. The chickens tolerated up to 5% ethanol solutions without significant changes in total fluid intake or body weight. With 10% ethanol, body weight and fluid intake were significantly decreased in comparison with the other treatments. Solutions of 5 and 10% ethanol lowered skin and rectal temperature and solutions of 3 and 5% (10% not measured) caused significant elevations in blood ethanol concentrations. Hypothalamic serotonin was significantly reduced by chronic 3% ethanol solution ingestion. In a fifth experiment, 9-week-old White Leghorn cockerels were given from 0-10% alcohol for one h following prior water (24 h) and food (12 h) deprivation. These animals consumed similar amounts of ethanol (in g/kg) irrespective of the concentration of the ethanol solution offered. This, in turn, produced a highly significant inverse linear relationship between fluid intake and ethanol concentration. In this experiment also, skin and rectal temperature were reduced by consumption of 5 and 7.5% ethanol solutions. The results suggest that the chicken may be a useful model for the study of ethanol metabolism since it voluntarily consumes up to 5% ethanol solutions in amounts similar to water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)629-642
Number of pages14
JournalNutrition Research
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • Chickens
  • Ethanol
  • Fluid Intake
  • Hypothermia
  • Serotonin

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