Early behavioural enrichment in the form of handling renders mouse pups unresponsive to anxiolytic drugs and increases NGF levels in the hippocampus

Early life experiences, such as early handling, can influence neural development of rodents leading to changes in physiological and behavioural reactivity to stress. These effects are likely to be mediated by changes in maternal behaviour. This study analyzed the effects of different manipulations of the rearing environment on maternal behaviour and the behavioural and physiological […]

Breed differences in the expression of maternal care at parturition persist throughout the lactation period in sheep

Maternal care plays an important role in the survival of offspring in mammals. In the ewe initial maternal care is expressed by nurturing the young and formation of an exclusive olfactory bond with the lamb. After the neonatal period, maternal care is associated with co-operation with sucking interactions, maintenance of a close ewe-lamb relationship, communication […]

Predation threat exerts specific effects on rat maternal behaviour and anxiety-related behaviour of male and female offspring

Differences in the rate of maternal behaviours received by rodent offspring are associated with differential programming of molecular and behavioural components of anxiety and stress-related functions. To determine the degree to which maternal behaviours are sensitive to environmental conditions, Long–Evans rat dams were exposed to the odour of a predator (cat) at two different time […]

Ewes are more attentive to their offspring experiencing pain but not stress

The goal of this experiment was to detect if maternal care by ewes could be effective in mitigating psychological or physiological stress or pain in their offspring. We hypothesised that ewes are able to recognise when their offspring undergo an adverse experience and will adapt their maternal behaviour to buffer the effect of such events. […]

Prepartum plasma estradiol and postpartum cortisol, but not oxytocin, are associated with interindividual and breed differences in the expression of maternal behaviour in sheep

Consistent, individual differences in the expression of maternal behaviour have been described in several species including the sheep. The neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying the onset of maternal behaviour in the sheep have been described, although the relationship between hormonal events and individual differences in behaviour has yet to be determined. In this study, we examined whether […]

Successful mother- and group-rearing of a newborn capuchin monkey (Cebus Capucinus) following emergency major surgery

During capture, in order to separate him from a possessive adult female and return him to his mother, a newborn male in a laboratory group of Cebus Capucinus monkeys was found to have a seriously infected compound fracture of the humerus associated with a deep and extensive slash wound. Amputation of the affected limb was […]

The use of a cat-flap at the nest entrance to mimic natural conditions in the breeding of fattening rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Management systems allowing free nest access are widely used in commercial rabbit breeding, but these produce a potential conflict with the doe’s behavioural goal of a closed nest entrance. Furthermore, the restricted space in commercial breeding units prevents the doe from achieving a sufficient distance between her and the nest, another highly adaptive behavioural goal. […]

Behaviour of silver foxes in traditional breeding boxes and in boxes with entrance tunnel

The periparturient behaviour of silver-fox females inside traditional and modified breeding boxes was video-recorded. The behaviour was analysed from 24 hours before parturition to 72 hours after, and in three diurnal periods. Twenty litters had the traditional simple breeding box, whereas 14 litters had a box with a narrow entrance tunnel. Compared to females in […]

Peri-natal environmental effects on maternal behaviour, pituitary and adrenal activation, and the progress of parturition in the primiparous sow

Maternal behaviour in free-ranging sows is normally performed in an isolated nest that the sow has built during the pre-parturient period. Consequently there is much concern over the use of restrictive farrowing crates, in which manipulable substrates are often not provided, for parturient sows under commercial conditions. This study examined the impact of the provision […]

Female meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) demonstrate same-sex partner preferences

Female meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) are territorial during warm months but demonstrate social tolerance under low temperatures. In spring, females nest together and some pairs participate in communal nursing and rearing of young. Because communal nursing involves significant cooperation, selective pair-bonds may develop between 2 nestmates. Using a choice apparatus, the authors determined that (a) […]