Maternal care of rabbits in the lab and on the farm: Endocrine regulation of behavior and productivity

Maternal behavior in rabbits has been well described in the wild, the laboratory, and the farm. Salient characteristics include: (a) the construction of a nest (inside an underground burrow or a box), composed of straw/grass and body hair and (b) the display of a single, brief (ca. 3 min) nursing bout per day. The onset and […]

First Suckling: A Crucial Event for Mother–Young Attachment? An Experimental Study in Horses (Equus caballus)

This study investigates the consequences of interference during first suckling for subsequent mare-young attachment in horses (Equus caballus). Foals brought to their dams’ teats appeared, at later ages (1-3 months), to remain closer to their dams and to play less than control foals that had been allowed to suckle spontaneously. Higher levels of play and […]

Modified Prenatal Sensory Stimulation Influences Postnatal Behavioral and Perceptual Responsiveness in Bobwhite Quail Chicks (Colinus virginianus)

Asynchronous bimodal stimulation during prenatal development elicits higher levels of behavioral and physiological arousal in precocial avian embryos than does unimodal sensory stimulation. To investigate whether the increased arousal associated with prenatal bimodal stimulation has enduring effects into postnatal development, bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) embryos received no supplemental stimulation, unimodal auditory stimulation, or bimodal (audiovisual) […]

Of Iguanas and Dinosaurs- Social Behavior and Communication in Neonate Reptiles

Newborn and newly hatched reptiles show diverse types of social behavior. Aggregation behavior in snakes, dominance in turtles, vocalization in crocodilians, and synchronized nest emergence, migration, and foraging behavior in iguanas are documented. Such evidence casts doubt on inferences about a generalized reptilian level of social organization qualitatively inferior to that found in birds and […]

Onset of sentience: The potential for suffering in fetal and newborn farm animals

Sentience and consciousness are prerequisites of suffering. Thus, animals must have sufficiently sophisticated neural mechanisms to receive sensory information and to transduce this information into sensations, and they must also be conscious to be able to perceive those sensations. Moreover, those sensations must be sufficiently noxious or aversive to cause suffering. The neural apparatus of […]

Coat and claws as new matrices for noninvasive long-term cortisol assessment in dogs from birth up to 30 days of age

The last stage of fetal development and the neonatal period represent the most critical phases for the mammals’ offspring. In the dog, the knowledge about the final intrauterine fetal development and biology, as well as about the neonatal physiology, remains scarce. Hormonal changes occurring in the last intrauterine fetal phase and during the early neonatal […]