Abstract # 32:

Scheduled for Thursday, June 21, 2012 04:00 PM-04:15 PM: Session 8 (3rd Floor All Space) Oral Presentation


HOW PREDICTABILITY CAN BE USED TO DECREASE THE STRESS OF FEEDING EVENTS IN CAPTIVE RHESUS MACAQUES (MACACA MULATTA)

D. H. Gottlieb1,2, K. Coleman3 and B. McCowan2,4
1Animal Behavior Graduate Group, University of California Davis, One Shields Avenue, Davis, CA 95616, USA, 2California National Primate Research Center, University of California Davis, 3Oregon National Primate Research Center, Oregon Health Sciences University, 4Population Health & Reproduction, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California Davis
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     Despite being a positive event, the anticipation of feeding can be a source of stress in captive primates. The specific goal of this study was to identify whether increasing the predictability of feeding events could decrease stress and anxiety in captive rhesus macaques. This study was conducted on 39 subjects in four indoor rooms at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. Temporal and signaled predictability were added to morning and afternoon feeding, as well as enrichment distribution. Temporally predictable feedings occurred reliably at the same time daily, while signaled predictable feedings were preceded by a distinct event-specific signal in the form of a doorbell. Subjects received each of four treatments: unpredictable feedings, temporally predictable feedings, signaled predictable feedings, and temporally and signaled predictable feedings. Each treatment lasted three weeks and the order of events was balanced using a Latin square design. Change in stress was evaluated by monitoring changes in motor stereotypies and displacement behaviors. Our results showed that the feeding events elicited less stress and anxiety behaviors when temporally predictable [Mixed effects GLM, alpha=0.01.], and we conclude that temporal predictability of feeding is beneficial to captive indoor-housed rhesus macaques. These results are not necessarily applicable to animals that are given control over their environment or housed in a group setting. This research was funded in part by the International Primatological Society Captive Care Grant.