Hair eating in nonhuman primates is thought to result from a frustrated appetitive drive produced by an inappropriate diet. To investigate whether hair eating could be reduced through changes in diet, a 2-part study was conducted with a group of baboons ( Papio hamadryas sp.). The 1st part involved changing to a twice-daily feeding routine, thus providing prolonged access to an appropriate food source. The 2nd part involved scattering a grain mix to encourage more foraging while maintaining a once-daily feeding routine. Changing the feeding routine unexpectedly resulted in a significant increase in hair manipulation and ingestion. Providing additional grain did not significantly decrease hair manipulation and ingestion, but several individuals did show a reduction in these behaviors. Prolonged access to biscuits and the provision of a grain mix may have failed to satisfy the urge to forage because little effort was needed for their collection prior to consumption. Although the current study failed to significantly decrease hair eating, it provides valuable insight into further avenues of research on the behavior.
|Publication Title||Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science|
|Author Address||Southwest National Primate Research Center, Texas Biomedical Research Institute, P. O. Box 760549, San Antonio, TX 78245, USA.hnevill@TxBiomed.org|
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