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The long-term impact of infant rearing background on the affective state of adult common marmosets ( Callithrix jacchus)

By H. Ash, H. M. Buchanan-Smith

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Abstract

Early life environment, including temporary family separation, can have a major influence on affective state. Using a battery of tests, the current study compared the performance of adult common marmosets ( Callithrix jacchus), reared as infants under 3 different conditions: family-reared twins, family-reared animals from triplet litters where only 2 remain (2 stays) and supplementary fed triplets. No significant differences were found in latency to approach and obtain food from a human or a novel object between rearing conditions, suggesting no effect on neophobia. There were no differences in cognitive bias task acquisition time, or proportion of responses to each ambiguous probe. Very minor differences were found in response to the probes, with only supplementary fed marmosets making fewer responses to the middle probe, compared to the probe nearest the rewarded stimuli. Similarly, in a test for anhedonia, no difference was found between rearing conditions in consumption of milkshake at different concentrations. There was just one very small difference in reward motivation, with only supplementary fed triplets demonstrating a lack of preference for milkshake over water at the lowest concentration. This consistent pattern of results suggests that the supplementary feeding of large litters of marmosets at this facility did not have a major effect on welfare, and is unlikely to influence performance in reward-related scientific tasks. Therefore, while family separation is not recommended, this particular practice should be used if it is necessary, such as to reduce infant mortality. Regular positive interactions with humans are also encouraged, to reduce fear and improve welfare of marmosets kept in captivity.

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 174
Pages 128-136
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2015.10.009
Language English
Author Address Behaviour and Evolution Research Group and Scottish Primate Research Group, Psychology, School of Natural Sciences, University of Stirling, Stirling FK9 4LA, UK.hayley.ash@stir.ac.uk h.m.buchanan-smith@stir.ac.uk
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal nutrition
  3. Animals
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Feeding
  6. Humans
  7. Infants
  8. Interactions
  9. Litters
  10. Mammals
  11. Marmosets
  12. Men
  13. Monkeys
  14. mortality
  15. peer-reviewed
  16. Primates
  17. twins
  18. vertebrates
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  1. peer-reviewed