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Allowing captive marmosets to choose the size and position of their nest box

By G. R. Hosey, M. Jacques, M. Burton

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Preferences for nest box size and position were tested in two groups of common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus jacchus). One group consisted of a mother, her two adult sons and one adult daughter, and the other comprised a breeding pair, their two adult sons and two adult daughters. In a pre-test phase two, new, wooden nest boxes were introduced to each group alongside their old metal one, so that the animals could become familiar with them, and so that any pre-existing preference could be identified. In successive experiments: the old metal nest box was closed so that the marmosets had to choose a preferred box from the two new nest boxes; the size of the preferred nest box was systematically reduced; and in one of the groups the reduced nest box was restored to full size, but its position interchanged with the non-preferred box. In a further experiment, the position of the preferred, and then of the non-preferred box was raised to the highest point in the cage. The marmosets showed strong positional preferences which could not have been predicted without performing the tests. One of the groups also showed a strong preference for the high nest box. It was concluded that marmosets may exhibit preferences for their cage furniture, the basis of which may not be easily interpreted. It is concluded that these preferences should, however, be taken into account when designing cages to maximize the welfare of the animals.

Date 1999
Publication Title Animal Welfare
Volume 8
Issue 3
Pages 281-285
ISBN/ISSN 0962-7286
Language English
Author Address Bolton Primate Research Team, Biology and Environmental Studies, Bolton Institute, Deane Road, Bolton BL3 5AB, UK.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal husbandry
  3. Animal rights
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Cages
  6. Choice
  7. Decision making
  8. Laboratory animal science
  9. Mammals
  10. Monkeys
  11. nests
  12. peer-reviewed
  13. Primates
  14. Social behavior
  1. peer-reviewed