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Maternal Behaviour in the Guinea Pig (Cavia Aperea F. Porcellus): a Comparison of Multiparous, and Primiparous, and Hand Reared Primiparous Mothers

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

Previous studies of the effects of parity and social isolation on maternal behaviour in guinea pigs were either concerned with subsets of maternal behaviour or based their conclusions on small data sets. The aim of the present experiment was to give a more detailed and complete description of maternal behaviour, including the effects of the sex of the pups on maternal behaviour. Three groups of females - multiparae (n = 23), primiparae (n = 8), and hand reared (primiparae) (n = 8) - were compared with regard to a number of measures for maternal behaviour. Differences among the three groups were fairly small, multiparae were more active in grooming during the first 10 days, admitted ventrum contact more often and approached and left the pups less often between days 14 and 24. Hand reared primiparae did not differ from mother reared primiparae. Some new aspects of maternal behaviour of guinea pigs were noted, e.g. mothers lick female pups more often in the anogenital region than male pups.

Affiliations: 1: Psychological laboratory of the University of Nijmegen, Dept. Comparative and Physiological Psychology, NICI, P.O. Box 9104, 6500 HE Montessorilaan 3, Nijmegen, The Netherlands


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