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Hand-rearing reduces fear of humans in European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris.

Feenders G, Bateson M - PLoS ONE (2011)

Bottom Line: We found no effects of environmental enrichment.In demonstrating reduced fear of humans in hand-reared birds, our results support one of the proposed welfare benefits of this practice, but without further data on the possible welfare costs of hand-rearing, it is not yet possible to reach a general conclusion about its net welfare impact.However, our results confirm a clear scientific impact of both hand-rearing and cage position at the behavioural level.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Centre for Behaviour and Evolution, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. Gesa.Feenders@newcastle.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
Pending changes in European legislation ban the use of wild-caught animals in research. This change is partly justified on the assumption that captive-breeding (or hand-rearing) increases welfare of captive animals because these practices result in animals with reduced fear of humans. However, there are few actual data on the long-term behavioural effects of captive-breeding in non-domestic species, and these are urgently needed in order to understand the welfare and scientific consequences of adopting this practice. We compared the response of hand-reared and wild-caught starlings to the presence of a human in the laboratory. During human presence, all birds increased their general locomotor activity but the wild-caught birds moved away from the human and were less active than the hand-reared birds. After the human departed, the wild-caught birds were slower to decrease their activity back towards baseline levels, and showed a dramatic increase in time at the periphery of the cage compared with the hand-reared birds. We interpret these data as showing evidence of a greater fear response in wild-caught birds with initial withdrawal followed by a subsequent rebound of prolonged attempts to escape the cage. We found no effects of environmental enrichment. However, birds in cages on low shelves were less active than birds on upper shelves, and showed a greater increase in the time spent at the periphery of their cages after the human departed, perhaps indicating that the lower cages were more stressful. In demonstrating reduced fear of humans in hand-reared birds, our results support one of the proposed welfare benefits of this practice, but without further data on the possible welfare costs of hand-rearing, it is not yet possible to reach a general conclusion about its net welfare impact. However, our results confirm a clear scientific impact of both hand-rearing and cage position at the behavioural level.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Response to a human.Effect of origin and housing on (A) general activity T(move), (B) use of front section of cage T(front), and (C) use of peripheral cage locations T(peripheral). Shown is the behaviour over the course of 6 consecutive time periods of 255 sec duration each. The grey shaded box indicates the period when the human was present. Pre-1 and pre-2: periods before the human entered the room; post-1, post-2 and post-3: periods after the human had left. Black squares: hand-reared birds; grey circles: wild-caught birds; filled symbols, solid lines: enriched housing (EH); open symbols, dashed lines: non-enriched housing (SH). Shown data values are not transformed but normalized to the length of the time period (thus, a value of 1(100%) is equivalent to 255 sec, and a value of 0.5 (50%) to 127.5 sec). Data show group means ±1 SEM.
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pone-0017466-g002: Response to a human.Effect of origin and housing on (A) general activity T(move), (B) use of front section of cage T(front), and (C) use of peripheral cage locations T(peripheral). Shown is the behaviour over the course of 6 consecutive time periods of 255 sec duration each. The grey shaded box indicates the period when the human was present. Pre-1 and pre-2: periods before the human entered the room; post-1, post-2 and post-3: periods after the human had left. Black squares: hand-reared birds; grey circles: wild-caught birds; filled symbols, solid lines: enriched housing (EH); open symbols, dashed lines: non-enriched housing (SH). Shown data values are not transformed but normalized to the length of the time period (thus, a value of 1(100%) is equivalent to 255 sec, and a value of 0.5 (50%) to 127.5 sec). Data show group means ±1 SEM.

Mentions: Figure 2 summarizes the results for the three behavioural variables we explored. General activity (T(move)) was low in the periods prior to the experimenter entering the room (pre-1 and pre-2), increased dramatically during human presence and then declined again after the experimenter had left the room (post1, post-2 and post-3), although not to the pre-entry levels within the 15 minutes for which data were collected (Figure 2a). Time spent in the front of the cage nearest to the where the experimenter stood (T(front)) was high prior to the experimenter entering the room, reduced dramatically during human presence and then increased back to pre-entry levels again after the experimenter had left the room (Figure 2b). Time spent in peripheral locations (T(peripheral)) was negligible in the periods prior to the experimenter entering the room, increased during human presence and then showed a treatment-dependent change after the experimenter had left the room (Figure 2c). For all three behavioural variables, treatment effects are seen in the responses of the birds during and/or after human presence; this variability is explored in detail in the following analyses.


Hand-rearing reduces fear of humans in European starlings, Sturnus vulgaris.

Feenders G, Bateson M - PLoS ONE (2011)

Response to a human.Effect of origin and housing on (A) general activity T(move), (B) use of front section of cage T(front), and (C) use of peripheral cage locations T(peripheral). Shown is the behaviour over the course of 6 consecutive time periods of 255 sec duration each. The grey shaded box indicates the period when the human was present. Pre-1 and pre-2: periods before the human entered the room; post-1, post-2 and post-3: periods after the human had left. Black squares: hand-reared birds; grey circles: wild-caught birds; filled symbols, solid lines: enriched housing (EH); open symbols, dashed lines: non-enriched housing (SH). Shown data values are not transformed but normalized to the length of the time period (thus, a value of 1(100%) is equivalent to 255 sec, and a value of 0.5 (50%) to 127.5 sec). Data show group means ±1 SEM.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3045461&req=5

pone-0017466-g002: Response to a human.Effect of origin and housing on (A) general activity T(move), (B) use of front section of cage T(front), and (C) use of peripheral cage locations T(peripheral). Shown is the behaviour over the course of 6 consecutive time periods of 255 sec duration each. The grey shaded box indicates the period when the human was present. Pre-1 and pre-2: periods before the human entered the room; post-1, post-2 and post-3: periods after the human had left. Black squares: hand-reared birds; grey circles: wild-caught birds; filled symbols, solid lines: enriched housing (EH); open symbols, dashed lines: non-enriched housing (SH). Shown data values are not transformed but normalized to the length of the time period (thus, a value of 1(100%) is equivalent to 255 sec, and a value of 0.5 (50%) to 127.5 sec). Data show group means ±1 SEM.
Mentions: Figure 2 summarizes the results for the three behavioural variables we explored. General activity (T(move)) was low in the periods prior to the experimenter entering the room (pre-1 and pre-2), increased dramatically during human presence and then declined again after the experimenter had left the room (post1, post-2 and post-3), although not to the pre-entry levels within the 15 minutes for which data were collected (Figure 2a). Time spent in the front of the cage nearest to the where the experimenter stood (T(front)) was high prior to the experimenter entering the room, reduced dramatically during human presence and then increased back to pre-entry levels again after the experimenter had left the room (Figure 2b). Time spent in peripheral locations (T(peripheral)) was negligible in the periods prior to the experimenter entering the room, increased during human presence and then showed a treatment-dependent change after the experimenter had left the room (Figure 2c). For all three behavioural variables, treatment effects are seen in the responses of the birds during and/or after human presence; this variability is explored in detail in the following analyses.

Bottom Line: We found no effects of environmental enrichment.In demonstrating reduced fear of humans in hand-reared birds, our results support one of the proposed welfare benefits of this practice, but without further data on the possible welfare costs of hand-rearing, it is not yet possible to reach a general conclusion about its net welfare impact.However, our results confirm a clear scientific impact of both hand-rearing and cage position at the behavioural level.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Centre for Behaviour and Evolution, Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. Gesa.Feenders@newcastle.ac.uk

ABSTRACT
Pending changes in European legislation ban the use of wild-caught animals in research. This change is partly justified on the assumption that captive-breeding (or hand-rearing) increases welfare of captive animals because these practices result in animals with reduced fear of humans. However, there are few actual data on the long-term behavioural effects of captive-breeding in non-domestic species, and these are urgently needed in order to understand the welfare and scientific consequences of adopting this practice. We compared the response of hand-reared and wild-caught starlings to the presence of a human in the laboratory. During human presence, all birds increased their general locomotor activity but the wild-caught birds moved away from the human and were less active than the hand-reared birds. After the human departed, the wild-caught birds were slower to decrease their activity back towards baseline levels, and showed a dramatic increase in time at the periphery of the cage compared with the hand-reared birds. We interpret these data as showing evidence of a greater fear response in wild-caught birds with initial withdrawal followed by a subsequent rebound of prolonged attempts to escape the cage. We found no effects of environmental enrichment. However, birds in cages on low shelves were less active than birds on upper shelves, and showed a greater increase in the time spent at the periphery of their cages after the human departed, perhaps indicating that the lower cages were more stressful. In demonstrating reduced fear of humans in hand-reared birds, our results support one of the proposed welfare benefits of this practice, but without further data on the possible welfare costs of hand-rearing, it is not yet possible to reach a general conclusion about its net welfare impact. However, our results confirm a clear scientific impact of both hand-rearing and cage position at the behavioural level.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus