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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.

Show MeSH
Effects of cage enrichment and position.Starlings' reaction to human presence (A,B,C) and change in behaviour upon departure of the human (D,E,F). Shown are the effects of environmental enrichment (left four bars; dark grey: enriched, white: non-enriched) and cage position (right four bars; light grey: high cages, black: low cages) in combination with origin (hand: hand-reared birds; wild: wild-caught birds). Shown data values in A, B, C are normalized to the length of the time period. Data show group means ±1 SEM.
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pone-0017466-g003: Effects of cage enrichment and position.Starlings' reaction to human presence (A,B,C) and change in behaviour upon departure of the human (D,E,F). Shown are the effects of environmental enrichment (left four bars; dark grey: enriched, white: non-enriched) and cage position (right four bars; light grey: high cages, black: low cages) in combination with origin (hand: hand-reared birds; wild: wild-caught birds). Shown data values in A, B, C are normalized to the length of the time period. Data show group means ±1 SEM.

Mentions: During the human-presence period, origin had a significant effect on T(front) with the wild-caught birds spending less time in the front section (nearer to the experimenter) than the hand-reared birds. We found no effect of origin on either T(move) or T(peripheral). We found no effect of housing, or origin x housing interaction on any of the three measures. Statistics (F-ratios and p-values) for the above analyses are summarised in Table 1 and means are displayed in Figure 3a–c.


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

Feenders G, Bateson M - PLoS ONE (2011)

Effects of cage enrichment and position.Starlings' reaction to human presence (A,B,C) and change in behaviour upon departure of the human (D,E,F). Shown are the effects of environmental enrichment (left four bars; dark grey: enriched, white: non-enriched) and cage position (right four bars; light grey: high cages, black: low cages) in combination with origin (hand: hand-reared birds; wild: wild-caught birds). Shown data values in A, B, C are normalized to the length of the time period. Data show group means ±1 SEM.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone-0017466-g003: Effects of cage enrichment and position.Starlings' reaction to human presence (A,B,C) and change in behaviour upon departure of the human (D,E,F). Shown are the effects of environmental enrichment (left four bars; dark grey: enriched, white: non-enriched) and cage position (right four bars; light grey: high cages, black: low cages) in combination with origin (hand: hand-reared birds; wild: wild-caught birds). Shown data values in A, B, C are normalized to the length of the time period. Data show group means ±1 SEM.
Mentions: During the human-presence period, origin had a significant effect on T(front) with the wild-caught birds spending less time in the front section (nearer to the experimenter) than the hand-reared birds. We found no effect of origin on either T(move) or T(peripheral). We found no effect of housing, or origin x housing interaction on any of the three measures. Statistics (F-ratios and p-values) for the above analyses are summarised in Table 1 and means are displayed in Figure 3a–c.

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