Action: Primates: Change feeding times
- One replicated, controlled study in the USA found that when chimpanzees were fed on unpredictable schedules inactivity decreased.
Anticipating the arrival of food can lead to stress behaviours in captive animals. Changing the times when feeds are given to captive primates throughout the day reduces the predictability of feeds with the aim of increasing the amount of time animals spend foraging for foods by decreasing stress behaviours.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, controlled study in 1995 in the USA (Bloomsith & Lambeth 1995) found that inactive behaviour was lower in chimpanzees Pan troglodytes fed on unpredictable schedules than for those fed on predictable schedules, but abnormal behaviour were similar. Inactivity was reduced from 35% of time when predictable feeding times were maintained to 27% of time when predictable feeding times were given. Abnormal behaviours did not change significantly from when feeding times were predictable (1%) to when they were unpredictable (0.2%). Two groups of chimpanzees were fed on a predictable schedule and two groups were fed on a more unpredictable schedule. A total of 30 chimpanzees were observed within the four groups. Four meals of fresh produce were given daily and observational data were collected at two times each day, during the pre-feeding period and feeding schedules were unchanged, between 09:30 h and 10:00 h for 30 minutes for a total of 100 hours. (CJ)