Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effects of woodchips and buried food on behavior patterns and psychological well-being of captive rhesus monkeys

Published source details

Byrne G.D. & Suomi S.J. (1991) Effects of woodchips and buried food on behavior patterns and psychological well-being of captive rhesus monkeys. American Journal of Primatology, 23, 141-151


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Primates: Scatter food throughout enclosure Management of Captive Animals

A replicated, before-and-after study in 1991 in the USA (Byrne & Suomi 1991) found that adding woodchips, into which sunflower seeds were scattered, in enclosures of rhesus macaques Macaca mulatta increased feeding and exploration activities compared to food thrown onto the bare floors. When food was thrown onto the bare floors, foraging time ranged between 1% and 7% of the total time in comparison to 35% when sunflower seeds were scattered in woodchips over the floor. Two groups of rhesus macaques (n=15) were housed continually in bare tiled enclosures with food thrown onto the floor. Woodchips and sunflower seeds were then scattered over the floors of both enclosures for four weeks. Each animal was observed for 10 minutes twice each week between 09:00 h and 10:00 h and between 13:00 h and 14:00 h over nine months.    (CJ)