Action: Primates: Change the number of feeds per day
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- Two before-and-after studies in Japan and the USA found that when the number of feeds per day were increased the amount of time spent feeding increased in chimpanzees, but hair eating also increased in baboons.
Anticipating the arrival of food can lead to stress behaviours in captive animals. Changing the number of feeds per day reduces the predictability of feeds within the day with the aim of increasing the amount of time animals spend foraging for foods by decreasing stress behaviours.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A before-and-after study in 1999 in Japan (Morimura & Ueno 1999) found that when food was given twice a day instead of once a day to a group of chimpanzees Pan troglodytes the amount of time spent feeding increased. On average, feeding time contributed to 7% of the behaviours expressed when one feed was offered per day and 24% when two feeds were offered per day. A group of five chimpanzees was observed for 15 days over five one hour time periods when all food was provided in the afternoon at 15:00 h and when one feed was given between 10:00 h and 11:00 h and a second feed at 15:00 h. (CJ)
A before-and-after study in 2012 in the USA (Nevill & Lutz 2015) found that increasing feeds from one to two per day increased hair-eating in baboons Papio hamadryas sp. When one feed was provided, hair eating was seen during 1% of the observations, increasing to 3% with two feeds. Eleven baboons, housed as a social group, were offered their standard feed of 5 kg of monkey diet in the afternoon, which was then split into two, 2 kg feeds, given morning and afternoon. Each monkey was observed over six months and two hours of data were collected on each animal. (CJ)
- Morimura N. & Ueno Y. (1999) Influences on the Feeding Behavior of Three Mammals in the Maruyama Zoo: Bears, Elephants, and Chimpanzees. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 2, 169-186
- Nevill C.H. & Lutz C.K. (2015) The Effect of a Feeding Schedule Change and the Provision of Forage Material on Hair Eating in a Group of Captive Baboons (Papio hamadryas sp.). Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, 18, 319-331