Behaviour A behaviour is ‘ a response to an internal or external stimuli ’ What is a stimuli? ‘ anything that causes a response ’ Stimuli stimulate sensory receptors, these are found in the eyes, ears, nasal turbinates, tongue, skin and internal tissues also
A behavioural response can be mild, e.g a turning of the head or massive eg a flight or fight response. Some behaviours are instinctual whilst others are learnt.
Instinct Definition: “ A natural or inherent aptitude, impulse or capacity ”… unlearnt behaviour made in response to a specific stimuli. Instincts (or innate behaviours), as all behaviours aid survival and reproduction. Examples: Instinct can be over-ridden by learning!
Learning Classical Conditioning: Learning by association; linking non relevant stimulus to relevant stimulus to cause the same behavioural response. (Ivan Pavlov) Operant Conditioning Learning that behaviours have consequences, both positive and negative and can increase or decrease the likelihood of a behaviour occurring again. Trial and error learning. (B.F Skinner) Latent Learning- exploratory learning with consolidation Habituation- learning not to respond
Normal Behaviour What is ‘ normal ’ behaviour? In the five freedoms, the word ‘ normal ’ is sometimes replaced with ‘ natural ’ instead. Since looking at an animal in the wild is really the only reference we have for behaviours that are either natural or normal, the choice of word is close to irrelevant. In domestic animals the choice of ‘ normal ’ might be more appropriate since thousands of years of domestication has caused animals to adapt in their behaviour. Their most closely related wild relative could be in a some what removed environment from that which the domestic animal lives. Learning Theory is also influencial as opposed to only making comparisons to wild ancestors.
All behaviours ultimately allow animals to survive and reproduce. Animals do not waste energy to do behaviours that are not of benefit. Sometimes behaviours in domestic animals are ‘ normal ’, but in the domestic situation they can get redirected or are non relevant making their display appear abnormal. Sometimes it is easier to consider what is abnormal. Normal Behaviour
Abnormal behaviour A behaviour outside of the normal range (frequency, level, substrate, environment … ) Abnormal behaviours can often be an indicator of health related problems. What is the difference between abnormal behaviours and problem behaviours?
Problem behaviour- dogs Chewing Barking Sexual Behaviour Aggression Digging Straying Urination/Defecation Are any of these ‘ problems ’ abnormal? Or are they normal functional behaviours?
Observing and Recording Normal Behaviour In order to use behaviour as an indicator to welfare and establish when an animal is behaving ‘ abnormally ’ we have to establish parameters of normal behaviour, this can allow us to compare effects of environment that may cause abnormal behaviour.
Observing and Recording Normal Behaviour There are various methods of observing and recording behaviour. Most behavioural studies start with an Ethogram This is prepared through preliminary observations and the defining of behaviours observed. Ethograms should aim to be mutually exclusive.
Ethogram Example: Horse Stand Lie Walk Trot Canter Drink (whilst standing) Touch other horse (whilst standing) Graze (whilst standing) Eat Hay (whilst standing) Eat other food (whilst standing) Other
Ethogram Example: Horse The previous slide showed behaviours that are typically performed for ‘ bouts ’ (lengths of time), but ‘ intermittent ’ behaviours which occur for only a few seconds at a time should also be noted e.g vocalisations
Ethogram Example: Horses Continuous or Scan sampling methods (as used in preference testing), as well as Tally sampling can be used to record frequency of specific behaviours or duration. The results can be analysed, although to be scientifically viable a large amount of time with many subjects and elimination of all bias must be recorded.
Stereotypic behaviours Definition: A stereotype/stereotypie is a “ seemingly non- functional repetitive behaviour ”
Stereotype: Examples Horses- Weaving Box Walking Crib biting Wind sucking Large Cats-Pacing Large Bears- Weaving
Stereotypes: Is there a commonality between the occurrence of stereotypes in the examples? Stereotypes are therefore said to be caused by limited (or excess) stimulation. To say the animal is ‘ bored ’ is inappropriate.
Stereotypes and Welfare Stereotypes are considered to be a response to stress in an animal, and therefore welfare must be compromised in some way. Performance of a stereotype is a coping mechanism for the animal and has the ability to release endorphins, therefore reinforcing the behaviour.
Preventing Stereotypes If stereotypes are caused by stress, when keeping animals we want to try and minimise stress to prevent stereotypes forming. Preventing stress of this nature is best achieved by allowing the animal to perform significant normal behaviours …
Treating Stereotypes There are 4 potential treatment options for stereotypes and ‘ problem ’ behaviours. Environmental Physical Chemical Psychological But unless the underlying cause is addressed then the problem is just masked and the welfare of the animal becomes compromised …
Treating Stereotypes … therefore sometimes it is better to allow an established stereotype to continue to be performed rather than just masking it.
Enrichments Environmental enrichments are “… a concept which describes how the environment of captive animals can be changed for the benefit of the inhabitants. Behavioural opportunities that may arise or increase as a result of environmental enrichment can be appropriately described as behavioural enrichment ” (Shepardson, 1993)
Enrichments There are two types of enrichment: 1. Naturalistic Approach- creation of the wild habitats for the performance of ‘ natural ’ behaviours. 2. Behavioural Engineering- designing of a devise used by the animal which reflects natural behaviour, usually in work or play. Most often a combination of the two is most effective
Redirecting normal behaviours in artificial environment It is not always possible to allow domestic animals or captive animals the full opportunity to express ‘ natural ’ behaviours, to natural substrates, but sometimes redirecting to artificial substrates is the best next thing and can promote ‘ normal ’ behavioural repertoires
Enrichments: Examples Captive animal enrichment (food)- because animals in the wild do not utilise energy other than in the search of food and for reproduction, environments can be enriched to increase the amount of time that feeding, and searching for food takes.
Conclusion Opportunities to express natural and normal behaviours is an important aspect of all animals welfare; wild, captive and domestic. Where, for what ever reason this opportunity can not be provided in full means o enrichment should be provided which offer similar behavioural opportunities.