MATERNAL BEHAVIOUR IN THE RABBIT: EVIDENCE FOR AN ENDOCRINE BASIS OF MATERNAL-NEST BUILDING AND ADDITIONAL DATA ON MATERNAL-NEST BUILDING IN THE DUTCH-BELTED RACE

in Reproduction
Authors:
M. X. ZARROW
Search for other papers by M. X. ZARROW in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
P. B. SAWIN
Search for other papers by P. B. SAWIN in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
SHERMAN ROSS
Search for other papers by SHERMAN ROSS in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
V. H. DENENBERG
Search for other papers by V. H. DENENBERG in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
D. CRARY
Search for other papers by D. CRARY in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
E. D. WILSON
Search for other papers by E. D. WILSON in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
A. FAROOQ
Search for other papers by A. FAROOQ in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Free access

Summary.

Two types of nest building are found in the rabbit. One type of nest is made of straw or similar elements available to the animal, and a second type of nest is composed of straw into which hair is incorporated after being plucked from the body. The second type of nest is called a maternal nest and is considered to be part of the maternal behaviour complex. Maternal-nest building was induced in 209 out of 250 (84 %) rabbits following complete removal of the entire conceptus mass on Days 20 to 27 of gestation, as compared with a 96 % maternal-nest-building rate in 941 control rabbits from the same colony. The maternal-nest-building behaviour was also induced in twelve out of sixteen (75 %) rabbits following ovariectomy on Days 20 to 24 of gestation and in five out of eleven rabbits made pseudopregnant with human chorionic gonadotrophin (hcg). Comparable results were obtained in a separate study that used the Dutch-belted rabbit, although a higher percentage of animals in this race built maternal nests following pseudopregnancy or ovariectomy during gestation. Treatment with stilboestrol, progesterone and prolactin induced maternal-nest building in four out of seventeen rabbits and lactation in all the animals. Possible endocrine mechanisms involved are discussed.

 

  • Collapse
  • Expand

     An official journal of

    Society for Reproduction and Fertility