Maternal food restriction delays weaning in the guinea pig, Cavia porcellus

Laurien-Kehnen C, Trillmich F (2004)
ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR 68(2): 303-312.

Journal Article | Published | English

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In mammals, the duration of lactation varies much more than other life history parameters in relation to body mass, both within and between species. The causes of this variation are poorly understood and seem to result from varying conditions of mothers and young. We studied the effect of long-term maternal food restriction on litter mass at birth, duration of lactation and offspring development in the precocial guinea pig. Mild experimental food restriction during reproduction resulted in prolonged nursing behaviour of mothers. Evidence for a threshold mass at weaning was, however, equivocal. In the guinea pig, benefits of prolonged lactation prove hard to understand, because nutritional benefits are minor. Independently of maternal food regime, pups terminated suckling attempts several days after mothers ceased nursing behaviour. The time between the last nursing behaviour and the last suckling attempts was not longer in litters with higher need, that is, in litters of food-restricted females, than in litters of females fed ad libitum. Under food restriction, mothers maintained their own body mass, leading in pups to lower mass at birth, reduced postnatal growth and lower body mass at maturity. Guinea pig mothers appear to be selected to value their own condition more than that of a litter. We suggest that lengthening of the nursing period under poor conditions is a life history response primarily of precocial mammals. (C) 2004 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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Laurien-Kehnen C, Trillmich F. Maternal food restriction delays weaning in the guinea pig, Cavia porcellus. ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR. 2004;68(2):303-312.
Laurien-Kehnen, C., & Trillmich, F. (2004). Maternal food restriction delays weaning in the guinea pig, Cavia porcellus. ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, 68(2), 303-312.
Laurien-Kehnen, C., and Trillmich, F. (2004). Maternal food restriction delays weaning in the guinea pig, Cavia porcellus. ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR 68, 303-312.
Laurien-Kehnen, C., & Trillmich, F., 2004. Maternal food restriction delays weaning in the guinea pig, Cavia porcellus. ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, 68(2), p 303-312.
C. Laurien-Kehnen and F. Trillmich, “Maternal food restriction delays weaning in the guinea pig, Cavia porcellus”, ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR, vol. 68, 2004, pp. 303-312.
Laurien-Kehnen, C., Trillmich, F.: Maternal food restriction delays weaning in the guinea pig, Cavia porcellus. ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR. 68, 303-312 (2004).
Laurien-Kehnen, C, and Trillmich, Fritz. “Maternal food restriction delays weaning in the guinea pig, Cavia porcellus”. ANIMAL BEHAVIOUR 68.2 (2004): 303-312.
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