Stereotypies in caged mink.

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Applied Animal Behaviour Science

Stereotypy was studied in 105 adult mink on a commercial farm. Stereotypy largely involved locomotor movements such as pacing. Individuals differed in the amount performed, in the exact movements involved, and in the complexity and variability of behavioural sequences. All 102 stereotypic individuals showed stereotypy before the daily delivery of food. Pre-feeding, there were significant negative correlations between stereotypy and inactivity (r= -0.839, P<0.001 ), and stereotypy and normal activity (r= -0.449, P< 0.001 ). Immediately before food delivery, stereotypies were particularly rapid, and were usually performed in the part of the cage nearest to the approaching feeding machine. This would suggest that the stereotypy is related to appetitive behaviour. However, it is not simply the captive equivalent of hunting; mink also performed stereotypy in response to a number of arousing situations (such as human disturbance, and enforced separation from their young), and 62% of stereotypic mink performed it in the quiet hours after feeding. Post-feeding stereotypy and inactivity were negatively correlated (r= -0.502, P< 0.001), but stereotypy and normal activity were positively correlated (r= 0.35, P< 0.001).

G.J. Mason (1991). Stereotypies in caged mink. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 30, 179 - 180.