Citation Caldwell CA, Watson CFI & Morris K (2009) Exploiting flavour preferences of common marmosets to increase palatability of a dry pellet diet. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 116 (41001), pp. 244-249. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/01681591; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2008.09.001
Abstract Although commercially available complete diets exist for common marmosets, the animals’ consumption of these diets (available in dry pellet form) is typically very low. Increasing consumption of the pellet diet could have positive consequences for the welfare of the marmosets as the pellets are designed specifically to meet their full nutritional requirements, and therefore an increase in intake should help to ensure that they take in an appropriate balance of nutrients. We carried out a series of studies targeted towards improving the palatability, and hence increasing the intake, of a complete dry pellet diet for marmosets. In Study 1 we attempted to determine which of a wide range of flavours appeared to be preferred by the marmosets. In Study 2 we tested the marmosets’ preferences for a smaller number of highly preferred flavours (as determined in Study 1) when actually added to the dry pellet diet in a series of paired preference tests. Finally, in Study 3 we tested whether adding the most highly preferred flavours (as determined in Study 2) to the dry pellet diet would in fact increase consumption of these pellets in comparison with unflavoured pellets. Despite finding strong and consistent preferences for particular flavours amongst the marmosets, we found that adding these to the pellets did not significantly increase consumption. Reasons for this are discussed, along with other potential modifications which might prove more successful in increasing consumption of pellet diets for marmosets.