Vaginal stimulation: an important determinant of maternal bonding in sheep

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Science  07 Jan 1983:
Vol. 219, Issue 4580, pp. 81-83
DOI: 10.1126/science.6849123


The immediate induction of the full complement of maternal behavior in nonpregnant ewes primed with estrogen and progesterone has been obtained after 5 minutes of vaginal-cervical stimulation. A similar period of such stimulation given to recently parturient ewes, after the development of selective bonding to their own lambs, reversed their rejection behavior of alien lambs and produced a state of plasticity in maternal behavior, such that ewes receiving vaginal stimulation would accept and adopt alien lambs. These findings implicate vaginal-cervical stimulation as playing a role in the onset of maternal behavior.

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