Changes in the normal behavior patterns seen during lactation in the female golden hamster have received relatively little attention in the past (Rowell 1961; Daly 1972). The purpose of this experiment was to characterize and compare maternal behavior in female hamsters during gestation and 24 days of lactation, with their first and second litters. Each was observed for ½ h daily, and her behavior recorded every 10 s.

Maternal behavior decreased over time in the mothers during both first and second lactations, while “non-maternal” behavior increased. No differences were observed in these measures between the first and second lactation.