The Role of the Mother in the Intake of Harmful Foods by Lambs
Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Thorhallsdottir, A.G., Provenza, F.D. and Balph, D.F., 1990. The role of the mother in the intake of harmful foods by lambs. Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci., 25: 35-44.
In two experiments, we studied whether a conditioned food aversion in the mother affected intake of the same food by her lamb in the absence of the mother. Mothers averted to a palatable food ate very little of the food in the presence of their lambs during the 4-day exposure in Experiment 1 and the 5-day exposure in Experiment 2. In Experiment 1 the feeding behavior of mothers during exposure did not (P>0.05) affect the intake of novel foods by lambs during the 10-day trial after weaning. However, in Experiment 2 lambs exposed with averted mothers ate less (P=0.001) of the food (16 g per day) than lambs whose mothers ate the food in their presence (80 g per day) during an 8-day trial after weaning. Results persisted during an 8-day trial 3 months later. Differences in ages of lambs and exposure procedures may have caused different outcomes in Experiments 1 and 2. In Experiment 1, lambs were > 11 weeks of age during exposure, while in Experiment 2 they were 8 weeks of age. Moreover, mothers and treatment lambs in Experiment 1 were given the experimental and the alternative food simultaneously during the 4-day exposure, while in Experiment 2 mothers and lambs were given only one food at a time during the 5-day exposure.