Role of the Mother in the Intake of Harmful Foods by Lambs

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Applied Animal Behavior Science

Publication Date







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.

First Page


Last Page