Ability of Lambs to Learn About Novel Foods while Observing or Participating with Social Models
Applied Animal Behavior Science
We studied the influence of different social models on the intake of novel foods by lambs. The lambs were 6–7 weeks old during exposure to the novel foods. Lambs that ate novel foods for 16 min per day for 5 days with their mothers consumed about twice (P<0.05) as much of the foods after weaning as lambs that ate the foods with a dry ewe. Lambs exposed alone five times to the novel foods consumed about half (P<0.05) as much as lambs that ate with a dry ewe. Lambs did not learn to eat novel foods by observing, but not concurrently participating, while social models (mother, ewe) ate the foods. However, lambs that observed their mother eat and subsequently avoid a harmful food, ate less (P<0.05) after weaning than lambs that had observed the food only during exposure. Results were the same when lambs were tested 2 months later.
Thorhallsdottir, A.G.; F.D. Provenza; D.F. Balph. 1990. Ability of Lambs to Learn About Novel Foods while Observing or Participating with Social Models. Applied Animal Behavior Science 25(1-2): 25-33.