Establishment and Persistence of Food Preferences in Lambs Exposed to Selected Foods
Journal of Animal Science
In the first experiment, lambs were fed on wheat and mountain mahogany (MM) (Cercocarpus montanus) from 50 to 110 days old. After exposure to wheat and MM, lambs preferred (P<0.05) wheat when offered with barley but did not prefer MM when offered with serviceberry (SB) (Amelanchier alnifolia), probably because lambs were reluctant to eat MM during exposure. Persistence was determined by dividing lambs exposed to wheat into 4 groups: continued exposure to wheat; exposure to barley; no further exposure; or exposure to wheat + barley. Lambs exposed to MM were given continued exposure to MM; exposure to SB; no further exposure; or exposure to MM + SB. Preferences for wheat persisted (P<0.05) regardless of the second exposure. In the second experiment, lambs were exposed to wheat or MM or alone or with their mothers. Persistence was determined after 21 days of exposure to barley or SB. Lambs preferred (P<0.05) wheat and MM whether they were exposed alone or with their mothers. However, preferences persisted longer in lambs exposed with their mothers. Finally, lambs exposed to SB or MM with their mothers were later allowed to choose between SB or MM. Lambs strongly preferred (P<0.05) the shrub to which they were exposed early in life.
Nolte, D.L.; Provenza, F. D.; Balph, D. F. 1989. Establishment and Persistence of Food Preferences in Lambs Exposed to Selected Foods. 68(4): 998-1002.