Food neophobia, observed as a decreased intake of novel foods, can cause significant livestock production losses. In the transition from rangeland to feedlot, livestock are usually offered novel diets that they sample cautiously, gradually increasing intake. This familiarization period can slow weight gains and increase time to slaughter. The present study examines 2 ways to overcome food neophobia. First, the effect of the addition of a familiar flavour on the acceptance of a novel food was examined. Thirty lambs were fed on barley, onion-flavoured barley or onion-flavoured rice twice daily for 4 days. All lambs were then offered onion-flavoured rice. Lambs that had previously eaten onion-flavoured barley ate more (P<0.05) onion-flavoured rice than those that had previously eaten unflavoured barley. In a second study, the effect of repeated exposure to novel foods increased the acceptance of subsequent novel foods. Controlling for order of food offered, lambs (n=72) were offered 4 novel foods (calf manna, maize, rice and wheat bran) for 3 consecutive days each (12 days total). Lambs ate more (P<0.05) of the fourth novel food than of the first novel food offered. The results indicate that flavour generalization and repeated exposure to novel foods may increase the acceptance of novel foods.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||Range Resources Department, Idaho State University, Moscow, ID 83844, USA.|
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