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Overcoming food neophobia in domestic ruminants through addition of a familiar flavor and repeated exposure to novel foods

By K. L. Launchbaugh, F. D. Provenza, M. J. Werkmeister

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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.

Date 1997
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 54
Issue 4
Pages 327-334
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/S0168-1591(96)01194-X
Language English
Author Address Range Resources Department, Idaho State University, Moscow, ID 83844, USA.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal nutrition
  3. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  4. Conditioning
  5. Corn
  6. Feeding behavior
  7. Feed preferences
  8. Feeds
  9. Flavor
  10. Grains
  11. Grasses
  12. Intake
  13. Lambs
  14. Learning
  15. Learning ability
  16. Learning capacity
  17. Maize
  18. Mammals
  19. paddy
  20. peer-reviewed
  21. Plants
  22. rice
  23. Ruminants
  24. Sheep
  1. peer-reviewed