Taste aversion learning has been suggested as a sensitive measure of behavioural toxicosis. The purpose of this study was to determine if maternal locowood ingestion would adversely influence the ability of lambs to acquire and retain a conditioned taste aversion (CTA). Pregnant and lactating ewes were fed locoweed (Oxytropis sericea) (300 g/day) from days 100 to 130 of gestation and/or from days 10 to 50 of lactation. Surviving lambs were evaluated at 9 months of age.Ingestion of corn (Zea mays), a novel feed, was paired with lithium chloride. Lambs were tested for three 15-min periods in a two-choice test (corn and alfalfa pellets) immediately after aversive conditioning; persistence was tested 30 days later using the same procedures. All aversively conditioned lambs formed a strong CTA to corn; previous locoweed history did not influence either the strength or the persistence of the aversion. Even though lambs were overtly intoxicated at birth by maternal locoweed exposure, lambs showed no overt signs of intoxication when this study was conducted. Lambs exposed to locoweed do not have an impaired ability to form taste aversions, suggesting that there were no learning deficits secondary to toxicosis and that lambs are likely to have as normal diet selection patterns as adults.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||USDA-ARS Poisonous Plant Research Laboratory, Logan, UT 84321, USA.|
|Cite this work||
Researchers should cite this work as follows: