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Effect of breed and lithium chloride dose on the conditioned aversion to olive tree leaves (Olea europaea L.) of sheep

By Carmen L. Manuelian, Elena Albanell, Maristela Rovai, Ahmed A. K. Salama, Gerardo Caja

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Abstract

Grazing maybe an efficient tool for controlling weed cover in olive groves. However, olive leaves are very palatable for sheep, which damages the trees and compromised the later olive production. Lithium chloride (LiCl) is an effective agent for creating food aversion in ruminants through the activation of the emetic system. We investigated the response in three sheep breeds (Manchega, Lacaune and Ripollesa; N=15 for each breed) to two doses of LiCl (AV1, 200; AV2, 225mg/kg BW) for averting adult ewes to olive tree leaves compared to a control group (C, water blank). The aversion was reinforced on day 9 in those ewes that consumed >10g of olive leaves. Persistence was evaluated by a double-choice feeding assay, where 100g of olive leaves were offered side-by-side with 390g of rye-grass (as fed), at several intervals across 70 days. Intake and persistence were compared between doses and breeds. Significant breed effects in the controls suggested a genetic component in neophobia (i.e., Ripollesa and Manchega were neophobic whereas Lacaune was not). Aversion was fully created with a single dose in all ewes, however, 20% of animals needed a reinforcement dose to strengthen the aversion (especially in Manchega ewes and AV1 dose). Total aversion persisted 54 days in AV2 and 33 days in AV1, whereas that differences only presented a tendency in Manchega breed (P=0.058). Effective aversion length of AV1 vs. C varied by breed (Manchega

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 155
Pages 42-48
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2014.03.002
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Tags
  1. Aversion
  2. Breeding
  3. Sheep
  4. trees