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Conditioned aversion in sheep induced by Baccharis coridifolia

By M. B. de Almeida, A. L. Schild, N. D. A. Brasil, P. de S. Quevedo, L. Fiss, J. A. Pfister, F. Riet-Correa

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In Southern Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay, the invasive weed Baccharis coridifolia often poisons naive animals. Farmers prevent B. coridifolia poisoning using several unconventional methods to reduce ingestion: (1) burning plant material under an animals' nose, and having the animal inhale the resulting smoke; (2) rubbing the plant on the animals' muzzle and mouth; and (3) gradually introducing animals into B. coridifolia-infested pastures. To determine if B. coridifolia would condition an aversion, and to test the efficiency of these three aversive methods, 18 adult sheep were used to induce an aversion to corn, a novel food. In Group IBc, four sheep ingested 0.25 g/kg bw of fresh B. coridifolia. In Group OMBc, four sheep were treated by rubbing the plant in the mouth. In Group IHBc, four sheep inhaled smoke produced by burning B. coridifolia. In Group LiCl, two sheep were treated by oral gavage with 175 mg/kg lithium chloride (LiCl). In Group IA, two sheep received alfalfa by oral gavage. In Group IHLm, two sheep inhaled the smoke produced by burning ryegrass. On days 1-5, 10, 30, 60 and 90, 100 g of corn were offered to the animals. All sheep that ingested B. coridifolia or were treated with LiCl and one that inhaled smoke produced by burning B. coridifolia developed an aversion to corn for the whole experimental period. After 1 year, sheep from Groups IBc, OMBc, LiCl, and IA were transferred to a pasture with B. coridifolia, and observed for plant consumption. Sheep from group IBc that were treated with B. coridifolia the previous year, did not graze the plant. Sheep from the other groups ingested the plant occasionally, had anorexia, and two showed signs of digestive stress and died. Results demonstrate that B. coridifolia is as efficient as LiCl in conditioning an aversion to a previously unknown food.

Date 2009
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 117
Issue 3/4
Pages 197-200
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2008.12.006
Language English
Author Address Laboratorio Regional de Diagnostico, Faculdade de Veterinaria, UFPel, Campus Universitario s/n, Pelotas, RS 96010-900, Brazil.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Alfalfa
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animal nutrition
  4. Argentina
  5. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  6. Brazil
  7. Butterflies and moths
  8. Conditioning
  9. Corn
  10. Developed countries
  11. Eating disorders
  12. Farms
  13. Field crops
  14. Flowers
  15. Foraging
  16. Grasses
  17. Grasslands and rangelands
  18. Grazing
  19. Inappetence
  20. Inhalation
  21. Latin America
  22. Lithium
  23. Maize
  24. Mammals
  25. mouth
  26. nose
  27. Paraguay
  28. pastures
  29. peer-reviewed
  30. Plants
  31. Poisoning
  32. poisons
  33. Ruminants
  34. Sheep
  35. South America
  36. Threshold Countries
  37. toxicology
  38. Toxins and toxicants
  39. United States of America
  40. Uruguay
  41. Weeds and noxious plants
  42. Wool producing animals
  1. peer-reviewed