The aim of the current study was to determine whether the improved post-weaning intake of Chromonaela odorata by goat kids is related to either the in utero period of the goat kids or the subsequent suckling period. It was hypothesized that kids born to dams fed C. odorata during pregnancy and receiving milk from dams not exposed to C. odorata during pregnancy show an improved acceptance to consume this plant. Twenty female goats were successfully synchronized and divided into 4 groups. Two groups (1 and 3) were offered 50 g of dried C. odorata leave meal (COLM) mixed with a basic diet for the last 3 months of pregnancy until 1 week before parturition. At birth the kids from the goats in group 1 and 2 were cross fostered without colostrum or milk from their own mother. While waiting for the delivery of kid from another goat, the kid was fed milk replacer or milk from any goat dam in the same treatment. Kids from groups 3 and 4 remained with their mothers. After weaning (2.5 months old), one kid from each goat dam was selected for COLM intake which was measured for 30 min over a 4 week period. Feeding activities of the individually housed goat kids was monitored with a camera system. Kids born to dams receiving COLM during pregnancy consumed higher amounts of the COLM supplemented test feed during all feeding preference tests compared to kids from the control group, particularly during week 3 and 4 (P <0.001). Shorter latency, longer time spent on each meal and total eating time, chewing time and higher meal size (P <0.05) were different in the kids born from does that ingested COLM during pregnancy. It is concluded that prenatal exposure to C. odorata via maternal ingestion significantly increases the intake of C. odorata by weaned goat kids. This improved intake is due to the in utero learning and not the transfer of (secondary) components via the milk of the mothers fed C. odorata during pregnancy.
- food preference
- maternal diet
- tropical weed
- pregnant ewes
Hai, P. V., Schonewille, J. T., Tien, D. V., Everts, H., & Hendriks, W. H. (2013). Improved acceptance of Chromonaela odorata by goat kids after weaning is triggered by in utero exposure but nog consumption of milk. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 146, 66-71. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.applanim.2013.03.011