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Improved acceptance of Chromonaela odorata by goat kids after weaning is caused by in utero exposure during late but not early pregnancy

By P. Vu Hai, J.T. Schonewille, D. Van Tien, H. Everts and W.H. Hendriks


The aim of the current experiment was to study the effect of the phase of pregnancy on in utero learning of Chromonaela odorata by the goat kids by comparing mid pregnancy (day 50–99, MP) with late pregnancy (day 100–145, LP). It was hypothesized that kids born to dams fed C. odorata during late pregnancy (day 100–145) would show an improved post-weaning consumption of this plant. Twenty four female goats (Co breed) were synchronized, inseminated and divided randomly into 4 equal groups. All pregnant goats were fed a diet either without (control) or with 50 g of C. odorata leave meal (COLM) at 10:00 am during 30 min during mid and late pregnancy. The COLM diet was fed either from 50 to 99 days of pregnancy (mid pregnancy, MP), or from 100 to 145 days of pregnancy (late pregnancy, LP) or from 50 to 145 days of pregnancy (MLP, positive control). After weaning (3 months old), one kid from each goat dam was selected to measure COLM intake for 30 min over a 4-week period. Feeding activities of the individually housed goat kids were monitored with a camera system. Post-weaning consumptions of COLM by the goat kids increased significantly (P < 0.05) in the LP and MLP treatments and remained essentially unchanged in the control and MP treatments. The higher consumption of COLM by kids from the LP and MLP treatment was associated with a significantly (P < 0.05) shorter latency to eat and a longer chewing time (P < 0.05). It was concluded that transmission of feeding behaviour from mother to offspring occurs between day 100 to 145 of gestation and that it remains present at least 3 months after weaning in goats

Year: 2014
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