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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Influence of Sow Gestation Diet on Piglets Behavior

Authors
item Scott, K - PURDUE UNIVERSITY
item Shea Moore, Margaret
item Morrow, Julie

Submitted to: Journal of Animal Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 20, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Studies have demonstrated that stimuli presented in the fetal environment can influence future preferences and aversions. The purpose of this study was to preliminarily assess how dietary odors and flavors fed to gestating sows affect piglets after birth. Using a randomized complete block design, sows were assigned to 1 of 3 treatment diets, garlic, onion, or control (n=4/treatment), for the last 2 weeks of gestation. Due to the volatile nature of the odor compounds being used, it was necessary to confound treatment with location. At farrowing, 5 piglets from each litter were tested in a Y-maze for odor preferences prior to first nursing. Preference was quantified using behavioral analysis software. Sow diet did not significantly affect odor preference of piglets tested in the Y-maze. To test the long-term influence of prenatal exposure to odors and flavors, naive piglets from each treatment were weaned into individual pens and presented with both onion and garlic feed for 4 days post-weaning. Daily feed consumption was measured and data were log transformed to control for heterogeneous variability. Data were analyzed using a mixed model analysis with weaning weight as a covariate. Piglets from sows fed an onion diet consumed significantly more garlic feed on day 3 (2.4 +/-0.16 log grams garlic, 2.1 +/ -0.16 log grams onion, P=.05) and day 4 (2.5 +/ -0.14 log grams garlic, 1.9 +/ -0.14 log grams onion, P<.001).

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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