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Physiol Behav. 1994 Nov;56(5):907-12.

Transmission of food preference in the rabbit: the means of information transfer.

Author information

1
Department of Ethology, Eötvös Loránd University, Jávorka S.u. 14, Hungary.

Abstract

Rabbit pups raised by mothers fed different diets during pregnancy and lactation show a clear preference for the diet of their mother at weaning. By supplementing does' lab chow diet with aromatic juniper berries, the present study aimed to investigate the relative importance of 1) fecal pellets deposited by the mother in the nest, 2) prenatal experience in utero, and 3) contact with the mother during nursing in determining pups' later food preference. The three means of transmission were found to be equally effective. Thus, pups from normally fed does raised with fecal pellets from juniper-fed mothers, pups from juniper-fed mothers cross-fostered to normally fed does immediately after birth, and pups of normally fed mothers nursed by juniper-fed does all showed as strong a preference for juniper as pups raised by juniper-fed mothers exclusively. Such apparent redundancy may not only help insure that less aromatic substances or substances transmitted differentially by these routes are learned, but also that pups can acquire a preference for a variety of foods eaten by their mother at different times.

PMID:
7824590
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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