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Animals (Basel). 2019 Nov 10;9(11). pii: E944. doi: 10.3390/ani9110944.

Do Prenatally-Conditioned Flavor Preferences Affect Consumption of Creep Feed by Piglets?

Author information

1
Departamento de Ciencias Animales, Facultad de Agronomía e Ingeniería Forestal, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago 7820436, Chile.
2
Departamento de Fomento de la Producción Animal, Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias y Pecuarias, Universidad de Chile, Santa Rosa 11735, La Pintana, Santiago 8820000, Chile.
3
Floramatic S.A, Av. Marathon 1989, Ñuñoa, Santiago 7750000, Chile.

Abstract

Piglets can prefer flavors that are presented to pregnant sows, hence this study intended to estimate the effect of prenatal exposure of piglets to flavors on the intake of flavored creep feed and performance. Gestational sows were fed either a flavored (garlic or aniseed; n24) or an unflavored diet (n24) from days 90 to 114 of gestation. Their litters were offered either garlic, aniseed, or unflavored creep feed during the suckling period, and its intake was measured as well as animal's final body weight (BW) and average daily gain (ADG). Data was analyzed taking into account the diet offered to both sows and piglets, as well as the interaction between these variables. As previous experiments have shown, flavor learning did not affect a piglet's performance during the suckling period, finding no differences for creep feed intake, ADG, or BW according to diets (p > 0.05). Repeated exposure of piglets to previously learned flavors without clear post-ingestive benefits could nullify the strategies proposed. Moreover, milk and creep feed diets show a great reward contrast that may accelerate learning extinction. Results of the present and previous experiments suggest that current flavor continuity strategies that are proposed for pig production systems need to be reconsidered.

KEYWORDS:

Creep feeding; flavors; learning; piglet performance; prenatal exposure

PMID:
31717648
DOI:
10.3390/ani9110944
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