Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 409654
Title Learning how to eat like a pig: effectiveness of mechanisms for vertical social learning in piglets
Author(s) Oostindjer, M.; Bolhuis, J.E.; Mendl, M.; Held, S.; Brand, H. van den; Kemp, B.
Source Animal Behaviour 82 (2011)3. - ISSN 0003-3472 - p. 503 - 511.
Department(s) Adaptation Physiology
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2011
Keyword(s) ranging domestic pigs - newly weaned piglets - flavor preferences - food preferences - environmental enrichment - stimulus enhancement - local enhancement - rat pups - behavior - transmission
Abstract We investigated which mechanisms of learning about foraging from the mother are important in piglets, Sus scrofa. The first experiment compared observation of the sow versus participation during eating. Piglet pairs could observe (observation piglets) or participate (participation piglets) with the sow while she was eating a flavoured feed in a test room for 10 min/day for 5 days. Piglet pairs that could eat food without cues from the sow and control piglets that had neither cues nor food were also exposed to the test room with their sow present but unable to eat. Piglets were tested over 3 days for 90 min/day and could choose between the sow’s food and another flavoured food. Observation and participation piglets showed shorter latencies to eat and higher consumption of, and preference for, the flavour eaten by the sow than control and no-cue piglets. The second experiment compared local versus stimulus enhancement. Piglets observed the sow eating a flavoured feed from one of two feeders on different sides of the room for 10 min/day for 5 days. During the test phase there was a match or mismatch between location and the flavoured food eaten by the sow. Match piglets showed more behaviour towards, and a higher consumption from, the feeder where the sow was eating, while this was not true for mismatch piglets, suggesting a role of both local and stimulus enhancement. Observation, participation, local and stimulus enhancement thus all seem important for piglets to learn from the sow
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