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Learning of olfactory cues is not necessary for early lamb recognition by the mother.

Authors
  • Ferreira, G
  • Terrazas, A
  • Poindron, P
  • Nowak, R
  • Orgeur, P
  • Lévy, F
Type
Published Article
Journal
Physiology & Behavior
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2000
Volume
69
Issue
4-5
Pages
405–412
Identifiers
PMID: 10913778
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Ewes identify their young through the use of different sensory modalities. Olfactory recognition, which mediates selective acceptance at the udder, is established at 4 h postpartum (pp). Visual and auditory cues are involved in recognition at a distance, which is evident at 12 h pp. This study investigates whether anosmic ewes are able (a) to develop visual and auditory recognition and (b) to restore selective acceptance of their lamb at the udder. Visual and auditory recognition was assessed in anosmic and intact ewes at 12 h and 24 h pp by a test of two choices: their own and an alien lamb. Selectivity at allowing suckling was tested by presenting successively an alien and the familiar lamb at 4 h, 3 days, and 1 month pp. In the two-choice recognition test, at both 12 h and 24 h pp, anosmic as well as intact ewes showed a preference for their familiar lamb. Although anosmic ewes showed no difference in their acceptance of alien and familiar lambs for suckling at 4 h and 3 days pp, they nursed the alien lamb less at 1 month pp and showed more rejection behaviors toward it. Thus, visual, auditory, or both those types of recognition can be rapidly established, independent of olfactory recognition. Moreover, differential behavior of anosmic ewes toward their own versus an alien lamb at the udder at 1 month suggests that vision and audition may compensate to some extent for the loss of olfaction.

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