Three cafeteria feeding design experiments were conducted to test whether young ruminants have flavor preferences. Experiment 1 was with 11 Dorset × Suffolk weaned lambs of both sexes, aged 5 mo and averaging 47.5 (standard deviation = 5.8) kg of body weight. The lambs were offered a choice of 5 flavored concentrate premixes (FCP) and an unflavored control for 5 min 4 times over 10 d. The FCP were prepared by mixing 200 to 300 g/t (as-is basis) of synthetic flavors (vanilla, milky, spicy/fenugreek, red summer fruits, and molasses) into a basal diet. The unflavored control and the milky flavor were consumed in greater amounts than all other flavors at 83.9 and 65.8 g/test, respectively. The consumption rate of FCP (g/min) was similar among treatments. Lambs spent more time consuming the milky flavor and the control at 123 and 144 s/test, respectively, compared with all other FCP (average of 65 s/test). In experiment 2, 12 weaned female Holstein Friesian calves (56–68 d of age) averaging 75.8 kg (standard deviation = 8.45) of body weight were offered a choice of 4 FCP (vanilla, milky, spicy/fenugreek, and red summer fruits) at an inclusion rate of 150 to 200 g/t (as-is basis) and the unflavored control for 5 min 4 times over 10 d. The average consumption rate was 27.8 g/min, and there were no differences among FCP. In experiment 3, a choice of 4 FCP with 2 different flavor combinations (vanilla-fenugreek and milky-vanilla) included at 75 g/t (as-is basis; low) or 150 g/t (high) was offered to a total of 12 weaned female Holstein Friesian calves (47–62 d of age) with an average body weight of 65.3 kg (standard deviation = 7.91). The FCP were offered daily for 14 d for 30 to 60 min/d. Vanilla-fenugreek (low) was consumed less at 57.5 g/test per calf compared with the other FCP (average of 87.5 g/test per calf). There were no other differences among FCP in experiment 3. Overall, compared with the control, flavors used in the present experiments did not affect feed intake of weaned lambs and calves. Other factors, such as taste, sight, texture of the feed, effect of the dams as previous experience (via maternal ingestion, which influences neonatal feeding), and their interactions, may also play a role in flavor preferences of young ruminants.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology