Category: ASAS UNDERGRADUATE STUDENT POSTER COMPETITION
PSIV-30 - The influence of oil-based palatants on eating behavior in gestating mares
Tuesday, July 21, 2020
7:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Location: Poster Sessions
Gustatory and olfactory changes have been reported during gestation across multiple species. However, few data are available regarding feeding preferences of gestating mares. The objective of this research was to evaluate the effect of oil-based palatants in late term gestating mares. Gestating mares (n = 5) and reproductively sound open mares (n=5) were evaluated via paired preference testing over five test periods conducted within the final 4 months of gestation. Oil-based flavors (corn oil, anise, and apple) were topically applied to a basal pelleted diet (0.375 ml/0.23 kg). Diets were offered simultaneously using a ground level feeding platform within individual box stalls. Mares were allowed 20 minutes for olfactory or gustatory interaction. Olfactory interactions were characterized by periods of sniffing the diet without consumption. Gustatory interactions were characterized by periods of consumption including intake and mastication. Behaviors assessed included: First diet sniffed, consumed, and finished; Time until each treatment was finished; Time to finish first diet; Time to finish all diets , as well as number of olfaction and consumption interactions for each diet. Data were analyzed using PROC FREQ and repeated measures command of PROC MIXED in SAS version 9.4. Data analysis reveals a 15% faster consumption of the control diet in gestating mares (P = 0.04), as well as a 17% faster time to finish their first diet (P = 0.02). Interestingly, pregnant mares had a higher number of olfactory interactions for all diets (P < 0.01), but less consumption interactions for control (P < 0.01) and anise (P = 0.02) diets. These novel data suggest a previously unreported heightened olfactory assessment in gestating mares as well as new insights to gestational feeding behaviors.