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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Presence of a Familiar Odourant Accelerates Acceptance of Novel Food in Domestic Chicks

Published Web Location Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

A reluctance to accept unfamiliar foods can damage chickens’ welfare and performance. In the present study, chicks were reared on a mash diet presented in hoppers treated with vanillin and acclimatized to a regime of brief food withdrawal and return. At 8 days of age they were presented with the same food in an unfamiliar form (crumbs) when the hoppers had been treated with either vanillin or water. The presence of the familiar odourant accelerated feeding and increased food consumption over a 30 min test. The results are discussed in terms of impaired food recognition, neophobia, and the strategic relevance of olfactory therapy.

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