Conditioned taste aversion (CTA) is a useful tool to modify animal feed preferences, allowing the implementation of selective grazing to control weeds in tree orchards without damaging the trees or affecting fruit production. LiCl is commonly used for inducing CTA. However, studies investigating the long-term persistence of CTA by LiCl in small ruminants are scarce. With this aim, we evaluated the efficiency of two LiCl doses (AV1 and AV2, 175 and 200 mg/kg BW, respectively) and a control (C, 0 mg/kg BW) for averting non-lactating dairy goats (n=15) to olive tree leaves. Aversion induction was reinforced on day 9 in those goats that consumed >10 g of olive leaves. Mid-term aversion effectiveness was assessed by five double-choice feeding tests (days 16, 24, 31, 38 and 53) of 30 min each, where 100 g of olive leaves were offered side-by-side with 390 g of Italian rye-grass (as-fed). Long-term aversion effectiveness was assessed in C, AV1 and AV2 goats by grazing for 30 min in paddocks with a simulated olive tree (days 59, 90, 121, 182 and 420). Moreover, C and AV2 goats were compared under on-field conditions (days 143, 211 and 363) in a commercial olive grove also for 30 min. The CTA proved to be established with a single LiCl dose in all goats and persisted for 4 and 55 days in AV1 and AV2 goats, respectively (P<0.001). However, 80% AV1 and 20% AV2 goats needed to be reinforced at day 9. When grazing under simulated olive tree and commercial olive grove conditions, the CTA goats, especially AV2 group, avoided the contact with the olive trees and minimally used a bipedal stance to feed leaves, than control goats. On average, time proportion spent consuming olive leaves and sprouts was much greater (P<0.05) for C (50.7±9.1%) than for AV1 (14.4±3.9%) and AV2 (3.1±0.9%). In conclusion, the 200 mg LiCl/kg BW dose was more effective than the 175 mg LiCl/kg BW dose for inducing an effective long-term CTA to olive tree leaves in goats.
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