Browsing Journal of Range Management, Volume 42, Number 6 (November 1989) by Subjects
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Association of relative food availabilities and locations by cattleFour yearling steers were trained and observed in a parallel-arm maze. The purpose was to determine if cattle had the ability to associate locations with relative food availabilities. The study consisted of 3 phases. In phase 1, all 5 arms contained 0.4 kg of grain. In phase 2, the amount of grain in each arm was systematically varied from 0.1 to 0.8 kg. In phase 3, placement of grain was reversed. Steers performed efficiently in all 3 phases of the study. The overall-mean number of correct choices in the first 5 entrances was 4.69 as compared to 3.73 by chance. Arms selected for choices 2, 3, and 4 during the last 5 trials of phase 2 were different (P<0.05) from those selected during the last 5 trials of phase 3. For the last 5 trials of phases of 2 and 3, arms selected in choices 1, 2, and 3 contained 0.4, 0.6 and 0.8 kg of grain on 85% of the trials. Steers appeared to order their choices from larger to smaller rewards. Steers apparently can remember not only where they have foraged, but also the amount of food found there.