Olfactory cues mediate food selection by young chicks

Physiol Behav. 1994 Apr;55(4):761-7. doi: 10.1016/0031-9384(94)90057-4.


An illness-induced aversion paradigm was used to assess the possible influence of olfactory cues on food selection by young chicks. At 2-3 days posthatching, chicks were exposed briefly to food scented with a novel odor (orange) followed by an injection of LiCl or saline. LiCl-injected chicks subsequently displayed stronger avoidance of orange-scented food than did the controls. Chicks in a second experiment were preexposed to novel-scented food, then either injected with LiCl or not injected. The LiCl chicks, but not the controls, later avoided food associated with the preexposure odor (relative to food treated with an unfamiliar odorant). Two- to three-day-old chicks are capable of associating specific food odors with negative consequences and modify their feeding behavior as a function of such experience.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Appetitive Behavior
  • Association Learning
  • Avoidance Learning
  • Chickens*
  • Color Perception
  • Conditioning, Classical
  • Food Preferences / psychology*
  • Lithium Chloride / toxicity
  • Smell*
  • Taste


  • Lithium Chloride