Document Detail

Adaption of horses to a novel dynamic feeding system: Movement and behavioural responses.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23216599     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
REASONS FOR PERFORMING STUDY: Many domestic horses and ponies are sedentary and obese due to confinement to small paddocks and stables and a diet of infrequent, high-energy rations. Severe health consequences can be associated with this altered lifestyle. OBJECTIVES: The aims of this study were to investigate the ability of horses to learn to use a dynamic feeder system and determine the movement and behavioural responses of horses to the novel system. METHODS: A dynamic feed station was developed to encourage horses to exercise in order to access ad libitum hay. Five pairs of horses (n = 10) were studied using a randomised crossover design with each pair studied in a control paddock containing a standard hay feeder and an experimental paddock containing the novel hay feeder. Horse movement was monitored by a global positioning system (GPS) and horses observed and their ability to learn to use the system and the behavioural responses to its use assessed. RESULTS: With initial human intervention all horses used the novel feeder within 1 h. Some aggressive behaviour was observed between horses not well matched in dominance behaviour. The median distance walked by the horses was less (P = 0.002) during a 4 h period (117 [57-185] m) in the control paddock than in the experimental paddock (630 [509-719] m). CONCLUSIONS: The use of an automated feeding system promotes increased activity levels in horses housed in small paddocks, compared with a stationary feeder. POTENTIAL RELEVANCE: The novel feeder system may have application in the husbandry of horses and ponies kept in small paddocks by encouraging a natural pattern of exercise without human intervention and an ad libitum diet of hay. This may improve the health and welfare of horses.
B A Hampson; M A de Laat; J Monot; D Bailliu; C C Pollitt
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-10-11
Journal Detail:
Title:  Equine veterinary journal     Volume:  -     ISSN:  2042-3306     ISO Abbreviation:  Equine Vet. J.     Publication Date:  2012 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-12-10     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0173320     Medline TA:  Equine Vet J     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
© 2012 EVJ Ltd.
The Australian Brumby Research Unit, School of Veterinary Science, The University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia.
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