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Author (up) Wyss, C. pdf  openurl
  Title Does housing in a „social box“ change faecal cortisol metabolites concentration in stallions? Type Conference Article
  Year 2015 Publication Proceedings of the 3. International Equine Science Meeting Abbreviated Journal Proc. 3. Int. Equine. Sci. Mtg  
  Volume Issue Pages  
  Keywords housing system, stallions, social interaction, stress, faecal cortisol metabolites  
  Abstract In order to improve the housing conditions of stallions in individual boxes by offering a possibility to have more social contact, the Swiss national stud farm tested a new box system for horses, allowing increased physical contact with the neighbouring stallion. The aim of this part of the study was to investigate whether this type of housing system (named “social box”) potentially induces a change in stress reactions in stallions compared to conventional boxes. Therefore faecal cortisol metabolite (FCM) concentration was measured as a non-invasive parameter to assess endocrine responses related to this new environment.
Four groups each consisting of eight adult Freiberger breeding stallions were included in the test design. Every stallion spent three weeks in a conventional box and in a social box respectively (cross-over design). The conventional box consisted of a separation wall with a lower opaque part and an upper part with vertical barriers (5 cm between barriers), allowing visual and olfactory contact but strongly limiting tactile contact. The separating wall of the social box consisted of two lateral sections, one part being opaque to the ceiling and the second part consisting of vertical barriers (30 cm between barriers), allowing the horse to have physical contact with its neighbour or to avoid it.
In horses, FCM concentration reflects an average level of circulating cortisol over a period of approximatively 24h. Faecal samples were collected the day following integration in social / conventional boxes, reflecting the potential stress induced by increased social interactions during the integration. In order to asses potential chronical stress, faeces samples were also collected in week one, two and three after the integration into the social / conventional box (in total: 4 samples per horse and housing system). The samples were immediately stored at -20°C until they were analysed. The samples were not analysed in the laboratory until the end of the experiment, therefore the duration of conservation in the freezer varied from 40 to 429 days.
A considerable percentage of data from groups 1 and 2 was below the detection limit (<0.8 ng/g) (Tab. 1). Thus the statistical analysis was conducted with the FCM concentration from groups 3 and 4 (n horses = 16) which contained no values below the detection limit.

Tab. 1: Details about FCM values and storage time for the 4 groups of stallions
Group Storage duration [d] Proportion of data below the detection limit (<0.8 ng/g) Mean [ng/g] Median [ng/g]
Group 1 384-429 55.6 % 2.2 0
Group 2 315-360 25.5 % 5.8 6.3
Group 3 41-79 0.0 % 8.7 8.0
Group 4 40-85 0.0 % 5.8 5.4

Despite the impressive social interactions observed between the stallions directly after being introduced into the social boxes, we did not find any differences in FCM concentration between the stallions being introduced into the conventional box and the social box on the day of integration (social box: n samples = 16, mean±SD: 6.9±4.7 ng/g; conventional box: n samples = 16, mean±SD: 9.0±11.2 ng/g; Wilcoxon signed rank test V = 70, p = 0.94).
Overall the samples taken during integration and in week one, two and three did not show evidence of changes in FCM concentration in either housing system over a longer period of time (social box: n samples = 64, mean±SD: 7.9±6.2 ng/g; conventional box: n samples = 64, mean±SD: 6.6±3.4 ng/g; Linear mixed model (LMM), p = 0.56).
Our results suggest that the possibility of having physical contact with a conspecific does not induce changes in FCM concentration in breeding stallions. The considerable percentage of values below the detection limit in groups 1 and 2 seemed to correlate with the increasing duration of storage before analysis. During the IESM Network Meeting 2015, we would like to discuss possible methodological issues and the possibilities to correctly integrate these low values in the statistical analysis.
 
  Address  
  Corporate Author Wyss, C. Thesis  
  Publisher Place of Publication Editor  
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  Series Editor Series Title Abbreviated Series Title  
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  ISSN ISBN Medium  
  Area Expedition Conference  
  Notes Approved no  
  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 5869  
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Author (up) Yarnell, K.; Hall, C.; Royle, C.; Walker, S.L. url  doi
openurl 
  Title Domesticated horses differ in their behavioural and physiological responses to isolated and group housing Type Journal Article
  Year 2015 Publication Physiology & Behavior Abbreviated Journal Physiol.Behav.  
  Volume 143 Issue Pages 51-57  
  Keywords Equine; Behaviour; Corticosterone; Housing  
  Abstract Abstract The predominant housing system used for domestic horses is individual stabling; however, housing that limits social interaction and requires the horse to live in semi-isolation has been reported to be a concern for equine welfare. The aim of the current study was to compare behavioural and physiological responses of domestic horses in different types of housing design that provided varying levels of social contact. Horses (n = 16) were divided equally into four groups and exposed to each of four housing treatments for a period of five days per treatment in a randomized block design. The four housing treatments used were single housed no physical contact (SHNC), single housed semi-contact (SHSC), paired housed full contact (PHFC) and group housed full contact (GHFC). During each housing treatment, adrenal activity was recorded using non-invasive faecal corticosterone metabolite analysis (fGC). Thermal images of the eye were captured and eye temperature was assessed as a non-invasive measure of the stress response. Behavioural analysis of time budget was carried out and an ease of handling score was assigned to each horse in each treatment using video footage. SHNC horses had significantly higher (p = 0.01) concentrations of fGC and were significantly (p = 0.003) more difficult to handle compared to the other housing types. GHFC horses, although not significantly different, had numerically lower concentrations of fGC and were more compliant to handling when compared to all other housing treatments. Eye temperature was significantly (p = 0.0001) lower in the group housed treatment when compared to all other treatments. These results indicate that based on physiological and behavioural measures incorporating social contact into the housing design of domestic horses could improve the standard of domestic equine welfare.  
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  Corporate Author Thesis  
  Publisher Place of Publication Editor  
  Language Summary Language Original Title  
  Series Editor Series Title Abbreviated Series Title  
  Series Volume Series Issue Edition  
  ISSN 0031-9384 ISBN Medium  
  Area Expedition Conference  
  Notes Approved no  
  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 5920  
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Author (up) Zhang, Y.; Cao, Q.S.; Rubenstein, D.I.; Zang, S.; Songer, M.; Leimgruber, P.; Chu, H.; Cao, J.; Li, K.; Hu, D. url  doi
openurl 
  Title Water Use Patterns of Sympatric Przewalski's Horse and Khulan: Interspecific Comparison Reveals Niche Differences Type Journal Article
  Year 2015 Publication Plos One Abbreviated Journal Plos One  
  Volume 10 Issue 7 Pages e0132094  
  Keywords  
  Abstract Acquiring water is essential for all animals, but doing so is most challenging for desert-living animals. Recently Przewalski's horse has been reintroduced to the desert area in China where the last wild surviving member of the species was seen before it vanished from China in the1960s. Its reintroduction placed it within the range of a close evolutionary relative, the con-generic Khulan. Determining whether or not these two species experience competition and whether or not such competition was responsible for the extinction of Przewalski's horses in the wild over 50 years ago, requires identifying the fundamental and realized niches of both species. We remotely monitored the presence of both species at a variety of water points during the dry season in Kalamaili Nature Reserve, Xinjiang, China. Przewalski's horses drank twice per day mostly during daylight hours at low salinity water sources while Khulans drank mostly at night usually at high salinity water points or those far from human residences. Spatial and temporal differences in water use enables coexistence, but suggest that Przewalski's horses also restrict the actions of Khulan. Such differences in both the fundamental and realized niches were associated with differences in physiological tolerances for saline water and human activity as well as differences in aggression and dominance.  
  Address  
  Corporate Author Thesis  
  Publisher Public Library of Science Place of Publication Editor  
  Language Summary Language Original Title  
  Series Editor Series Title Abbreviated Series Title  
  Series Volume Series Issue Edition  
  ISSN ISBN Medium  
  Area Expedition Conference  
  Notes Approved no  
  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 6377  
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