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Author Bailey, D url  openurl
  Title Dominance Hierarchies in Horses: Comparing and Contrasting Different Methods for Assessing Hierarchies Type Journal Article
  Year 2016 Publication Ursidae: The Undergraduate Research Journal at the University of Northern Colorado Abbreviated Journal  
  Volume 5 Issue 3 Pages  
  Keywords  
  Abstract Understanding animal social structures is imperative when it comes to the care, housing and handling of large herd animals. Knowing how hierarchies are structured, along with environmental and physiological aspects that may affect them, will allow owners and breeders to house and care for their animals. The aim of my study was to better understand two methods used to assess dominance hierarchies in horses, Equus caballus, and to predict which method would be more useful for owners housing domestic horses. I designed an experiment where I compared a structured method, the paired feeding test, with behavioral observations from the horses’ natural setting. I hypothesized that the structured method would not conclude the same dominance hierarchy as the natural observations. I also hypothesized that traits of the horses, such as size or age, would correlate with the hierarchy ranking within a herd. A herd of six individual horses from a small ranch east of Platteville, Colorado was used to test the two methods. I found that the two methods measured different hierarchies. The paired feeding test showed no correlations to any of the physical measurements, as well as did not provide a hierarchy that was similar to the natural dominance observations of the horses. Natural observations established a more linear hierarchy and had significant correlations with weight and overall body size. The results indicate that the paired feeding test may not be a valid method for establishing dominance hierarchies within domestic horses housed in a small range.

I recommend use of natural observations over paired feeding tests for ranchers, breeders or owners trying to understand the dominance hierarchies among their herds.
 
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  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 6204  
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Author Löckener, S.; Reese, S.; Erhard, M.; Wöhr, A.-C. url  doi
openurl 
  Title Pasturing in herds after housing in horseboxes induces a positive cognitive bias in horses Type Journal Article
  Year 2016 Publication Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research Abbreviated Journal  
  Volume 11 Issue Pages 50-55  
  Keywords judgment bias; affect; environmental enrichment; well-being; discrimination task; horse  
  Abstract Abstract Horses are kept in various housing systems, for example, with conspecifics in horse pens or singly in horseboxes, with or without pasturing. To provide appropriate living conditions for horses, it is necessary to know in which conditions they feel well or unwell. Here, a cognitive bias assessment provides information about an individual's affective state and its well-being. When a positive affective state prevails, animals tend to judge optimistically in ambiguous situations. When a negative affective state prevails, animals judge pessimistically in unclear situations. In the present study, we trained horses on a spatial discrimination task and evaluated their judgment of ambiguous locations when they had access to pastures and contact to conspecifics versus when they were kept singly in horseboxes. Ten days of pasturing and contact with conspecifics after being kept singly in horseboxes for 6 months induced a positive cognitive bias in the horses. We suggest that horses need to act out certain behaviors like exploration, social interaction, play, or grooming to fulfill their needs. After a time in which they were individually in horseboxes without pasturing and access to the herd, they seem to have a positive cognitive bias once they have access to pastures and conspecifics. This positive cognitive bias effect seems to disappear over time, as horses appear to adapt to the circumstances.  
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  ISSN 1558-7878 ISBN Medium  
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  Notes Approved no  
  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 6024  
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Author Brubaker, L.; Udell, M.A.R. url  doi
openurl 
  Title Cognition and learning in horses (Equus caballus): What we know and why we should ask more Type Journal Article
  Year 2016 Publication Behavioural Processes Abbreviated Journal  
  Volume 126 Issue Pages 121-131  
  Keywords Horse behaviour; Horse welfare; Learning; Social cognition  
  Abstract Abstract Horses (Equus caballus) have a rich history in their relationship with humans. Across different cultures and eras they have been utilized for work, show, cultural rituals, consumption, therapy, and companionship and continue to serve in many of these roles today. As one of the most commonly trained domestic animals, understanding how horses learn and how their relationship with humans and other horses impacts their ability to learn has implications for horse welfare, training, husbandry and management. Given that unlike dogs and cats, domesticated horses have evolved from prey animals, the horse-human relationship poses interesting and unique scientific questions of theoretical value. There is still much to be learned about the cognition and behaviour of horses from a scientific perspective. This review explores current research within three related areas of horse cognition: human-horse interactions, social learning and independent learning in horses. Research on these topics is summarized and suggestions for future research are provided.  
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  ISSN 0376-6357 ISBN Medium  
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  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 6021  
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Author Rochais, C.; Henry, S.; Fureix, C.; Hausberger, M. url  doi
openurl 
  Title Investigating attentional processes in depressive-like domestic horses (Equus caballus) Type Journal Article
  Year 2016 Publication Behavioural Processes Abbreviated Journal  
  Volume 124 Issue Pages 93-96  
  Keywords Horses; Attention; Cognition; Welfare; Depression  
  Abstract Abstract Some captive/domestic animals respond to confinement by becoming inactive and unresponsive to external stimuli. Human inactivity is one of the behavioural markers of clinical depression, a mental disorder diagnosed by the co-occurrence of symptoms including deficit in selective attention. Some riding horses display ‘withdrawn’ states of inactivity and low responsiveness to stimuli that resemble the reduced engagement with their environment of some depressed patients. We hypothesized that ‘withdrawn’ horses experience a depressive-like state and evaluated their level of attention by confronting them with auditory stimuli. Five novel auditory stimuli were broadcasted to 27 horses, including 12 ‘withdrawn’ horses, for 5 days. The horses’ reactions and durations of attention were recorded. Non-withdrawn horses reacted more and their attention lasted longer than that of withdrawn horses on the first day, but their durations of attention decreased over days, but those of withdrawn horses remained stable. These results suggest that the withdrawn horses’ selective attention is altered, adding to already evidenced common features between this horses’ state and human depression.  
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  ISSN 0376-6357 ISBN Medium  
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  Notes Approved no  
  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 6023  
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Author Mejdell, C.M.; Buvik, T.; Jørgensen, G.H.M.; Bøe, K.E. url  doi
openurl 
  Title Horses can learn to use symbols to communicate their preferences Type Journal Article
  Year 2016 Publication Applied Animal Behaviour Science Abbreviated Journal Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci.  
  Volume 184 Issue Pages 66-73  
  Keywords Operant conditioning; Blanket; Rug; Thermoregulation; Cognition; Clicker training  
  Abstract Abstract This paper describes a method in which horses learn to communicate by touching different neutral visual symbols, in order to tell the handler whether they want to have a blanket on or not. Horses were trained for 10–15 min per day, following a training program comprising ten steps in a strategic order. Reward based operant conditioning was used to teach horses to approach and touch a board, and to understand the meaning of three different symbols. Heat and cold challenges were performed to help learning and to check level of understanding. At certain stages, a learning criterion of correct responses for 8–14 successive trials had to be achieved before proceeding. After introducing the free choice situation, on average at training day 11, the horse could choose between a “no change” symbol and the symbol for either “blanket on” or “blanket off” depending on whether the horse already wore a blanket or not. A cut off point for performance or non-performance was set to day 14, and 23/23 horses successfully learned the task within this limit. Horses of warm-blood type needed fewer training days to reach criterion than cold-bloods (P < 0.05). Horses were then tested under differing weather conditions. Results show that choices made, i.e. the symbol touched, was not random but dependent on weather. Horses chose to stay without a blanket in nice weather, and they chose to have a blanket on when the weather was wet, windy and cold (χ2 = 36.67, P < 0.005). This indicates that horses both had an understanding of the consequence of their choice on own thermal comfort, and that they successfully had learned to communicate their preference by using the symbols. The method represents a novel tool for studying preferences in horses.  
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  ISSN 0168-1591 ISBN Medium  
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  Notes Approved no  
  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 6022  
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Author Koistinen, T.; Korhonen, H.T.; Hämäläinen, E.; Mononen, J. url  doi
openurl 
  Title Blue foxes' (Vulpes lagopus) motivation to gain access and interact with various resources Type Journal Article
  Year 2016 Publication Applied Animal Behaviour Science Abbreviated Journal Appl. Anim. Behav. Sci.  
  Volume 176 Issue Pages 105-111  
  Keywords Cage; Enrichment; Fur farming; Latency  
  Abstract We analysed the willingness of blue foxes (Vulpes lagopus) to work for and utilise five resources: a platform, wooden block, sand floor, nest box and empty space. Ten juvenile blue fox males were housed singly in apparatus consisting of three cages connected with one-way doors through the walls in between the cages and subjected to work for each of the five resources, one at a time. The resource was placed in one of the outermost cages of the apparatus. Force needed to open the door leading to the resource cage was increased daily by 0.25 or 0.5kg. The number of daily entries, visit durations and interaction with the resource were recorded on workloads of 0, 0.5, 1.5, 2.5, 3.5, 5, 6.5, and 8kg of extra weight. The latency to start interacting with the resource after entering the resource cage was measured on a workload of 3.5kg. The mean number of daily entries in the resource and the other outermost, i.e. control cage varied from 7 to 28 and from 17 to 44, respectively. The increasing workload decreased the number of entries in the resource cage, increased those in the control cage (Linear Mixed Model: F1,638=79.5, P<0.001) and lengthened the visit durations in both cages (F1,642=7.2, P<0.01). The foxes made most (F4,643=9.0, P<0.001) and shortest (F4,641=2.8, P<0.05) visits to the outermost cages when the available resource was either a platform or empty space. The visit durations were longest when the available resource was a nest box. The foxes interacted regularly with the wooden block, but five foxes were not observed interacting with the platform. The nest box was utilised approximately 50% of the time spent in the resource cage, while the platform was utilised only 1-6% and wooden block 2-17% of the time. The mean latency to start interacting with the resource after entering the resource cage was shortest for the sand floor (8s) and longest for the platform (113s, F3,335=26.3, P<0.001). The results show that the foxes re-scheduled their activities on increasing workloads in the apparatus. Based on the number of entries and visit durations, blue foxes valued the wooden block, nest box and sand floor more than the platform or an empty cage. After entering the resource cage, the foxes started interacting fastest with the sand floor, showing high motivation to interact. After entering the resource cage, the foxes make use of the roof of the nest box more urgently than the interior of the nest box. Long bouts in the cage with nest box indicate resting behaviour.  
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  ISSN 0168-1591 ISBN Medium  
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  Notes Approved no  
  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 6166  
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Author Leliveld, L.M.C.; Düpjan, S.; Tuchscherer, A.; Puppe, B. url  doi
openurl 
  Title Behavioural and physiological measures indicate subtle variations in the emotional valence of young pigs Type Journal Article
  Year 2016 Publication Physiology & Behavior Abbreviated Journal Physiol. Behav.  
  Volume 157 Issue Pages 116-124  
  Keywords Emotion; Heart rate; Vocalisation; Emotional valence; Animal welfare; Domestic pig  
  Abstract Abstract In the study of animal emotions, emotional valence has been found to be difficult to measure. Many studies of farm animals' emotions have therefore focussed on the identification of indicators of strong, mainly negative, emotions. However, subtle variations in emotional valence, such as those caused by rather moderate differences in husbandry conditions, may also affect animals' mood and welfare when such variations occur consistently. In this study, we investigated whether repeated moderate aversive or rewarding events could lead to measurable differences in emotional valence in young, weaned pigs. We conditioned 105 female pigs in a test arena to either a repeated startling procedure (sudden noises or appearances of objects) or a repeated rewarding procedure (applesauce, toy and straw) over 11 sessions. Control pigs were also regularly exposed to the same test arena but without conditioning. Before and after conditioning, we measured heart rate and its variability as well as the behavioural reactions of the subjects in the test arena, with a special focus on detailed acoustic analyses of their vocalisations. The behavioural and heart rate measures were analysed as changes compared to the baseline values before conditioning. A limited number of the putative indicators of emotional valence were affected by the conditioning. We found that the negatively conditioned pigs showed changes that were significantly different from those in control pigs, namely a decrease in locomotion and an increase in standing. The positively conditioned pigs, however, showed a stronger increase in heart rate and a smaller decrease in SDNN (a heart rate variability parameter indicating changes in autonomic regulation) compared to the controls. Compared to the negatively conditioned pigs, the positively conditioned pigs produced fewer vocalisations overall as well as fewer low-frequency grunts but more high-frequency grunts. The low-frequency grunts of the negatively conditioned pigs also showed lower frequency parameters (bandwidth, maximum frequency, 25% and 50% quartiles) compared to those of the positively conditioned pigs. In any of the statistically significant results, the conditioning accounted for 1.5–11.9% of variability in the outcome variable. Hence, we conclude that repeated moderate aversive and rewarding events have weak but measurable effects on some aspects of behaviour and physiology in young pigs, possibly indicating changes in emotional valence, which could ultimately affect their welfare. The combination of ethophysiological indicators, i.e., the concurrent examination of heart rate measures, behavioural responses and especially vocalisation patterns, as used in the current study, might be a useful way of examining subtle effects on emotional valence in further studies.  
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  ISSN 0031-9384 ISBN Medium  
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  Notes Approved no  
  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 6017  
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Author Chapron, G.; Treves, A. url  doi
openurl 
  Title Blood does not buy goodwill: allowing culling increases poaching of a large carnivore Type Journal Article
  Year 2016 Publication Proc Biol Sci Abbreviated Journal Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B  
  Volume 283 Issue 1830 Pages  
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  Abstract Quantifying environmental crime and the effectiveness of policy interventions is difficult because perpetrators typically conceal evidence. To prevent illegal uses of natural resources, such as poaching endangered species, governments have advocated granting policy flexibility to local authorities by liberalizing culling or hunting of large carnivores. We present the first quantitative evaluation of the hypothesis that liberalizing culling will reduce poaching and improve population status of an endangered carnivore. We show that allowing wolf (Canis lupus) culling was substantially more likely to increase poaching than reduce it. Replicated, quasi-experimental changes in wolf policies in Wisconsin and Michigan, USA, revealed that a repeated policy signal to allow state culling triggered repeated slowdowns in wolf population growth, irrespective of the policy implementation measured as the number of wolves killed. The most likely explanation for these slowdowns was poaching and alternative explanations found no support. When the government kills a protected species, the perceived value of each individual of that species may decline; so liberalizing wolf culling may have sent a negative message about the value of wolves or acceptability of poaching. Our results suggest that granting management flexibility for endangered species to address illegal behaviour may instead promote such behaviour.  
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  Notes Approved no  
  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 6379  
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Author Smolla, M.; Alem, S.; Chittka, L.; Shultz, S. url  doi
openurl 
  Title Copy-when-uncertain: bumblebees rely on social information when rewards are highly variable Type Journal Article
  Year 2016 Publication Biology letters Abbreviated Journal Biol. Lett.  
  Volume 12 Issue 6 Pages  
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  Abstract To understand the relative benefits of social and personal information use in foraging decisions, we developed an agent-based model of social learning that predicts social information should be more adaptive where resources are highly variable and personal information where resources vary little. We tested our predictions with bumblebees and found that foragers relied more on social information when resources were variable than when they were not. We then investigated whether socially salient cues are used preferentially over non-social ones in variable environments. Although bees clearly used social cues in highly variable environments, under the same conditions they did not use non-social cues. These results suggest that bumblebees use a 'copy-when-uncertain' strategy.  
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  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 6198  
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Author Smith, A.V.; Proops, L.; Grounds, K.; Wathan, J.; McComb, K. url  doi
openurl 
  Title Functionally relevant responses to human facial expressions of emotion in the domestic horse (Equus caballus) Type Journal Article
  Year 2016 Publication Biology Letters Abbreviated Journal Biol. Lett.  
  Volume 12 Issue 2 Pages  
  Keywords  
  Abstract Whether non-human animals can recognize human signals, including emotions, has both scientific and applied importance, and is particularly relevant for domesticated species. This study presents the first evidence of horses' abilities to spontaneously discriminate between positive (happy) and negative (angry) human facial expressions in photographs. Our results showed that the angry faces induced responses indicative of a functional understanding of the stimuli: horses displayed a left-gaze bias (a lateralization generally associated with stimuli perceived as negative) and a quicker increase in heart rate (HR) towards these photographs. Such lateralized responses towards human emotion have previously only been documented in dogs, and effects of facial expressions on HR have not been shown in any heterospecific studies. Alongside the insights that these findings provide into interspecific communication, they raise interesting questions about the generality and adaptiveness of emotional expression and perception across species.  
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  Notes Approved no  
  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 6010  
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