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Baumgartner, M., Boisson, T., Erhard, M. H., & Zeitler-Feicht, M. H. (2020). Common Feeding Practices Pose A Risk to the Welfare of Horses When Kept on Non-Edible Bedding. Animals, 10, 441.
Abstract: During the evolution of the horse, an extended period of feed intake, spread over the entire 24-h period, determined the horsesâ�� behaviour and physiology. Horses will not interrupt their feed intake for more than 4 h, if they have a choice. The aim of the present study was to investigate in what way restrictive feeding practices (non ad libitum) affect the horsesâ�� natural feed intake behaviour. We observed the feed intake behaviour of 104 horses on edible (n = 30) and non-edible bedding (n = 74) on ten different farms. We assessed the duration of the forced nocturnal feed intake interruption of horses housed on shavings when no additional roughage was available. Furthermore, we comparatively examined the feed intake behaviour of horses housed on edible versus non-edible bedding. The daily restrictive feeding of roughage (2 times a day: n = 8; 3 times a day: n = 2), as it is common in individual housing systems, resulted in a nocturnal feed intake interruption of more than 4 hours for the majority (74.32%, 55/74) of the horses on shavings (8:50 Â± 1:25 h, median: 8:45 h, minimum: 6:45 h, maximum: 13:23 h). In comparison to horses on straw, horses on shavings paused their feed intake less frequently and at a later latency. Furthermore, they spent less time on consuming the evening meal than horses on straw. Our results of the comparison of the feed-intake behaviour of horses on edible and non-edible bedding show that the horsesâ�� ethological feeding needs are not satisfied on non-edible bedding. If the horses accelerate their feed intake (also defined as â��rebound effectâ��), this might indicate that the horsesâ�� welfare is compromised. We conclude that in addition to the body condition score, the longest duration of feed intake interruption (usually in the night) is an important welfare indicator of horses that have limited access to roughage.
Benz, B., Münzing, C., Krueger, K., & Winter, D. (2014). Ethologische Untersuchung von Heuraufen in der Pferdehaltung [Ethological investigation of hayracks in equine husbandry]. Landtechnik, 69(5), 239–244.
Abstract: Eine tiergerechte, physiologisch und anatomisch auf die Bedürfnisse der Pferde ausgerichtete
Raufutterversorgung sollte die Kaubedürfnisse und die Beschäftigungszeiten von Pferden
ausreichend berücksichtigen. Daher – und auch aufgrund des bestehenden Kostendrucks bei
Raufutter – steigt das Interesse an Raufutterraufen, durch die möglicherweise die Futteraufnahmezeiten
verlängert sowie Futterverluste minimiert werden können.
Die vorliegende Untersuchung vergleicht das Fressverhalten und die Körperhaltung von acht
Pferden beim Einsatz von drei unterschiedlichen Futterraufen mit der Bodenfütterung in Einzelboxenhaltung.
Die Ergebnisse dieser Studie lassen den Schluss zu, dass der Einsatz von
Raufutterraufen die Futteraufnahmezeiten verlängert und somit längere Beschäftigungszeiten
für die Futteraufnahme gewährleistet werden. Außerdem konnte festgestellt werden, dass die
Pferde das Raufutter bei einer der drei untersuchten Raufen überwiegend mit natürlicher Kopf-
[Regarding the species horse, an appropriate supply of roughage should take into account the
need to chew as well as the need for occupation. In this context, and due to the current cost
pressure for hay, the interest in roughage racks increases. It is assumed that roughage racks
could help to extend the feeding time and reduce food losses.
The present study places the emphasis on the observation of the feeding behaviour of eight
horses in single horse boxes. Three different roughage racks are compared to traditional feeding
on the floor. On the basis of the results it may be concluded that the use of roughage racks
extends the feeding time and thus ensures longer occupation. In one of the three roughage
racks investigated the horses mainly eat in a natural posture of their head and neck.]
Krueger, K., Esch, L., Farmer, K., & Marr, I. (2021). Basic Needs in Horses?--A Literature Review. Animals, 11(6), 1798.
Abstract: Every animal species has particular environmental requirements that are essential for its welfare, and when these so-called “basic needs” are not fulfilled, the animals suffer. The basic needs of horses have been claimed to be social contact, social companionship, free movement and access to roughage. To assess whether horses suffer when one or more of the four proposed basic needs are restricted, we examined several studies (n = 38) that reported behavioural and physiological reactions to these restrictions. We assigned the studies according to the four types of responses investigated: (a) Stress, (b) Active, (c) Passive, and (d) Abnormal Behaviour. Furthermore, the number of studies indicating that horses reacted to the restrictions were compared with the number of studies reporting no reaction. The limited number of studies available on single management restrictions did not allow conclusions to be drawn on the effect of each restriction separately, especially in the case of social companionship. However, when combinations of social contact, free movement and access to roughage were restricted, many of the horses had developed responses consistent with suffering. Passive Responses, indicating acute suffering, and Abnormal Behaviour, indicating suffering currently or at some time in the past, were especially clearly demonstrated. This provides further evidence of the usefulness of assessing behavioural parameters in combination with physiological measurements when evaluating horse welfare. This meta-analysis of the literature confirms that it is justified to claim that social contact, free movement and access to roughage are basic needs in horses.