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Ivarsson, Sofia, 2014. Hästens (Equus Caballus) ätbeteende då den för första gången får sin högiva beredd i ett slow-feednät. First cycle, G2E. Skara: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health



The horse's motivations to forage and eat are behaviors that horse owners should take into consideration when designing the horse's living environment. In today’s housing of horses, horses are often kept alone in boxes and paddocks and are fed with small amounts of energy-rich roughage. Problems that can arise with a shortened feeding-time and long periods of fasting are behavioral changes like stereotypic behaviors and an increased risk for ulcers. A solution to the short feeding-time is that you are feeding roughage in a small mesh hay net, or a so-called Slow-feed net. The Slow-feed nets began to be used recently by horse keepers to increase the feeding-time of horses. The usage of Slow-feed nets is new and there is lack of knowledge and studies about how the horses behave when they eat from a Slow-feed net. Frustration has been highlighted when horses restricts to eat from a Slow-feed net, a way that they are not used to.

The study was performed in stud Kilsviken, Kristinehamn, Sweden, were eight warm-blooded horses were used in the study that normally received forage four times per day. Once a day the horse's roughage was prepared in a Slow-feed net, the very first time for the horses. During the first thirty minutes behavioral observation was conducted, then the feeding-time for the horses were recorded when they ate hay from the floor and from a Slow-feed net. To measure the horse’s movement a pedometer was placed on a hind leg. The results showed a significantly lengthened feeding-time when they ate from Slow-feed nets compared to feeding-time on the floor. The results from the behavioral observation showed a tendency to a significant increase of frustration behavior day 1 whit Slow-feed nets compared to feeding on floor. The results from the pedometers showed a non-significant increase when feeding whit Slow-feed nets compared to feeding on floor.

Horses got a lengthened feeding-time when hay is prepared in a Slow-feed net and they have a tendency to get frustration when feeding whit a Slow-feed net. The lengthened feeding-time is positive for the horse's physiological and mental welfare and the Slow-feed net is a solution for today’s housing of horses. Even if horses have a tendency to get frustrated for a while it will not affect the horse's welfare negatively. They will learn to eat from Slow-feed nets after a few days. How the feeding behavior affects the horse muscles and inner stress when they eat from Slow-feed nets is not established in this study.

Main title:Hästens (Equus Caballus) ätbeteende då den för första gången får sin högiva beredd i ett slow-feednät
Authors:Ivarsson, Sofia
Supervisor:Loberg, Jenny
Examiner:Loberg, Johan
Series:Studentarbete / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för husdjurens miljö och hälsa
Volume/Sequential designation:598
Year of Publication:2014
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:VK002 Ethology and Animal Welfare - Bachelor's Programme 180 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Keywords:horse, frustration, feeding behaviour, thwarting of feeding behaviour, häst, ätbeteende, hö, slow-feednät
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Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal feeding
Deposited On:26 Mar 2015 11:19
Metadata Last Modified:26 Mar 2015 11:19

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