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Lexing, Isabelle and Östlund, Lydia, 2016. Hästens beteende i en aktiverande grupphästhållning. First cycle, G2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry (until 231231)



The horse is by nature a grazing prey and herd animal. Several studies indicate that traditional stabling with restricted feeding is not adequate to prevent stereotypic behaviour in horses. An active loose housing system allows horses to move more unobstructed in herds and to eat almost any hour of the day. This type of loose housing system is still new and therefore the horses’ behaviours haven’t been examined.

The aim of the study was to observe if horses prefer any area of the system, to study when they use the haylage feeding stations (HFS) during a 24-hour period and to study their behaviours in the zones close to the HFS. The three questions of the study were: Which areas do the horses prefer? During which time periods do the horses prefer to eat their haylage? And which behaviours do the horses perform in the zones around the HFS? The three hypothesises were that the horses prefer the area around the HFS and the shelter, that the horses prefer to eat their haylage during early morning and late afternoon and that the horses relax in the zones around the HFS. In the study 19 geldings were observed, all housed in the HIT Active Stable at Flyinge Equestrian center of Sweden. During a total of eight hours the horses’ preference of different areas in the system was registered by scanning every six minutes. The time the horses spent inside the HFS was analysed by dividing day and night into six four-hour periods. Data was then collected from a program (HorseKing) during four days and summarized for each period. All behaviours the horses performed in the zones close to the HFS were registered during a total of four hours. All collected data was compiled in Microsoft Excel and statistically analysed in SigmaStat version 3.5 (Systat Software 2006).

During the scanning the horses showed preference for the HFS area (on average 7.5±1.65 horses per scan) and the shelter (6.0 ±1.74). During morning the horses preferred the shelter and the HFS area significant (p<0,05) more than the other areas. During the afternoon the horses preferred the HFS area significant (p<0,05) more than the other areas. They also preferred the shelter significant (p<0,05) more than the other areas except the HFS area this time of day. In the 24-hour period the horses’ eating time were significantly (p<0.05) lower during the first period (08:00-12:00) than the other periods. The horses showed significant (p<0.05) higher frequency of agonistic behaviour than affiliative behaviour, eating waste from haylage, eating dung and interaction with equipment in the zones close to the HFS.

In conclusion, the horses in this study favour the HFS areas. They also favour the areas in the system differently depending on time of day. The horses prefer to eat their haylage more during the later hours of the day. The horses show more agonistic behaviour than other behaviours in the zones around the HFS. Our hypothesis about which areas the horses prefer can be approved; the other two hypothesises about which time periods the horses prefer to eat their haylage and which behaviours they show around the HFS can be rejected.

Main title:Hästens beteende i en aktiverande grupphästhållning
Authors:Lexing, Isabelle and Östlund, Lydia
Supervisor:Folestam, Sofia
Examiner:Sassner, Hanna
Series:Examensarbete på kandidatnivå / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Fakulteten för veterinärmedicin och husdjursvetenskap, Hippologenheten
Volume/Sequential designation:K64
Year of Publication:2016
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:VK004 Bachelor of Science in Equine Studies 180 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry (until 231231)
Keywords:Active Stable, inhysningssystem, grovfoderautomat, ättid, häst
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal husbandry
Animal ecology
Deposited On:02 Sep 2016 11:14
Metadata Last Modified:02 Sep 2016 11:14

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