Thoroughbred bedding preferences, associated behaviour differences and their implications for equine welfare

Mills, Daniel and Eckley, S. and Cooper, J. J. (2000) Thoroughbred bedding preferences, associated behaviour differences and their implications for equine welfare. Animal Science, 70 (1). pp. 95-106. ISSN 1357-7298

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Abstract

Choice tests are an effective means of assessing the short-term environmental preferences of captive animals. The preferences shown by eight thoroughbred horses (Equus caballus) for three commonly used bedding materials (paper, straw and shavings) were investigated. For each preference test two choices were presented in separate boxes joined by an imbedded corridor. Time spent in each compartment and associated behaviours were recorded. Despite a positional bias, horses clearly showed a preference for straw bedding (42·9 (s.e. 3·6) ) over shavings (35·-2 (s.e. 3·4) %, P < 0·05;, straw (42·0 (s.e. 3·7)% ) over paper (29·3 (s.e. 3·4) %, P < 0·05) and shavings (41·6 (s.e. 4·3) %) over paper (27·7 (s.e. 3·7)% , P < 0·001) based on percentage of observed time spent on the substrate. Straw bedding increased the occurrence of bedding related activities, with more of these activities in choices where straw was available (P < 0·001) and in these choices the activities being preferentially expressed in the straw alternative (P < 0·001). Straw may therefore be preferred as it allows the expression of a wider number of motivationally significant activities. © 2000 British Society of Animal Science.

Keywords:animal housing, Bedding, behaviour, horses
Subjects:D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D422 Equine studies
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D210 Clinical Veterinary Medicine
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
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ID Code:9103
Deposited On:03 May 2013 09:35

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