A foraging device for horses was developed by modifying the 'Edinburgh Foodball' (British Patent Application 9200499.3). The Foodball comprised a cylinder shaped casing with a feed dispensing hole and an internal feed store. Five Standardbred, individually stabled horses were observed in their stable under normal management practices for 3 consecutive days. During the following 5 consecutive days, the Foodball containing 4 kg of a high-fibre pelleted diet was introduced to the horses and was refilled morning and evening. Horses were observed for the following 3 consecutive days after the Foodball had been removed. Horses were videotaped between 19:00 and 12:00 h for the duration of the experiment and behavioural data were collected by time sampling every 2 min. The horses were kept outside for 7 h per day to allow exercising and grazing. Except for one horse, all horses spent >0.14 of their time using the Foodball in a manner resembling normal foraging behaviour. The use of the Foodball was associated with significant decreases in ingesting concentrates, moving, standing and nosing the bedding. All behaviours, except for defaecation and urination were significantly affected by time of day. It was concluded that the change in the overall time budget of horses was more comparable with that of their free ranging counterparts, which is indicative of good animal welfare.
|Publication Title||Applied Animal Behaviour Science|
|Author Address||IERM, University of Edinburgh, King's Buildings, West Mains Road, Edinburgh EH9 3JG, UK.|
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