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Factors associated with the prevalence of stereotypic behaviour amongst Thoroughbred horses passing through auctioneer sales

By D. S. Mills, R. D. Alston, V. Rogers, N. T. Longford

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Abstract

The objective of this study was to evaluate whether sex, age and/or coat colour were associated with the occurrence of stereotypic behaviour in the horse and to assess whether the occurrence of one type of stereotypy in an individual was associated with the occurrence of another specific type of stereotypy. The incidence of stereotypic boxwalking, weaving (both locomotor stereotypies) and oral stereotypy in 4061 Thoroughbred horses passing through 5 bloodstock auctions were recorded from sale declarations and information on returns. An overall prevalence of 5.1% was recorded, and varied with sex (P0.001) and age (P0.001) but not coat colour (P=0.495). Prevalence was higher in females, geldings, and 2-year-olds. Examination of the assumption that stereotypies are acquired independently suggested a higher than expected prevalence of animals with more than one stereotypy. The interaction was not the same for all forms of stereotypy recorded. The effect was greatest between boxwalking and weaving, (odds ratio 13.6) whilst combinations involving oral and locomotor stereotypies had lower odds ratios (between 2.9 and 4.9).

Date 2002
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 78
Issue 2/4
Pages 115-124
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/S0168-1591(02)00096-5
Language English
Author Address Animal Behaviour, Cognition and Welfare Group, Faculty of Applied Sciences, De Montfort University Lincoln, Caythorpe, Lincs NG32 3EP, UK.dmills@dmu.ac.uk
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Tags
  1. Abnormal behavior
  2. Age
  3. Animal behavior
  4. Animal roles
  5. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  6. Color
  7. Deviant behavior
  8. Horses
  9. Mammals
  10. Prevalence
  11. sex differences
  12. Working animals