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Events around weaning in semi-feral and stable-reared Konik polski foals: evaluation of short-term physiological and behavioural responses

By A. Gorecka-Bruzda, M. Suwala, R. Palme, Z. Jaworski, E. Jastrzebska, M. Boron, T. Jezierski

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Abstract

The annual weaning, stabling and subsequent sale of semi-feral Konik polski foals born in forest reserves ensure a stable population of free-roaming Konik polski horses. However, welfare concerns regarding the maternal and herd separation of young horses, manipulation by humans, transportation and stabling of forest-reared Koniks have arisen. The aim of the present study was to examine the physiological and behavioural responses of weaned, 7-to-9-month-old forest-reared Konik polski foals (FR, N=26) relative to those of stable-reared peers (SR, N=27). Fifty-three weanlings (24 colts and 29 fillies) were studied. FR foals from five distinct herds were captured and transported and stabled together in loose-housing stables (FR weaning scheme). Three weeks later, SR foals were weaned by separating them from their dams and joining them with FR foals (SR weaning scheme). Faecal cortisol metabolites (FCM), which reflect adrenocortical activity on the day preceding weaning (WD -1) and on the day of weaning (WD), were analysed to evaluate the effect of weaning on FCM concentrations. The time budget over the 6 h following weaning on the day of weaning (WD) and one day post-weaning (WD +1) was recorded. Weaning caused a significant increase ( P

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 163
Pages 122-134
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
Publisher Elsevier
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2014.11.004
Language English
Author Address Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding, Polish Academy of Sciences, Postepu 36A, 05-552 Magdalenka, Poland.a.gorecka@ighz.pl
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Tags
  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal nutrition
  3. Animals
  4. Effect
  5. Evaluation
  6. Feces
  7. Feeding
  8. Feeding behavior
  9. Foals
  10. Glucocorticoids
  11. Horses
  12. Humans
  13. Hydrocortisone
  14. Mammals
  15. Men
  16. Metabolites
  17. peer-reviewed
  18. Primates
  19. stables
  20. transportation
  21. ungulates
  22. vertebrates
  23. weaning
Badges
  1. peer-reviewed