A preliminary investigation into the effect of ad libitum or restricted hay with or without Horslyx on the intake and switching behaviour of normal and cribbitinghorses

Moore-Colyer, M, Hemmings, A and Hewer, N (2015) A preliminary investigation into the effect of ad libitum or restricted hay with or without Horslyx on the intake and switching behaviour of normal and cribbitinghorses. Livestock Science. pp. 59-62.

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Abstract

In an attempt to reduce’fibre-belly’ and prevent obesity in horse smany owners restrict access to hay in the stable. Such restrictions can lead to digestive disturbances and promote the development of ste- reo typic behaviours. The objectives of this experiment were to determine if ad libitum or restricted forage with or without the molassesbased lick,Horslyx,would alter the behaviour in a group of normal and confirmed stereotypic horses. Two Randomised Block Design trials were conducted simultaneously.Group A consisted of 3 crib- biters and 1 normal horse,while group B contained 4non-stereotypic (normal) horses.Horses were individually housed in 10�12 foot boxes and bedded on dust-extracted shavings with water available ad libitum. Diets were ad libitum hay, ad libitum hayþ Horslyx, restricted hay,and restricted hayþ Horslyx. For two days of each collection period every horse was individually observed,and andthe program completed for ½ h 3x/day¼ 6 observation sessions for each horse.Switching behaviour and data for hay and lick intakes were averaged across the 5days of collection and subjected to Friedman's non-parametric ANOVA with horse,diet and behaviour as fixed factors. Ad libitum or restricted forage or thepresence of a Horslyx had no significant impact o nhorse be- haviour.Crib-biting horses tended to consume lesshay 8.81(73.60) kg/d and more Horslyx 1.10 (70.38) kg/d compared with normal horses who consumed more hay at 11.72(74.59) kg/d and less Horslyx at 1.01(70.45) kg/d respectively,but there was no significant differences between the groups. Crib-biting horses switched behaviour(eating,licking,cribbing,drinking,and looking over the door resting) an average of 40 times more during the 30 min observation sessions than normal horses.Crib- biting horses also licked th eHorslyx 1.5times more than normal horses. These results confirmed that stereotypic animals are addicted to the reward of the dopamine release, achieved by the action of crib biting,and are thus not influenced by ad libitum forage or access to a stable lick. The 4fold increase in switching behaviour and additional licking by the crib-biting horses suggests an increased transmission of the neurotransmitter dopamine and in this regard licking may promote coping in certain environmental circumstances. The results of this study suggest that providing a lick in the stable for crib-biting horses gives them another activity to the normal forage consumption and resting actions and may provide another me- chanism for dopamine release and thus enhance their ‘coping’ strategy when confined in stables.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Stereotypy Horslyx Behaviour Feed intake Horse
Depositing User: Prof Meriel Moore-Colyer
Date Deposited: 17 Mar 2017 15:52
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2020 16:16
URI: http://rau.repository.guildhe.ac.uk/id/eprint/15496

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