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24-h sheltering behaviour of individually kept horses during Swedish summer weather

Hartmann, Elke and Hopkins, Richard and Dahlborn, Kristina and Von Brömssen, Claudia (2015). 24-h sheltering behaviour of individually kept horses during Swedish summer weather. Acta veterinaria Scandinavica. 57, 1-9
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13028-015-0135-x

Abstract

Background: Provision of shelter for horses kept on summer pasture is rarely considered in welfare guidelines, perhaps because the benefits of shelter in warm conditions are poorly documented scientifically. For cattle, shade is a valued resource during summer and can mitigate the adverse effects of warm weather on well-being and performance. We found in a previous study that horses utilized shelters frequently in summer. A shelter with a roof and closed on three sides (shelter A) was preferred and can reduce insect pressure whereas a shelter with roof and open on three sides was not utilized. However, shelter A restricts the all-round view of a horse, which may be important for horses as flight animals. Therefore, we studied whether a shelter with roof, where only the upper half of the rear wall was closed (shelter B), would be utilized while maintaining insect protection properties and satisfying the horses' sense for security. A third shelter was offered with walls but no roof (shelter C) to evaluate whether the roof itself is an important feature from the horse's perspective. Eight Warmblood horses were tested each for 2 days, kept individually for 24 h in two paddocks with access to shelters A and B, or shelters A and C, respectively. Shelter use was recorded continuously during the night (1800-2400 h, 0200-0600 h) and the following day (0900-1600 h), and insect defensive behaviour (e.g., tail swish) in instantaneous scan samples at 5-min intervals during daytime.Results: Seven horses used both shelters A and B, but when given the choice between shelters A and C, shelter C was scarcely visited. There was no difference in duration of shelter use between night (105.8 +/- 53.6 min) and day (100.8 +/- 53.8, P = 0.829). Daytime shelter use had a significant effect on insect defensive behaviours (P = 0.027). The probability of performing these behaviours was lowest when horses used shelter A compared to being outside (P = 0.038).Conclusions: Horses only utilized shelters with a roof whilst a shelter with roof and closed on three sides had the best potential to lower insect disturbance during daytime in summer.

Authors/Creators:Hartmann, Elke and Hopkins, Richard and Dahlborn, Kristina and Von Brömssen, Claudia
Title:24-h sheltering behaviour of individually kept horses during Swedish summer weather
Series/Journal:Acta veterinaria Scandinavica (0044-605X)
Year of publishing :2015
Depositing date:10 March 2016
Volume:57
Page range:1-9
Number of Pages:9
Publisher:BioMed Central Ltd
ISSN:0044-605X
Language:English
Publication Type:Journal article
Refereed:Yes
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Full Text Status:Public
Agris subject categories.:L Animal production > L74 Miscellaneous animal disorders
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 4 Agricultural Sciences > 403 Veterinary Science > Other Veterinary Science
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Zoology
(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Behavioural Sciences Biology
Agrovoc terms:horses, animal performance, animal behaviour, warm season, Insecta, pastures
Keywords:Equine, Shelter, Behaviour, Weather, Insects
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-3307
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-e-3307
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
Web of Science (WoS)000359766900001
DOI10.1186/s13028-015-0135-x
ID Code:13142
Faculty:NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
VH - Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology

(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Economics
(VH) > Dept. of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:10 Mar 2016 10:36
Metadata Last Modified:10 Mar 2016 10:36

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