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The effect of a neighbouring conspecific versus the use of a mirror for the control of stereotypic weaving behaviour in the stabled horse

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 August 2016

D.S. Mills
Affiliation:
Animal Behaviour, Cognition and Welfare Group, De Montfort University Lincoln, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Caythorpe Campus, Lincolnshire NG32 3EP, UK
K. Davenport
Affiliation:
Animal Behaviour, Cognition and Welfare Group, De Montfort University Lincoln, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Caythorpe Campus, Lincolnshire NG32 3EP, UK
Corresponding
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Abstract

Weaving behaviour involves the repetitive lateral swaying of the head, neck, forequarters and sometimes hindquarters of the horse and is generally believed to be indicative of poor welfare. The behaviour of six known weavers was recorded three times a day for 5 days in each of three different stable designs. These were a conventional loose-box, a conventional loose-box with a 1 m2 acrylic mirror and a conventional loose-box in which there was a grilled 1 m2 side window separating the resident horse from a non-weaving conspecific in an adjacent stable. Weaving and other stereotypic behaviours were significantly higher in the unmodified stable and during the late afternoon observation period. There was no significant difference in the amount of stereotypic behaviour recorded in the two modified stables. Significant differences in the behaviour patterns and location of horses during the study suggest that activity engaging with either a visual image of a horse or a hay net is associated with a reduction in weaving and other repetitive activities in the stabled horse.

Type
Non-ruminant nutrition, behaviour and production
Copyright
Copyright © British Society of Animal Science 2002

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References

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