Tiergerechtheit von Futterabrufstationen in der Gruppenhaltung von Pferden: Teil 2: Abrufautomaten im Vergleich

Translated title of the contribution: Automatic feeding systems for horses in group housing systems with regard to animal welfare. Part 2: Comparison of different automatic feeding systems

M. H. Zeitler-Feicht, S. Streit, L. Dempfle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Comparison with regard to animal welfare of different automatic feeding systems for hay and concentrate in group housing systems for horses using parameters of ethology and physiology. Material and methods: Parameters of research comprised: duration of stay, frequency of visit, threatening behaviour with and without risk of injury, and avoiding behaviour as well as heart rate and injuries of the integument. 452 horses were observed at the feeding area of 32 run-out-sheds. Every group of horses was continuously observed following the pie chart system for 24 hours. Results: The "walk-through" station significantly reduced the number of conflicts in the feeding area, whereas those systems which are appropriate for the feeding horses (feeding station with access barrier and without stimulation device by electric shock) led to a higher frequency of visits and a longer duration of stay resulting in more threatening gestures. However, the number of negative interactions in the feeding area of the feeding systems can all together be classified as relatively insignificant. The heart rate was within the physiological range (45.1 ± 12.42 beats/min) in the waiting area, but increased by approximately 20 beats/min on average within the feeding station. Some horses showed a very high heart rate (≥ 100 beats/min) while entering the feeding station, possibly stress-related. There were no injuries of the integument associated with the feeding systems. The most important factor of the observation criteria was the individual group housing system with its different dimensions, conception and management. Conclusion: "Walk-through" stations are better than "walk-back" stations with regard to animal welfare. Likewise, automatic feeding stations with a current-carrying stimulation device are not supportive of good welfare. The other differences between the constructions of feeding stations of present systems are probably of less importance, particularly as it was shown that the stable (management, stable area, conception) had a significant influence on the surveyed parameters. Investigations to obtain information on the cause for the sporadic occurrence of very high heart rate values should be undertaken.

Translated title of the contributionAutomatic feeding systems for horses in group housing systems with regard to animal welfare. Part 2: Comparison of different automatic feeding systems
Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)33-40
Number of pages8
JournalTierarztliche Praxis Ausgabe G: Grosstiere - Nutztiere
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

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