The ethological and physiological characteristics of cribbing and weaving horses

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Abstract

Data were gathered on the behavioural and physiological characteristics of five cribbers, six weavers and six non-stereotypic (control) mature Thoroughbred geldings for a period of 16 weeks. The horses were hired from their owners and stabled individually throughout the trial. Cribbers and weavers had been known to stereotype for at least 12 months prior to commencement of the study. Behavioural data were collected using video surveillance. Cribbers stereotyped most frequently (P < 0.001) in the period 2'8 h following delivery of concentrated food, reinforcing the suggestion that diet is implicated in cribbing behaviour. Weavers stereotyped most frequently (P < 0.001) during periods of high environmental activity such as during routine pre-feeding activities and in the hour prior to daily turnout, presumably when anticipation and stimulation were at their highest levels. Cribbers and weavers took longer than control horses to fully consume their ration, suggesting possible differences in motivation to feed, distress levels, satiety mechanisms or abdominal discomfort. Physiological data were collected throughout the trial and there were no differences in oro-caecal transit time, digestibility, plasma cortisol concentration or heart rate among the three behavioural groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-76
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume109
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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