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Poster communications

Effect of the Increase of Foraging Opportunities on Behaviour, Welfare and Reproduction Efficiency of Group-Housed Arab Breeding Mares

Abstract : The present study aimed to determine the effect of the increase of foraging opportunities on behaviour, welfare and reproduction efficiency of breeding mares housed in individual boxes but allowed outside 6 hours a day in a bare paddock. One hundred Arab breeding mares (29 maiden and 71 barren) were randomly divided into 2 groups: the experimental and the control groups and separated during the day in 2 bare paddocks at the same density. In the experimental group (N = 50), Hay was provided in nylon haynets. These were filled with hay and hung up in the experimental paddock every morning before the arrival of the mares. In the control group (N = 50), no hay was provided in the paddock. All mares were kept in individual boxes for the night, where hay was provided in the evening for the experimental mares, in order to keep the amount ingested similar in both groups. Twentyminute animal focal samplings and scan samplings were used to determine the time budget of the mares during the period from 9 a. m. to 3 p. m. and study their social behaviour. The body weight and fat mass of mares were predicted using linear measurements and body conditions scores (BCS). Mares were tested for oestrous detection by teasing with a stallion and were then examined clinically by rectal palpations and ultrasound before being mated naturally or inseminated by fresh or frozen semen. 300 focal sampling (6000 min), 3300 individual scan sampling (6000 min) and 62 group observations (1240 min) corresponding to 100 mares were recorded. ANOVA, GLM and non parametric tests were used to analyse data. The experimental group showed a broader behavioural repertoire than that of the control one. Experimental mares’ time budgets were closer to the natural state with more time spent feeding (65.12% ± 2.40% vs. 29.75% ± 2.45%, p <0,01), less time spent in locomotion (11.70 ± 1.31% vs. 23.56 ± 1.34%, p <0,01), stand resting (11.76 ± 2.57% vs. 27.52 ± 2.62%, p < 0,01) and alert standing (5.23 ± 1.2% vs. 14.71 ± 1.23%, p<0,01). There were more preferential bonds among experimental mares than control ones (26 vs. 14, p<0.05). Experimental mares showed more positive social interactions (p < 0.01) and less aggressions (p <0.01). Body weight and body conditions scores were significantly higher in the experimental group (p<0.05). The treatment affects significantly the conception rate of the mares (81% vs. 55%, p < 0.01) and oestrus abnormalities were significantly less frequent (2 vs. 16, p<0.01). This study shows that the increase of foraging opportunities enhances the welfare and the reproduction efficiency of the mares.
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Poster communications
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Contributor : Umr6552 Ethos <>
Submitted on : Thursday, September 8, 2016 - 11:52:00 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 14, 2021 - 11:27:09 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-01362175, version 1



Haïfa Benhajali, Marie-Annick Richard-Yris, Mohammed Ezzaouia, Faouzia Charfi, Martine Hausberger. Effect of the Increase of Foraging Opportunities on Behaviour, Welfare and Reproduction Efficiency of Group-Housed Arab Breeding Mares. 41st Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology (ISAE), Jul 2007, Merida, Mexico. ⟨hal-01362175⟩



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