Fachbereich Veterinärmedizin



    Diurnal and seasonal rhythms of selected behaviour in Arabian Horses kept on pasture throughout the year (2004)

    Kuhne, Franziska
    38th International Congress of the ISAE
    Helsinki/Finnland, 03. – 07.08.2004
    Proceedings of the 38 th International Congress of the International Society for Applied Ethology
    Helsinki, Finnland: ISAE, 2004 — S. 165
    URL (Volltext):
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    Abstract / Zusammenfassung

    The aim of this study was to determine factors that influence foraging and resting behaviour in Arabian horses which are kept under natural conditions on pasture. Over one year, changes in behaviour in ten horses have been recorded (continuous recording). 24-hour continuous observations were carried out for 36 days of the year. The frequency of a particular behaviour and the average duration of action were determined for each horse for the whole period of observation (one year) and within the 24-hour-time budget.
    The Kendall-Concordance-Coefficient (W) was used to determine the synchronization of the 24-hour-time budget between the horses. The evaluation of seasonal variation of a behaviour was possible only by description of three-dimensional figures (x-axis = period length, y-axis = year, z-axis = intensity of significant period of a behaviour).
    The synchronization of the foraging behaviour (W= 0,419, P=0,000) and of the resting behaviour (W=0,504, P=0,000) have been observed in a middle degree between the horses. The individual differences could be observed with help of the mean grazing frequency of 7-11 times a day with an average duration of 17-34 minutes per action. Hay feeding was documented with a frequency of 16-24 times a day, lasting 21-37 minutes each. During their 24-hour-time budget the horses rested 13-23 times from 19-26 minutes each time. Recumbent rest was observed one to two times a day for 15-30 minutes.
    The observation showed that (1) these horses kept on pasture throughout the year clearly did not develop equal diurnal and seasonal rhythms of feeding or resting behaviour. (2) The behaviour pattern differences were influenced less by the average time of a particular behaviour than by the frequency or average duration per action. Although some horses showed behavioural patterns at a high correspondence with the average, there were a few horses with a smaller degree of correspondence, i.e. (3) the average of selected behaviour in a small group of animals ignores the problem of a locally limited supply of particular resources, of the degree of acquaintance among the individuals and of the dimension of the pasture.