Date of Award
Master of Science
THE COMPARATIVE TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR BEHAVIORAL TIME BUDGETS OF DOMESTIC HORSES MANAGED UNDER DIFFERENT LEVELS OF CONFINEMENT ABSTRACT Modern human lifestyles translate into increased confinement management of horses. We hypothesized that natural behavior patterns are altered as horses spend increasing amounts of time in confinement. This study compared 24-hour behavior patterns of horses under no confinement (P), daytime confinement/night turnout (SP), daytime turnout/night confinement (PS), or 24h confinement (S). Behavior was recorded 10 times/h for 24h. Overall time budget, and time/treatment interactions over 3h segments, were analyzed by multiple ANOVA. Diurnal behavior patterns were affected by degree and time of confinement. Time budget for P was different (P<0.01) compared to the S group (ingestion 55.4% v 30.9%, movement 29.8% v 11.2%, inactivity 25.9% v 42.1, respectively). Ingestion was the most frequent behavior in both 12h-confined groups, but lower (P<0.05) than the P group. Daytime confinement affected overall ingestion frequency, but other behaviors did not differ from the P group. Night confined horses were inactive more frequently compared with P and SP groups. Pastured horses foraged equally around the clock whereas ingestion in S horses was highest at 06:00-21:00h and lowest at 03:00-06:00h. Ingestion was influenced by time of pasture access for half-day confined horses; lowest at 18:00-06:00h in PS and 06:00-18:00h in SP. Movement was higher at 15:00-24:00h in P compared with S. Movement frequency did not differ between P and SP, while movement/inactivity in PS displayed the greatest difference compared to P. Confinement affects the behavioral repertoire in horses, with increasing disruption as duration of confinement increases. Half-day confinement during daylight with night turnout preserves a greater degree of unconfined repertoire compared with nighttime confinement.
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