Behavior of horses kept in different types of stalls in the semiarid region of Minas Gerais, Brazil
Keywords:behavior, farm buildings, horses, stereotypies
The objective of this study was to evaluate the feeding and agonistic behavior of Quarter Horses kept in different types of stalls in the semiarid region of Minas Gerais. A completely randomized design with two treatments (two types of stalls) and seven replicates (seven days of evaluation) was used. Four Quarter Horse mares and four stallions were used per treatment. Behavioral observations were made at 10-minute intervals for 24 hours. The stall environment was characterized by the following variables: air temperature, relative humidity, and black globe temperature for subsequent estimation of the wet-bulb globe temperature. Feeding behavior variables included: time spent eating concentrate and time spent eating roughage (hours), bite rate (bites/min), and the number of daily bites (bites/day). Zinc-roofed stalls had higher air temperatures than clay-roofed stalls and the external environment, averaging 28.2, 27.0, and 27.4 ºC, respectively, while relative humidity was significantly lower in the external environment (65.80%). Horses housed in zinc-roofed stalls had longer feeding times (8.32 h) than animals kept in clay-roofed stalls (7.22 h). Approximately 94% of the total feeding time was spent eating roughage and 73% of the time was spent resting and walking, regardless of the covering type. Although environmental variables showed thermal discomfort, the roofing material did not alter the feeding behavior of stabled horses in the semiarid region of Minas Gerais, suggesting an adaptation to the studied conditions. The feeding frequency should be increased to avoid a long resting time.
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