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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Horses' Use of Lying Halls and Time Budget in Relation to Available Lying Area

Kjellberg, Linda; Yngvesson, Jenny; Sassner, Hanna; Morgan, Karin;

Abstract

Simple Summary:& nbsp;A safe and comfortable resting area to lie down and sleep in is an important factor in ensuring horse welfare. The lying times of stalled horses depend on factors such as bedding, housing, and lying area, while the sleeping behavior of group-housed horses may be influenced by such factors as social relations and competition for space. This study aimed to analyze time spent in, as well as activity taking place in, lying halls of various sizes. We compared single boxes and open barns with available lying areas of 8, 15, or 18 m(2)/horse, on the basis that a lying area of 8 m(2) is the minimum requirement stipulated by Swedish legislation. We found that increasing lying area increased the horses' use of the lying hall and their total lying time, and that the lying time of a horse housed in a single box was equivalent to the lying time of a horse in group housing with access to a lying area of 18 m(2)/horse. Hence, to ensure access to sufficient resting space for all horses in group housing, we recommend that the minimum requirement should be reassessed and increased.& nbsp;Sleep is crucial to horses' wellbeing, and their lying time can vary according to such factors as climate, exercise, bedding, and housing. This study aimed to analyze behavior and time spent in lying halls of various sizes. We examined the influence of housing systems on total lying time and behavior, and how changes to available lying area can affect lying time. Two open barns were used in this study, with lying areas of 8, 15, and 18 m(2)/horse available in the lying halls. The horses' behavior was video recorded and logged using scan sampling and interval observations. Individual boxes were used as a control. The horses were found to spend longer time in sternal and lateral recumbency in the hall with a lying area of 18 m(2)/horse than the hall with a lying area of 8 m(2)/horse. Increasing the area of the lying hall also increased overall time spent there. Consequently, the hypothesis that increasing lying area will increase the horses' use of the lying hall, as well as their total lying time, was accepted.

Keywords

lying time; recumbency; group housing; lying behavior; shelter; open barn system; sleep; rest; welfare

Published in

Animals

2021, volume: 11, number: 11, article number: 3214
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry (AFB)
Swedish National Equestrian Center
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Environment and Health
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Biosystems and Technology
Swedish National Equestrian Center
Swedish National Equestrian Center
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry (AFB)

UKÄ Subject classification

Behavioral Sciences Biology
Animal and Dairy Science

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11113214

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/114714