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Report2023Peer reviewed

Sensory and feeding enrichment in ruminants and equines

Ginane, Cécile; Rørvang, Maria Vilain


In this review we summarise the current literature on sensory abilities, sensory enrichments and 
feeding enrichment materials/solutions for ruminants and equines. Relevant references from each 
species are included, and gaps in knowledge are identified when references are lacking. The review 
is not exhaustive, but represents the more recent, and relevant studies on the topics. The review 
first outlines the limited information available about the sensory abilities of the species considered
with regards to the five senses: hearing, olfaction, touch, vision, and taste. The review then 
summarises the available literature on sensory enrichment, which like the one on sensory abilities, 
is very sparse. In general, research has focussed on visual abilities. Although much remains to be 
studied, there seems to be good potential to use the sensory abilities of the considered species to 
enrich their environments. The review further outlines current knowledge about various types of 
feeding enrichments, focusing on diversity and variety of feed, sensory familiarity, feed neophobia,
and mode of presentation. There seems to be good potential to enrich the lives of the species
considered by acting on feeding methods, strategies and substrates. Lastly, the review highlights 
key factors to focus on during welfare inspections, as well as gaps in the currently existing 
knowledge. These points lead to the suggestion of future highly relevant research areas within all 
topics, which could increase enrichment for all species considered.

Published in

2023, number: 2023-03
Publisher: EURCAW Ruminants & Equines