Let Them Eat: Preventing Welfare Issues In Stalled Horses

Horses stalls overnight can spend multiple long hours with nothing in their stomachs, making them eat more rapidly when fed breakfast. German scientists suggest that horses kept inside should have something to chew on nearly continuously through the overnight hours, whether that’s a constant supply of hay or their bedding, reports The Horse.

The Horse also notes that any straw horses ingest should be high quality and introduced slowly; a veterinarian or equine nutritionist should be consulted before adding edible straw to a horse’s diet.

Dr. Miriam Baumgartner, of the Technical University of Munich, Germany, noted that horses shouldn’t be without food in their system for more than four hours at a time. Horses bedded on non-edible bedding like pellets or sawdust are without something to eat for an average of nine hours each night.

When horses are without food for this amount of time, they “rebound” during the day, Dr. Margit Zeitler-Feicht, Baumgartner’s colleague, noted. The duo studied 104 horses that were kept in stalls; those that were stalled on non-edible bedding ate faster with fewer pauses than horses that were kept on straw. They also ingested their evening meals more rapidly than horses kept on straw. The research team reports that this could mean that horses housed on inedible bedding may have compromised welfare.

The team concludes that horses should be offered something to eat continuously throughout the night, whether in the form of hay or edible bedding. To deny them the ability to eat continuously can cause health and welfare issues.

Read more at The Horse.

The post Let Them Eat: Preventing Welfare Issues In Stalled Horses appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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