Keeping and management of horses can induce changes to instinctive and innate behavioural patterns. We investigated the effect of five different management conditions in five groups of horses. All groups were housed in individual boxes under natural environmental and lighting conditions. They were fed three times a day (07:00, 12:30 and 20:00) and had free access to water. Group A was fed with 8 kg/capo/die of hay divided in the three meals. Group B was fed with 8 kg/capo/die of an unifeed divided in the three meals. Group C was fed with unifeed at 07:00 and 12:30 and with hay at 20:00. They were kept in wood-bedded boxes. Groups D and E were fed with unifeed at 07:00 and 12:30, respectively, and in the other, two meals received hay. They were kept in straw-bedded boxes. Our results showed a daily rhythm of total locomotor activity in all groups, influenced by management conditions. Group A engaged in meal patterns similar to those seen in grazing animals. Groups B and C showed the highest MESOR values due to a high searching behaviour. Group C showed a nocturnal acrophase contrary to the other groups. Groups D and E showed a total locomotor activity pattern similar to that observed in Group A probably due to an increase in straw-bedding consuming. The reduction of fibre in diet has an impact on physiology and behaviour of horses. The valuation of diet and in bedding provided to horses kept in box is useful to guarantee the maintenance of the physiological daily rhythm of total locomotor activity.

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Journal: Biological Rhythm Research. 2015 Jul 4;46(4):537-43.

Keywords: daily rhythm, horses, locomotor activity, meal size,

Applications: Veterinary,

CamNtech Reference: AM15006

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