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The effect of strip grazing on physical activity and behaviour in ponies

Cameron, Amelia; Longland, Anette; Pfau, Thilo; Pinnegar, Sophie; Brackston, Iona; Hockenhull, Joanna; Harris, Patricia A.; Menzies-Gow, Nicola J.

Authors

Amelia Cameron

Anette Longland

Thilo Pfau

Sophie Pinnegar

Iona Brackston

Joanna Hockenhull

Patricia A. Harris

Nicola J. Menzies-Gow



Abstract

This work aimed to determine the effect of strip grazing on physical activity in ponies using behavioural observations alongside accelerometers positioned at the poll. In study one, ten British native breed ponies were randomly assigned to paddock A (50 × 110 m) or B (50 × 110 m divided into seven equal strips with access to one additional strip per day) for seven days (n=5/paddock). In study two, ten different British native breed ponies were randomly assigned for 14 days individually to 1) a control field where the animal was allowed complete access to their allotted area (n=4); 2) a field that increased in size daily by moving a lead fence (n=2); and 3) a field that was strip grazed using lead and back fences moved the same distance daily (n=4). Accelerometer data were sorted into twenty-four-hour periods; each ten-second epoch was categorised as standing, grazing or locomoting using previously validated cut-off points; and time spent in each category for each day calculated. Behavioural monitoring was undertaken by direct observation on days 12-14 (study two only). Accelerometer and behavioural data were compared between grazing methods within each study. Strip grazing had no significant effect on the time spent in each physical activity category in either study. Behavioural observation revealed all ponies spent most time grazing ≤4 hours after fence moving and strip grazed ponies spent significantly more time grazing the newly available grass than elsewhere. Thus, strip grazing did not alter physical activity in ponies, but did result in preferential grazing of new grass.

Citation

Cameron, A., Longland, A., Pfau, T., Pinnegar, S., Brackston, I., Hockenhull, J., …Menzies-Gow, N. J. (2021). The effect of strip grazing on physical activity and behaviour in ponies. Journal of Equine Veterinary Science, 103745. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jevs.2021.103745

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 19, 2021
Online Publication Date Aug 19, 2021
Publication Date Aug 19, 2021
Deposit Date Oct 26, 2021
Publicly Available Date Nov 1, 2021
Journal Journal of Equine Veterinary Science
Print ISSN 0737-0806
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 103745
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jevs.2021.103745
Keywords Equine
Public URL https://rvc-repository.worktribe.com/output/1551310

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