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Morgan K.,The Swedish National Equestrian Center | Kjellberg L.,The Swedish National Equestrian Center | Karlsson Budde L.,The Swedish National Equestrian Center | Kjell E.,The Swedish National Equestrian Center | Ryman M.,The Swedish National Equestrian Center
Livestock Science

Horses are by nature herbivores and graze during the main part of the day. For stabled horses the feeding rations are often restricted and it would be preferred to develop a feeding system that allows long feed intake times. A possible way to lengthen the feed intake time is to hamper the availability of the forage by using a small-mesh haynet. The study had two aims concerning feeding horses with small-mesh haynets; first to investigate how the stable staff's work load was affected and second to study the horse's feed intake time. Two parallel studies were carried out at the Swedish National Equestrian Centre Strömsholm. In both studies four split-up portions daily were used as control management. The first study on work load measured the time of feeding routines using 14 horses fed with small-mesh haynets once a day and 17 horses in the control management. The second study focused on the feed intake time using a cross-over design where four horses were filmed during four consecutive days in each feeding system; feeding forage once a day in small-mesh haynets (mesh size 3×3cm2) compared to control management. The data were statistically analysed and the level of significance was set to p<0.05. The horses remained their body condition and no colic occurred.The daily working time per horse and day for feeding management was significantly longer (p<0.001) when using small-mesh haynets (mean 6. min 34. s) compared to the control group (mean 2. min 53. s). The total feed intake time increased in three out of four horses (by 50-67%).We concluded that the working time for the small-mesh haynets was significantly longer compared to control management with weighing into individual feeding portions administrated three times a day. The feed intake time increased in three of the four horses with the small-mesh haynets and individual variations were observed. © 2015. Source

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