Feeding behaviour

Horses browse on many food types and at different heights like trees, bushes and grass. They eat for the majority of a 24 hour period and should not go more than a few hours without food as it is harmful to their digestive systems, lack of food can also be a trigger of aggressive behaviour towards horses and people, providing constant access to forage is often a first step suggested in reducing negative behaviour in these situations. Ideally many more food stations and watering holes than the number of horses to reduce competition. The palomino in these images has a habit of pawing the ground, we have managed to remove the behaviour in the summer but as yet winter has not been solved however the wheelie bin slow feeder already shows signs of reducing the frequency of the behaviour after just a couple of days. It can be a difficult balance when you have equines prone to weight gain, starving is not the answer – it triggers the body to store fat among other more serious side effects like stomach ulcers. It is far better to introduce slow feeders and encourage movement by spreading or dotting the resource stations around the enclosure. Keeping horses at grass is not as easy as it may seem, especially given the number of toxic plants in every field.

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Pawing the ground

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Old wheelie bins or containers can make great slow feeders and helps keep the hay dry on rainy days

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Small hole hay bags slow the feeding and keep them occupied, reducing anxiety and aggression around food times. Space between resource stations is preferred as it reduces conflict, in this case we are limited by the number of large and strong posts to attach to and the horses are used to sharing, the chesnut is always very vocal in any situation. The video attached demonstrates squealing behaviour.

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On the second visit she got it

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He was unsure about this new feed station at the start but if you click here you can watch the video of him using it twenty minutes later.

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