Slow-feeders, are they effective?

Increasing the time budget that horses spend for forage intake may help to improve welfare of confined horses. A widely applied strategy to increase consumption time for horses is the use of slow-feeder hay bags. This study addresses the effect of the implementation of a slow-feeder hay bag on the ethogram, motor activity, heart rate, and cortisol circadian rhythm (CCR) of seven healthy stabled horses. These horses were fed a ration consisting of pelleted feed, alfalfa and Tifton Hay. The authors concluded that the use of Slow-feeder hay bags could be an economical strategy for improving the welfare of stabled horses. However, it is noted that the eating time of the Tifton hay was not significantly increased after 8 days but the time the horses spent eating the Alfalfa hay was significantly increased.

• M. G. Correa, Rodrigues e Silva, C. F., L. A. Dias, et al. 2020. Welfare benefits after the implementation
of slow-feeder hay bags for stabled horses. J. Vet. Behav. 38 61-66. Publisher.

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