In a natural environment, equids spend over 16 hours a day grazing. Stabled horses are traditionally fed 2–3 times a day with limited amount of forage. This may lead to disturbances of the digestive system and/or behavioral problems. The aim of this study was to investigate whether intake decreases when using a net covering the forage. Six adult mares were housed together and fed for 60 minutes, five times a day. Forage was covered with the net tied to a metal frame. The mesh size of the applied two different nets was 4.5 x 4.5 cm and 3 x 3 cm. Horses were observed during 4 days of feeding hay and haylage (only with the 4.5 cm net) respectively, each with and without net. The forage intake was recorded three times a day. To investigate the impact of the net on the feed intake, the recorded data was statistically analyzed using a Wilcoxon-Rank Sum test as implemented in R. For haylage the difference in feed intake with or without net was not significant (mean 1.7 kg DM/h with net and 1.84 kg DM/h without net). Offering hay, we found a significant difference of the feed intake for three out of the six horses (mean 1.26 kg DM/h with 3cm net; 1.51 kg DM/h with 4.5 cm net and 1.69 kg DM/h without net). There were important individual differences between the horses, but the 3 cm net could significantly slow down the feed intake of hay.
Although milk-production oriented (MPO) cow breeds have also become established in the mountain region, farms with the dual-purpose ‘Original Simmental’ breed are proving to be economically viable, with lower costs and higher direct payments making up for lower revenues from milk.
High milk yields before drying-off increase the risk of udder infections during the dry period. An online survey highlights what drying-off methods are currently used and how farmers rate the ‘incomplete milking’ approach for reducing milk yield.
Herholz C., Siegwart J., Bruckmaier R.M., Rytz E., Lamon I., Muhr M. und Stirnimann R.
In both sport and alternative agriculture, horses are once again being used as draught animals. Efficient power transmission plays an important role in the wellbeing of draught horses.