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Equine feeding side preference – incidence and age effect

  • S H Bottom (a1), H Owen (a1), R E Lawson (a1), P A Harris (a2) and S Hall (a2)...


Two choice preference testing is used in animals to determine food preference or taste response (Nicol, 1997). This relies upon selection from a theoretical mean of 0.5, if no preference is shown. The aims of this study were two fold: to measure the incidence of side preference in the horse when given the choice of two identical feeds; and to assess the influence of age on side preference.

18 TB x horses were used in this study. Six horses were allocated to each of the age groups; young (2-4 years), middle (8-14 years) and old (over 16 years). All horses were housed in stables of identical design. 1.5kg DM of basal feed was offered in two containers, positioned left and right, for a ten–minute period over nine days. All spillages were collected and recorded. Intake was calculated as the (amount of feed offered – amount of feed remaining – 0.5x the Spillage).



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Nicol, C.J., (1997). Environmental choice of farm animals. Animal Choices 20: 3543.


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