The effects of enrichment items on cribbing in Equus caballus

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The purpose of this study was to determine how a Jolly Ball, a Feed Dispenser, and diet affected the compulsive behavior cribbing in horses. It was hypothesized that the presence of a Jolly Ball or a feed dispenser in the stall reduce cribbing frequency due to their ability to eliminate boredom. It was also hypothesized that a diet composed of sweet feed would increase cribbing frequency. Fourteen horses were used in total, seven were know cribbers while the other seven showed no stereotypies. Each horse was observed using focal sampling method for three weeks with a Jolly Ball present in their stall. After that, each horse was observed in the same manner for another three weeks except there was a feed dispenser present instead of a Jolly Ball. The diets of all fourteen horses were recorded and compared. Neither enrichment item significantly reduced cribbing (Jolly Ball, W= 51 P=0.898; feed dispenser, W= 64 P= 0.159). There was also no correlation between feed type and cribbing frequency (H= 4.57 P= 0.206). A Jolly Ball and a feed dispenser cannot be used as a substitute for a cribbing collar in the prevention of cribbing.
Thesis completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Alfred University Honors Program.
Honors thesis, Horses, Equine studies, Compulsive behavior