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Automatic hay boxes are a good feeding strategy for horses because they reduce food waste and provide scheduled feeding times throughout the day. However, limited availability of roughage due to timed feeding may be a factor in the development and prevalence of abnormal behaviors in horses. Offering free choice hay roughage that allows more natural feeding behavior could be the best option regarding horse health and welfare. Devices such as hay-nets/bags and slow-feeders can decrease food waste, increase the time horses spend consuming roughage, and may reduce undesirable behaviors. Researchers will evaluate the effect of three different hay feeders and availability of roughage on behaviors in horses in dry feed lots. Determining better feeding techniques would allow optimal feeding management that may minimize abnormal behaviors and provide better welfare conditions to horses kept in equine establishments.

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Colorado State University
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United States
Tanja Hess, MV, MSc, PhD
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