Real ethology with Lucy Rees, part 4
Eating is not just eating
Why feeding hay in the stable does not make up for lost grazing time
Horses were designed to eat for at least 16 hours per day. Every horse owner worth their wheelbarrow knows this. As a consequence, we make sure our horses are never short of forage to eat. We know that they develop gastro-intestinal problems if we let them stand around for hours with no food. But have we given enough thought to what it really means for a horse to be eating? How he eats? Considering that grazing is the primary behaviour of free living horses, horse owners and ethologists alike have given far too little attention to exactly how this activity takes place, thinks ethologist Lucy Rees.
In this feature, you can also hear from field study participant Christina Salvany who took it upon herself to investigate how far Pottokas walk while they seemingly just stand around.
And what is it not? Why studying horse behaviour does not automatically make you an ethologist.