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Time-Budgets of Camargue Horses Iii. Environmental Influences

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1. Time-budgets of female, male and yearling horses were calculated for 34 weeks over two years. There was little variation in the time spent in different activities during autumn and winter (Aug.-Mar.). 2. The horses spent more time lying (sleeping) in spring, when on a high protein diet. In summer they spent more time standing alert and walking, less feeding, probably because of the attacks by biting Diptera. 3. Within autumn and winter standing alert decreased when mosquitoes were abundant and standing resting, usually in shelter, increased on days with low maximum temperatures and during rain. Feeding time was unaffected by these variables. 4. The breeding mares increased their feeding times during periods of nutritional stress (end of winter, peak lactation) but only by 6-8%. 5. The time-budgets of these horses showed less variation than has been found in some ruminants. It is argued that for most of the year their feeding time is close to the maximum value allowed by the need to perform other activities, principally resting and moving.

Affiliations: 1: Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat, Le Sambuc, F-13200 Arles, France


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