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Temporal Patterns of Feeding Behaviour in Free-Ranging Horses

In: Behaviour
Authors:
Eleanor MayesStation Biologique de la Tour du Valat, Le Sambuc, F-13200 Arles, France

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Patrick DuncanStation Biologique de la Tour du Valat, Le Sambuc, F-13200 Arles, France

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Abstract

Feeding was patterned into meals separated by intervals of non-random length. Meal length, which showed a marked circadian rhythm, was positively correlated with the length of the preceding interval (preprandial correlation) in all seasons except the summer. This result implies the existence of a control mechanism which maintained gut-fill high. The organisation of feeding within meals (length of feeding, standing and walking bouts) did not vary consistently between vegetation types, but was strongly influenced by the activity of biting flies.

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