Artificial feeding of foals is rarely practiced other than for raising orphans. This study investigated the effects of an artificial feeding system on the growth and welfare of a group of "Cavallo Agricolo Italian da Tiro Pesante Rapido" foals (n = 12). A viable artificial rearing method could allow for the commercial supply of mare's milk for cosmetic or pediatric purposes. Six foals were maintained on an artificial suckling (AS) regimen using a modified bovine milk replacer, and 6 remained with their dams (control group, naturally suckled [NS]). Housing and management was identical for both groups. During the 6-month trial, the foals were weighed every 3 weeks from 4 days of age, and their daily weight gains were calculated. Foals were directly observed for 6 separate 24-hour periods at 4, 10, 47, 114, 142, and 176 days of age, and an ethogram was compiled from the observed behaviors (resting, social, alimentary, and eliminative). All data were analyzed using a repeated measures analysis. At 4 days of age, the behavior of the AS foals was significantly different from that of the control group foals in that they stood up for longer duration (530 vs. 174 minutes, P < 0.01), performed fewer suckling bouts (P < 0.01), and did not play (P < 0.01) or lick (P < 0.05). AS foals were more aggressive and cross-suckled more (P < 0.01) at 10 days of age than at the first observation period. After weaning, AS foals ate more concentrate and less hay than the control group foals (P < 0.01). However, at the end of the trial, there were no significant differences between the groups in terms of weight (AS vs. NS [mean +/- standard deviation]: 350 +/- 15 vs. 360 +/- 20 kg, P = 0.34) and daily weight gains (1630 +/- 370 vs. 1600 +/- 310 g/d, P = 0.88). Artificial suckling techniques could be applied to Cavallo Agricolo Italian da Tiro Pesante Rapido foals, without negative effects on growth and welfare during the first 6 months of life. In fact, after an initial adaptation period, the AS foals did not exhibit any abnormal behavior or behavioral differences compared with NS foals. Further studies are required to improve this rearing technique, which could facilitate the efficient raising of orphan foals and/or marketing equine milk. Additional research would enable the effects of this rearing technique on the long-term growth, behavior, and health of the foals. (C) 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Behavior of artificially suckled foals

PADALINO, Barbara
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
;
2013

Abstract

Artificial feeding of foals is rarely practiced other than for raising orphans. This study investigated the effects of an artificial feeding system on the growth and welfare of a group of "Cavallo Agricolo Italian da Tiro Pesante Rapido" foals (n = 12). A viable artificial rearing method could allow for the commercial supply of mare's milk for cosmetic or pediatric purposes. Six foals were maintained on an artificial suckling (AS) regimen using a modified bovine milk replacer, and 6 remained with their dams (control group, naturally suckled [NS]). Housing and management was identical for both groups. During the 6-month trial, the foals were weighed every 3 weeks from 4 days of age, and their daily weight gains were calculated. Foals were directly observed for 6 separate 24-hour periods at 4, 10, 47, 114, 142, and 176 days of age, and an ethogram was compiled from the observed behaviors (resting, social, alimentary, and eliminative). All data were analyzed using a repeated measures analysis. At 4 days of age, the behavior of the AS foals was significantly different from that of the control group foals in that they stood up for longer duration (530 vs. 174 minutes, P < 0.01), performed fewer suckling bouts (P < 0.01), and did not play (P < 0.01) or lick (P < 0.05). AS foals were more aggressive and cross-suckled more (P < 0.01) at 10 days of age than at the first observation period. After weaning, AS foals ate more concentrate and less hay than the control group foals (P < 0.01). However, at the end of the trial, there were no significant differences between the groups in terms of weight (AS vs. NS [mean +/- standard deviation]: 350 +/- 15 vs. 360 +/- 20 kg, P = 0.34) and daily weight gains (1630 +/- 370 vs. 1600 +/- 310 g/d, P = 0.88). Artificial suckling techniques could be applied to Cavallo Agricolo Italian da Tiro Pesante Rapido foals, without negative effects on growth and welfare during the first 6 months of life. In fact, after an initial adaptation period, the AS foals did not exhibit any abnormal behavior or behavioral differences compared with NS foals. Further studies are required to improve this rearing technique, which could facilitate the efficient raising of orphan foals and/or marketing equine milk. Additional research would enable the effects of this rearing technique on the long-term growth, behavior, and health of the foals. (C) 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
TATEO, Alessandra; MAGGIOLINO, ARISTIDE; PADALINO, Barbara; CENTODUCATI, Pasquale
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/727161
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