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Managing Stereotypic Behaviour

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Carrie Ijichi

on 9 October 2015

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Transcript of Managing Stereotypic Behaviour

Managing Stereotypic Behaviour
Re-cap on Equine Stereotypy
Behaviour is classed as stereotypic if it is
Principles of Stereotypy Management
Applying These to Horses
The same principles of management apply to any species
Reward Approach
If the animal needs to "self-sooth" due to stress - reduce stress
Learning Outcomes
Demonstrate a high level of
understanding of the phsiology of stress
, pain and its control, and relate the importance of these factors to the the welfare of the horse

Critically evaluate the factors that influence the welfare of the horse
Show in depth knowledge of how the domestic environment influences the horse and appraise the significance of various factors in terms of equine welfare
and has no obvious goal or function
(Mason, 1991)
The Reward Function
Behavioural Needs Function
If a behaviour is essential for survival, over the course of evolution it becomes coded in every individual's genetic makeup
This makes the behaviour a need, something the animal cannot psychologically do without
Husbandry may prevent an animal from performing a behavioural need and this is extremely stressful - for example early weaning
The animal adopts a
vacuum performance
of the behaviour as a
substitute to satisfy this need
(Jensen & Toates, 1993)
Although it has no obvious function, it does have two possible functions
(Hughes & Duncan, 1988)
This functions to keep the animal within an affective homeostatis
The vigourous repetition of the appetitive behaviour lowers their stress response and is soothing (e.g. Briefer Freymond et al. 2015)
Therefore, the animal learns that is it rewarding and repeats the behaviour
Inititally this is in the context they learnt the behaviour, but eventually it becomes "emancipated" and is expressed under any condition of stress or arousal
(Jensen & Toates, 1993)
Examples in horses include prolonged mastication, locomotion & contact with conspecifics, especially during infancy (e.g. Waran et al. 2008)
We might satisfy the horse's physical needs but fail to meet a behavioural need
Since stereotypy is permanent once emmancipated, ethical & effective management is concerned with reducing the performance but not preventing it
It takes approximatey 12 weeks for behaviour to become truly stereotypic
At this point, it is emancipated from the original trigger & has made permanent changes to the individual's brain
These changes are similar to those seen in human addicts and those with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
(McBride & Hemmings, 2009)
It has been shown that prevention of stereotypy causes a rise in stress and post-inhibitory rebound (McGreevy & Nicol, 1998)
Preventing stereotypy removes the individual's only reliable coping mechanism without resolving the issues that cause it
Give me some examples in equine husbandry where horses are prevented from performing stereotypy
Test it out...
Test it out...
This might involve:
Resolving conflict between individuals or in training
Increasing the predictability of the environment
Removing stimuli that cause fear or systematically desensitise the animal
Needs Approach
Observing the behaviour gives us insight into the need it is replacing
Observing the behaviour can tell us what the relevant triggers are
Enrichment allows us to provide the animal with more appropriate opportunities to meet their behaviour needs
This reduces frustration and the motivation to perform the stereotypy
Examples include:
Increasing time spent masticating
Allowing access to conspecifics
Time Budgets
This refers to how animals spend their time
Put simply, the more time an individual spends engaged in a task, the less time they have for stereotypic behaviour
This may include:
Increasing the time they spend eating by making it more difficult
Increasing the length of exercise or training sessions
It's important that these changes don't cause stress of frustration
However, to be really effective, they need to be made species specific
What might these be replacing?
Suggest & defend solutions to the following stereotypies
A Bag of Possible Tricks
Further Reading...
Hemmings et al (2007)
Perseverative Responding & the aetiology of equine stereotypy
McBride & Cuddeford (2001)

The putative welfare-reducing effects of preventing equine stereotypic behaviour
McBride & Hemmings (2009)
A neurologic perspective of equine stereotypy
Sarrafchi & Blokhuis (2013)
Equine Stereotypic behaviours: caustation, occurence and prevention
Bachmann et al (2003
Rich factors associated with behavioural disorders of crib-biting, weaving & box walking in Swiss horses
Briefer Freymond et al (2015)
The physiological consequences of crib=biting horses in response to an ACTH challenge test
Ijichi et al (2013b)
Evidence for the role of personality in stereotypy predispocition
Reduce the predictability of the environment!
Resolve pain or discomfort
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