Daily rhythmicity of behavioral responses in donkeys of different age groups during the cold-dry (harmattan) and hot-dry seasons in a tropical savannah

The aim of the study was to evaluate the daily rhythms of behavioral activities of adult, yearling, and foal donkeys during the cold-dry (harmattan) and hot-dry seasons in a tropical savannah. Thirty, clinically healthy free-ranging donkeys, divided into 3 groups of 10 donkeys each according to their age, served as experimental subjects. Behavioral activities of […]

Observer reliability for working equine welfare assessment: problems with high prevalences of certain results

Welfare issues relevant to equids working in developing countries may differ greatly to those of sport and companion equids in developed countries. In this study, we test the observer reliability of a working equine welfare assessment, demonstrating how prevalence of certain observations reduces reliability ratings. The assessment included behaviour, general health, wounds, and limb and […]

Improving the welfare of working equine animals in developing countries

Working equine animals are an essential source of power in agriculture and for urban and peri-urban transport in developing countries. Globally, working animals supply approximately 50% of agricultural power needs. The Brooke is a charity registered in the United Kingdom, which aims to improve the health and welfare of working equine animals in the developing […]

Pair-bonding and companion recognition in domestic donkeys, Equus asinus

Pair and social bonding has been documented in various taxa, where pair formations are often described as being driven by kinship or sexual motivation. However, pair-bonding between unrelated individuals where sexual motivation is not a factor is not well documented. Many social relationships and pair-bonds between members of a dyad are facilitated by each individual’s […]

A study on validity and reliability of on-farm tests to measure human–animal relationship in horses and donkeys

The development and maintenance of a positive human–horse/donkey relationship is essential in order to decrease accidents and reduce negative states of equine welfare. In many animal species the reaction of animals to humans during specific behavioural tests is influenced by their past interaction and is linked to the level of fear felt in the presence […]

Use of Qualitative Behaviour Assessment as an indicator of welfare in donkeys

One of the objectives of the Animal Welfare Indicators project was to develop animal-based indicators to assess donkey welfare, including their emotional state. This study aimed to develop a fixed rating scale of Qualitative Behaviour Assessment (QBA) for donkeys, to evaluate the inter-observer reliability when applied on-farm, and to assess whether the QBA outcomes correlate […]

Investigating attentional processes in depressive-like domestic horses (Equus caballus)

Some captive/domestic animals respond to confinement by becoming inactive and unresponsive to external stimuli. Human inactivity is one of the behavioural markers of clinical depression, a mental disorder diagnosed by the co-occurrence of symptoms including deficit in selective attention. Some riding horses display ‘withdrawn’ states of inactivity and low responsiveness to stimuli that resemble the […]