Review - Physical and occupational enrichment in ruminants and equines - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Reports (Technical Expertise Report) Year : 2023

Review - Physical and occupational enrichment in ruminants and equines


This review summarises the knowledge on physical and occupational enrichment found in the scientific literature for ruminants and equines, identifies what enrichments can be set up in farming systems to improve animal welfare and what should be further investigated. Several enrichments were identified and divided into three main categories: enrichments related to outdoor or indoor environment and cognitive challenges. Outdoor enrichment comprise access to pasture or exercise area, presence of woodlands, shrubs and edges, the provision of shelters and water or solid substrate like sand or mud to wallow and roll in. Indoor enrichment includes the subdivision of the pen with visual barriers, elevated places and the provision of objects like ropes, balls or dry teats. Finally, cognitive challenges refer to offering animals the possibility to predict or control some events such as milking or feed distribution. Even if the impact of enrichments has been studied in some species like cattle, horses and to a lesser degree in sheep and goats, there is a lack of scientific knowledge on the farming conditions and enrichment strategies in deer, buffaloes, camelids, donkeys, mules and bison. Among enrichments, providing objects for mature animals and the predictability of the environment are the two main elements that lead to mitigated effects with possible negative impact on welfare. This should therefore be further studied before being applied. Finally, recommendations are made for inspections, with a focal point on pasture or exercise area for all ruminants and equines, which seems to be essential to improving animal welfare. For those already reared under extensive farming systems with outdoor access, particular attention should be paid to shelter availability.
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hal-04210247 , version 1 (18-09-2023)



Raphaëlle Botreau, Valentin Brunet, Clémence Lesimple. Review - Physical and occupational enrichment in ruminants and equines. EURCAW - Ruminants & Equines. 2023. ⟨hal-04210247⟩
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