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Ingestive mastication in horses resembles rumination but not ingestive mastication in cattle and camels

Dittmann, M. T., Kreuzer, M., Runge, U. and Clauss, M. (2017) Ingestive mastication in horses resembles rumination but not ingestive mastication in cattle and camels. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological and Integrative Physiology, 327 (2-3). pp. 98-109. ISSN 2471-5646

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1002/jez.2075


Horses achieve a higher degree of particle size reduction through ingestive mastication than functional ruminants. We characterized mastication using chew-monitoring halters (RumiWatch) in six domestic horses, cattle, and Bactrian camels each. All animals were offered grass hay of the same batch for 15 min. In cattle and camels, measurements were continued after eating until rumination was observed. Except for one horse, 96% of the horses’ ingestive mastication data were identified as “rumination” by the proprietary RumiWatch algorithm, whereas ingestion and rumination by cattle and camels were mostly classified correctly. There were no systematic differences between cattle and camels. In cattle and camels, ingestive mastication was less regular than rumination, indicated by significantly higher standard deviations of chewing peak intervals, peak heights, and peak breadths in intraindividual comparisons. The average standard deviations of these measures were lower in horses than in cattle and camel ingestive mastication, indicating a more consistent chewing pattern in horses. Horse values were similar to those of rumination mastication, suggesting equally regular chewing motions. Regular, rhythmic chewing represents a common feature of horses and functional ruminants, but the less uniform ingestive mastication in functional ruminants represents a deviating pattern, the adaptive value of which remains unclear. In particular, it does not appear to promote a higher ingestion rate. A potential cause may be the avoidance of high tooth wear rates by delaying a more regular, systematic mastication until ingesta has been softened and the grit has been washed off in the forestomach.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development > Department of Sustainable Land Management > Centre for Agri-environmental Research (CAER)
ID Code:70449

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