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Preliminary studies on the behavioural detection of oestrus in Belgian “Warm-Blood” mares with acoustic and tactile stimuli

Applied Animal Ethology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0304-3762(78)90076-7
  • Economics
  • Musicology
  • Physics


Abstract The object of this study was to find a reliable, economic, time-saving and easy method to “try” mares for oestrus without the use of a teaser male. The reactions of barren mares, mares with a foal at foot and maiden mares towards the teaser were established and compared to the reactions towards given stimuli. These stimuli were as follows (i) a play-back of acoustic expressions of a courting stallion, (ii) manual tactile manipulation at the neck crest, the flank and the external genitalia and (iii) a combination of these acoustic and tactile stimuli. Mares were tested when in oestrus and in dioestrus. On stimulation, the oestrous signs considered significant were: remaining quiet, lifting the tail, twitching the vulva, spreading the legs, expelling fluid. Signs indicative of dioestrus were: nervousness, kicking and squealing. The preliminary results of observations of 201 Belgian “Warm-Blood” mares showed that oestrus and dioestrus could be detected with virtually as much success by using all three means of stimulation as with the teaser. Few differences were found between barren mares, mares with a foal and maidens. Some oestrous signs (remaining quiet, lifting the tail, spreading the legs) and dioestrous ones (nervousness, kicking) were seen with greater frequency than other signs. Generally speaking, the combination of acoustic and tactile stimulation elicited the most signs. Among the tactile stimulations, pinching the ridge of the neck was ineffective while rubbing the flanks, and especially the external genitalia, was very effective.

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