Elimination marking behavior in feral horses Article (Web of Science)


  • It was the goal of this study to develop a reliable behavioral endpoint for use in studying patterns of reproduction and methods for regulating reproduction in feral horses. Several characteristic stallion behavior patterns associated with harem activities were examined. The only behavior which occurred with high frequency and was readily observable and quantifiable was stallion elimination marking behavior in which stallions marked eliminations (urinations–defecations) of other horses with their own urine and feces. Elimination marking behavior was not exhibited by mares or immature animals and stallions rarely marked eliminations made by immatures. Stallion response to eliminations by mature mares varied markedly with time of year, averaging 93% and 89% in May and June, the peak of the breeding season, and 1% from November through February. Thus, seasonal changes in elimination marking behavior were well correlated with the breeding season. The completeness of the behavior pattern showed an annual pattern similar to that for frequency. The possible significance of this behavior in relation to feral horse social organization and its use as a behavioral correlate in studying reproductive patterns is discussed.


  • Perkins, A.
  • Kirkpatrick, J. F.

publication date

  • 1981

published in

number of pages

  • 5

start page

  • 1561

end page

  • 1566


  • 59


  • 8