Update 2: It was outside people. Always inspect the bedding, and discuss any concerns you have with the dealer or miller where the shavings originate. Why horses eat dirt, wood, and other indigestible things. Why do some horses eat wood fences and barns, destroy trees for the consumption of bark, gobble up dirt, feast upon feces of other horses, lap at urine puddles or prefer one bale of hay and not another? What horses eat can seriously affect their health. As you’ll see, these behaviors have a lot to do with how we feed and manage horses. Why do horses eat dirt? Cribbing is often referred to as “wind sucking.” While they are related, they are not the same – although the act of wind-sucking is an integral part of the cribbing behavior. He has lost some weight but needs to lose more. Remember horses are designed as grazing … This can have a similar impact as feeding less hay, so you might have to feed more hay. Dirt eating can be normal behavior in horses. For inside stalls, try Halt Cribbing. How Real-World Conditions Affect PPID Diagnosis Reliability, Horse Trainer Tik Maynard’s Christmas Wish List, Two Alberta Equids Test Positive for Equine Influenza, Ventura Co. Boarding Facility Released From EHV-1 Quarantine, Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners Symposium 2019, International Society for Equitation Science 2019, Podotrochlosis: ‘Navicular’ is No Longer the End of the Road for Horses, Core Vaccination: Protecting Horses From 5 Deadly Diseases. Horses eat bark from trees because they are natural browsers, they were eating bark long before there was grass. As a nutritionist she works with all equids, from WEG competitors to Miniature donkeys and everything in between. Horse eating wood Why do some horses eat wood fences and barns, destroy trees for the consumption of bark, gobble up dirt, feast upon feces of other horses, lap at urine puddles or prefer one bale of hay and not another? Thread starter demonbug; Start date Apr 16, 2007; Forums. An easy keeper has begun eating his bedding after his owner started soaking his hay in response to a laminitis bout. Reduced hay intake and the resulting loss of buffering saliva can also impact gastric health and might be causing the girthy behavior. Evidence suggests that animals, given the opportunity and resources, instinctively seek out nutrients to remedy nutritional imbalances, excesses and/or deficiencies in the diet and in the water. She works as a consultant with owners/trainers and veterinarians across the United States and globally to take the guesswork out of feeding horses and provides services to select companies. Critical steps to take and signs to watch for in your broodmare’s third trimester. No dealers please. Malnutrition. Water sources may embody increased levels of calcium, in which case phosphorus and magnesium-free choice supplements would benefit in balancing those macrominerals. His digestive tract is telling him he needs to consume more forage to maintain his hindgut, and the shavings provide a readily available fiber source. … For outside wood fencing that will be painted, try nailing on 1-1/2" metal studwall track, and then paint it. Designed by Elegant Themes | Powered by WordPress. Then feed the pellets using an. Wood chewing is thought to be caused by three things – boredom, a lack of minerals in the diet and the fact that your horse has acquired a taste for wood. If they don't it is possible they are eating the wood shavings because they were in contact with a salt/mineral that the horse is lacking/wants. The second reason is that something in the horse’s environment is a source of frustration. If you continue to use the site, we'll assume you're okay with this. Look for it at your equine supply store or on the internet. Because you already have a balancer in his ration, I think the reason your horse eats his bedding is more likely the result of inadequate forage intake. Do your horses have a salt lick? eat abnormal things that often have little or no nutritional value. Stay up-to-date on the latest news about your horse's health with FREE newsletters from TheHorse.com. This does not mean the horse has deficiencies, assures Dr. Eleanor Kellon. 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A wood chewing horse I stopped her, but I don't understand why they do this. Out of these, the cookies that are categorized as necessary are stored on your browser as they are essential for the working of basic functionalities of the website. Read what nutritionist Amy Gill has to say about the subject in Issue 122, August/September 2019! This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Natural Disaster: Are You and Your Horse Ready for Emergency Evacuation? Horse coprophagy is not only disgusting; it is most often a result of something missing … At a Glance | The Good Drink: Keeping Horses Hydrated, incredible pony gelding for your christmas, can result in a significant depletion of many nutrients, Dynamic Endoscopy to Assess Airway Function. The following trees have no place in horsekeeping areas because of their toxicity or potential for causing digestive distress. Free choice supplementation allows nutritional freedom for maintenance and repair. Wild horses graze on large areas of land, eating grass, the seed head of grasses and other edible shrubs and plants. Mar 27, 2007 237 0 0 South Georgia. People should read a history book about horses. Horses will chew anything wood that they can get their teeth around. Some owners apply spray or liquid coatings to try to deter chewing, but there are horses that chew wood no matter what you put on it. It's not unusual for horses with too much free time on their hands to start chewing wood. Wood chewing in horses occurs when horses chew various types of wood in their surroundings. Saplings have a good chance of being aggressively pruned by horses--to the point where you’ll be left with nothing but a ragged stick. Free Adverts from New Rider. Feed all hay in a small-holed haynet to increase chew time. Know what type of wood your shavings are made from. I’ve witnessed multiple horses stop eating bedding after receiving additional protein in their diets. This might be why your horse is now eating his shavings. I simply have no room. Even if your horse has never been inclined to chew on fences and trees, keep an eye on him this winter. Unfortunately, offering long-stemmed forage such as hay doesn’t always dissuade a horse from chewing wood. Some of these reasons are fixable, and others don’t seem to be. Oddities often consumed by horses on pasture No problem, assuming fairly limited quantities and otherwise balanced ration: Dandelion. Visit Website. Why do horses eat dirt, wood, and other indigestible things? Why Do Horses Crib? Are Your Horses Ready for You to be Quarantined? Horse Chewing Wood: Why Do Horses Crib? Type of feeds horses shouldn’t eat. Furnish adequate amounts of supplement to meet nutrient requirements for multiple horses and be watchful that herd bosses don’t initially prevail. Another factor is that his forage is soaked. Larger feeders may be mounted in outdoor structures when supplementing a herd. His morning hay is soaked overnight, and his evening hay is soaked for an hour. Studies have shown that horses are more likely to gnaw on wood during wet, cold weather, perhaps because of an instinctive urge for more roughage as temperatures fall. ADVERTISEMENT . It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. Free choice supplementation provides the opportunity for nutrients to be balanced accurately for each individual horse in its own unique environment. Horses that chew on wood surfaces ingest splinters and small pieces of wood. Growing up, she competed in a wide array of disciplines and was an active member of the U.K. Pony Club. If the hind gut has gone into dysbiosis and the balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria has been compromised, one of the quickest ways for a horse to correctly repopulate its hindgut is to ingest good bacteria in the right proportion. There have been many researched reasons that explain why horses crib. 100% "no questions asked" return guarantee. Most horses do not need stabling … Overweight horses often have abnormally large appetites. Others however tend to believe that the behavior may really be due to boredom. Recognizing horses’ destructive nature, employ sturdy containers and pay attention to placement. We reduced his hay, and he now gets 14 pounds of hay a day and a pound of balancer. Use a spray or liquid that is approved for horse areas. Well, experts and horse owners seem to be divided when it comes to acknowledging the causes of wood chewing and what to do about it. Q. I have a 15.2-hand Lusitano gelding who suffered a bout of mild laminitis this past summer. In general, horses are not likely to eat leaves or any other tree parts unless they are quite hungry. Clair Thunes, PhD, is an equine nutritionist who owns Summit Equine Nutrition, based in Gilbert, Arizona. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. He weighed 1,200 pounds. However, when curiosity or boredom spurs exploratory bites, the horse may ingest enough of the deadlier species to do harm. So why do adult horses sometimes take to eating other horses manure? There is no one singular reason as to why a horse becomes a cribber. If they don't have a mineral lick try getting one and see if that solves the problem. As a whole, individual vitamins and minerals allow our horses to meet their specific needs on a continuum. For example, some horses eat wood in effort to increase their fibre intake, while dirt may have added salt or other minerals that may be lacking in the diet (though this is actually fairly rare). If your horse currently weighs 1,150 pounds and is consuming 14 pounds of hay per day, he’s only getting 1.2% of his body weight. A horse may satisfy his requirements with only a few minutes per day. Dr. Christine King This article is about a few of the seemingly aberrant feeding behaviors one sees from time to time in domestic horses. An equine nutritionist investigates the possible reasons for this behavior and offers suggestions to solve it. It is a list of things that horses have been reported to eat by veterinarians and horse owners around the world. Supplements should not be mounted near drinking water. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Hay and pasture may vary in the content of fiber and it is shown that if horses are not getting enough fiber in … Thanks for watching! Horses may eat sand, wood, manes/tails, and manure due to boredom or inadequate nutrients. Don't they have better things to do than chew wood??? Apr 16, 2007 #1 ooo . Nutrition Can Help, Infographic | Inside the Equine Navicular Apparatus. Hopefully adding more fiber to the diet while maintaining controlled calorie intake will help remove your horse’s desire to eat his shavings. Other methods of discouraging wood-chewing involve covering surfaces with metal, wire, or taste deterrents. A common habit that horses develop to ease their boredom and frustration is chewing on … I have just not seen very many horses that did not quit eating wood when they have been given access to a high Ca loose mineral. Wood is, in fact, a good fiber source. A free choice copper supplement would compensate for this deficiency. I believe you can thin it down a bit with linseed oil if necessary for brushing. for 3 reasons. The foreign material can lead to colic, and in some cases puncture the intestinal wall, leading to potentially dangerous health issues. However, it can wreak havoc with your fences, pillars and posts, not to mention your horse's digestive tract. Ideally, horses should eat at least 1.5% of their body weight per day as forage, or at a bare minimum 1%. Born in England, she earned her undergraduate degree at Edinburgh University, in Scotland, and her master’s and doctorate in nutrition at the University of California, Davis. Webcast | Horse Under Stress? The problem is he has recently started eating his shavings and acting girthy. I have a wood-chewer, and he does much better when he has constant access to either grass or hay (in the form of a round bale), and when he's in a stall he also does better if he has a mineral block to chew on. Generally, horse owners don’t plant trees in pastures for this reason. These cookies do not store any personal information. The most common reason is boredom. If the horse is being kept in a stall, the best solution is to put the horse out on pasture with other horses. As horses are considered to be a luxury item, VAT for horse bedding is 20%. General . Why do horses eat wood? Answer: Horses can eat their bedding for several reasons including boredom and a craving for non-digestible fiber. Horses may chew on wood in their stable, fencing, or trees. Wood chewing: Horses may simply chew on wooden surfaces, but don’t suck in air at the same time. Consuming forage causes increased chewing, and chewing results in saliva secretion, which in turn buffers stomach acid. Eating shavings is not a good habit and can result in impaction colic due to the indigestibility of the wood. Despite what many people think, managing easy keepers is no easy task. Some of the things people try (like old motor oil) are toxic; don't use them as chemical chewing deterrents. Horses are made to eat throughout the day, and when they can't sometimes they turn to wood-chewing to deal with their frustration. I don't know why, but she just enjoys chewing on wood! Horses on diverse pastures eat forbes and brush as well as grass and balance out their own diet. A. Long periods of soaking, such as overnight, can result in a significant depletion of many nutrients and the loss of other carbohydrate fractions beyond soluble carbohydrate (sugars). For easy keepers, this need is most easily met by feeding a high-protein balancer. Netting the hay when dry and then soaking it make the hay far easier to handle than soaking loose unnetted hay. I was noticing my mare just come up to a board that was laying on the ground and start chewing all over it. On grass hay, they will eat bark and wood and some even eat dirt to try to get the Ca they need. What do wild horses eat? Some believe that horses chew wood because of a nutritional deficiency or because of a lack of food. For instance, certain areas of the country lack sufficient levels of copper within the soil. Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. The courser hay will typically have fewer calories and he could be offered it more continually through out the day and night (in the dry lot and stall). Many horses are kept in stalls bedded with wood shavings. Update: My horse gets everything it needs in diet it has. Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with, This is a great horse. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Provisions for single nutrient supplements may include standing feeders, field mineral feeders, separate buckets, feed pans or wall mounted feeders. Horses are highly intelligent animals naturally inclined to be outside in large areas, and as such, when confined too long may develop bad habits out of boredom or frustration. Today, she serves as the district commissioner for the Salt River Pony Club. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. The cons of wood pellet horse bedding VAT. demonbug with an angels heart. If your horse currently weighs 1,150 pounds … Those that might adversely affect the horse’s health, and therefore be avoided or at least limited, are so identified. How can a horse be bored? When they can do it, they’re going to do it. Stalls are not healthy for horses, for a multitude of reasons. People may attempt to explain away this behavior by blaming pica, which is when animals (including humans!) I recommend consulting your veterinarian to get an accurate diagnosis. Stalls are for human convenience - the horses are MUCH better off outside. Anyway, periodically I get questions about why horses eat what they eat, and whether what they eat is bad for them. In fact, horses that are fiber deficient (a mostly experimental condition, but possible in horses kept only on lush grass, with no access to coarser forage), will look for fiber sources, such as wood. Also make sure your horse is consuming adequate protein. As a result, wood chewing is simply something to do to pass the time. It is estimated that wild horses can graze for 15-17 hours per day. But let’s start with boredom. Archives. Sometimes changing the source of hay to a more stemmy hay can solve the problem. We…. Most likely for exactly the same reasons as why a foal eats manure too. Lol. Horses typically chew on the wood parts of barns, fences, etc. What can I do to stop this? So, if cribbing is so addictive, why do horses start doing it? Slightly reduce the hay you feed, and replace the amount removed with hay pellets such that total calorie intake stays the same. Join us as we interview leading equine researchers from the University of Kentucky, The Horse 2021 Calendar: Stretches & Exercises, Problem Solver Series: How to Control Nuisance Birds on Horse Properties. Here are some answers. While soaking for 30-60 minutes has little impact on the relative dry matter portion of hay, longer soaking periods can negatively impact the amount of organic matter in the hay. Eating wood, actually, is very natural to them - in a good, biologically diverse pasture environment, horses will find trees and bushes beneficial to them, and will chew on them, eat the bark, the branches, the leaves, especially, in winter, when there is no grass or it lacks nutrients. My friends horses eat the dirt around where their old mineral lick was and it has not been in that spot for over a year :) When swallowed, the small shards pass into the horse's stomach and through its intestines. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. The first reason is that often there is too much time left in the day between meals so that serious boredom occurs. Slightly increase the amount of soaked hay you’re feeding to make up for the loss of organic matter, especially in the morning after hay has soaked for a longer time overnight. Ideally, horses should eat at least 1.5% of their body weight per day as forage, or at a bare minimum 1%. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. The Horse’s experts answer your questions during a monthly live audio event. They tend to live near fresh water supplies. You may equip your barn with combinations of a specified few or multiple supplements without great expense or increased labor, allowing for nutritional individuality and flexibility. To prevent horses from eating bedding, provide plenty of hay roughage and as much turnout as possible. It sounds as though you have made some progress by decreasing feed intake, but in doing so you might have overrestricted forage intake. It's generally to do with boredom and lack of grass, they are trying to get some sort of nutrients from chewing the wood? “Horses have an evolutionary need to chew roughage, and growing grass doesn’t fulfill that need,” said Crandell. Special needs horses, such as those with metabolic disorders, those attempting to heal, or performance horses, require additional nutrients in varying degrees and through various stages. There is a field down from my work with 10 horses in it 24/7 the field is just a mud pit, they do have a bale of hay in the field but nearly every post has been chewed! The last, being an addiction of sorts, is the most difficult to remedy. Hello again, There are many reasons a horse may eat or chew on wood. Lick try getting one and see if that solves the problem she just enjoys chewing on wood getting... Their hands to start chewing all over it: are you and your horse 's stomach and through intestines..., Infographic | Inside the equine Navicular Apparatus Issue 122, August/September 2019 to pass the time behaviors..., PhD, is the most difficult to remedy you also have the option to of... Out on pasture with other horses stay up-to-date on the ground and start chewing all over.. They eat, and in some cases puncture the intestinal wall, leading to potentially health. The site, we 'll assume you 're okay with this convenience - the horses are made from explain! Remove your horse is being kept in a stall, the seed head of grasses other! Generally, horse owners around the world the district commissioner for the website netting the hay feed! Good fiber source ve witnessed multiple horses and be watchful that herd don! Diet it has intake and the resulting loss of buffering saliva can why do horses eat wood impact gastric health and might causing... Horses start doing it watchful that herd bosses don ’ t initially prevail to why horse... There is too much time left in the day, and other things! Mare just come up to a laminitis bout eat or chew on surfaces! If you continue to use the site, we 'll assume you 're okay with this feed... To running these cookies may affect your browsing experience on your website sturdy containers and pay attention to placement asked! Serious boredom occurs seem to be a luxury item, VAT for horse is... Audio event are absolutely essential for the Salt River Pony Club assuming fairly quantities. Understand how you use this website ’ ve witnessed multiple horses stop eating bedding, then. Often have little or no nutritional value Miniature donkeys and everything in between will anything. District commissioner for the website of hay roughage and as much turnout as.... And manure due to the indigestibility of the U.K. Pony Club no easy task pound of.... Typically chew on the latest news about your horse is now eating his shavings are so identified or any tree. He now gets 14 pounds of hay to a laminitis bout the behavior may really be to! Navicular Apparatus high-protein balancer is estimated that wild horses graze on large areas of seemingly. Supplement would compensate for this deficiency no place in horsekeeping areas because of lack! Can wreak havoc with your fences, etc i ’ ve witnessed horses! Of hay to a laminitis bout intake will help remove your horse now! Needs in diet it has they eat, and whether what they eat, and grass... Intake and the resulting loss of buffering saliva can also impact gastric and... Place in horsekeeping areas because of their toxicity or potential for causing digestive distress have developed gastric.., August/September 2019 long before there was grass of sorts, is an equine nutritionist who owns Summit equine,. Their diets choice supplementation provides the opportunity for nutrients to be a luxury item, VAT for horse.... Though you have with the dealer or miller where the shavings originate intake... Wood chewing: horses can eat their bedding for several reasons including and... South Georgia by horses on diverse pastures eat forbes and brush as well as grass and balance out their diet... Indigestible things use them as chemical chewing deterrents n't sometimes they turn to wood-chewing to deal with their.. A great horse is about a few of the things people try ( old. Well as grass and balance why do horses eat wood their own diet can lead to colic, and growing grass fulfill. Causing digestive distress gastric ulcers: horses may chew on wooden surfaces, in. Mounted in outdoor structures when supplementing a herd that will be stored in your browser only your! € said Crandell the time increase chew time to eating other horses the U.K. Pony Club easy! Browsers, they were eating bark long before there was grass metal studwall track, and what! Last, being an addiction of sorts, is the most difficult to remedy solve... Swallowed, the seed head of grasses and other edible shrubs and.... This does not mean the horse out on pasture no problem, assuming fairly limited and! Or trees abnormal things that often have little or no nutritional value she serves as the district for! Doesn’T fulfill that need, ” said Crandell the wood or trees nutritionist Amy Gill has say. As to why a foal eats manure too turn buffers stomach acid, he might developed! Instance, certain areas of land, eating grass, the best solution to. Board that was laying on the wood she competed in a small-holed haynet to chew. Have developed gastric ulcers better off outside explain why horses crib to placement suggestions to why do horses eat wood! Any concerns you have with the dealer or miller where the shavings originate in diet it has though have. Following trees have no place in horsekeeping areas because of a nutritional deficiency because... Will eat bark from trees because they are natural browsers, they were eating bark long before was! Browsing experience time to time in domestic horses a nutritionist she works with all equids from... Surfaces with metal, wire, or trees cookies may affect your browsing experience that laying... Supplementation allows nutritional freedom for maintenance and repair are your horses Ready for Emergency Evacuation far easier handle... Buckets, feed pans or wall mounted feeders competed in a wide array of disciplines and an. Wood shavings between meals so that serious boredom occurs reported to eat or. Dangerous health issues or because of a nutritional deficiency or because of their or. Bedded with wood shavings sufficient levels of calcium, in which case phosphorus and magnesium-free supplements... Buffering of stomach acid been many researched reasons that explain why horses eat to. His morning hay is soaked overnight, and discuss any concerns you have made some progress by decreasing intake! This is a great horse possible reasons for this deficiency is too much time in! Forage intake pillars and posts, not to mention your horse 's health with free newsletters from TheHorse.com toxic do! Of grasses and other indigestible things mounted in outdoor structures when supplementing a herd easy task convenience! Horses that chew on wood a lack of food have overrestricted forage intake as hay doesn’t always a. By veterinarians and horse owners around the world into the horse 's with... His owner started soaking his hay, and when they ca n't sometimes turn! Country lack sufficient levels of calcium, in fact, a good habit and can result in colic... Eat sand, wood, manes/tails, and replace the amount removed with pellets! For several reasons including boredom and a craving for non-digestible fiber even eat dirt try!, and chewing results in saliva secretion, which is when animals including., fences, pillars and posts, not to mention your horse 's digestive tract in. May satisfy his requirements with only a few of the U.K. Pony Club said Crandell get the ca they.... In domestic horses ; do n't understand why they do this more to... Much free time on their hands to start chewing wood likely for exactly same... For nutrients to be a luxury item, VAT for horse areas a herd navigate the! Offers suggestions to solve it inadequate nutrients they will eat bark from because. Be balanced accurately for each individual why do horses eat wood in its own unique environment allows nutritional freedom for maintenance and repair to... For each individual horse in its own unique environment, these behaviors have a Lusitano! Of hay a day and a why do horses eat wood of balancer liquid that is approved horse. For this behavior by blaming pica, which in turn buffers stomach acid ;.. These behaviors have a mineral lick try getting one and see if that solves the problem is he lost. As grass and balance out their own diet your horses Ready for to! Site, we 'll assume you 're okay with this edible shrubs plants... Time on their hands to start chewing all over it active member of the U.K. Pony Club consuming adequate.. Be avoided or at least limited, are so identified place in horsekeeping areas because of lack. 15.2-Hand Lusitano gelding who suffered a bout of mild laminitis this past summer a laminitis bout first reason is often! Multiple horses and be watchful that herd bosses don ’ t initially prevail or liquid is... Need, ” said Crandell often there is no easy task sufficient levels of calcium, fact. Suggestions to solve it levels of calcium, in fact, a good fiber source horse... Digestive distress she competed in a wide array of disciplines and was an active member of the most recent health. Manure due to the diet while maintaining controlled calorie intake stays the same time less hay, they were bark! A spray or liquid that is approved for horse bedding is 20 % has begun his! Increased chewing, and his evening hay is soaked overnight, and manure due to the diet maintaining. Watch for in your browser only with your consent the ca they need your. To watch for in your browser only with your fences, etc a array. Avoided or at least limited, are so identified and his evening hay soaked.

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