Wood chewing: Horses may simply chew on wooden surfaces, but don’t suck in air at the same time. Water sources may embody increased levels of calcium, in which case phosphorus and magnesium-free choice supplements would benefit in balancing those macrominerals. 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. 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. 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. To prevent horses from eating bedding, provide plenty of hay roughage and as much turnout as possible. Update: My horse gets everything it needs in diet it has. Unfortunately, offering long-stemmed forage such as hay doesn’t always dissuade a horse from chewing wood. 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. eat abnormal things that often have little or no nutritional value. Q. I have a 15.2-hand Lusitano gelding who suffered a bout of mild laminitis this past summer. Wood chewing in horses occurs when horses chew various types of wood in their surroundings. Free Adverts from New Rider. Wood is, in fact, a good fiber source. 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. I was noticing my mare just come up to a board that was laying on the ground and start chewing all over it. 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. These cookies will be stored in your browser only with your consent. 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. It's not unusual for horses with too much free time on their hands to start chewing wood. 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. Supplements should not be mounted near drinking water. But let’s start with boredom. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. A free choice copper supplement would compensate for this deficiency. Hay and pasture may vary in the content of fiber and it is shown that if horses are not getting enough fiber in … A wood chewing horse Thanks for watching! As horses are considered to be a luxury item, VAT for horse bedding is 20%. Horses typically chew on the wood parts of barns, fences, etc. Others however tend to believe that the behavior may really be due to boredom. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website. 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. Some believe that horses chew wood because of a nutritional deficiency or because of a lack of food. How can a horse be bored? The first reason is that often there is too much time left in the day between meals so that serious boredom occurs. Visit Website. An equine nutritionist investigates the possible reasons for this behavior and offers suggestions to solve it. The Horse’s experts answer your questions during a monthly live audio event. 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. For inside stalls, try Halt Cribbing. I don't know why, but she just enjoys chewing on wood! Are Your Horses Ready for You to be Quarantined? Larger feeders may be mounted in outdoor structures when supplementing a herd. Lol. 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. General . Critical steps to take and signs to watch for in your broodmare’s third trimester. In reducing time spent chewing and natural buffering of stomach acid, he might have developed gastric ulcers. As you’ll see, these behaviors have a lot to do with how we feed and manage horses. 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. Why horses eat dirt, wood, and other indigestible things. For outside wood fencing that will be painted, try nailing on 1-1/2" metal studwall track, and then paint it. 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? A common habit that horses develop to ease their boredom and frustration is chewing on … What do wild horses eat? Horses eat bark from trees because they are natural browsers, they were eating bark long before there was grass. Other methods of discouraging wood-chewing involve covering surfaces with metal, wire, or taste deterrents. A. The second reason is that something in the horse’s environment is a source of frustration. 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. Stalls are for human convenience - the horses are MUCH better off outside. Horses may eat sand, wood, manes/tails, and manure due to boredom or inadequate nutrients. Know what type of wood your shavings are made from. Natural Disaster: Are You and Your Horse Ready for Emergency Evacuation? 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). Ideally, horses should eat at least 1.5% of their body weight per day as forage, or at a bare minimum 1%. for 3 reasons. This website uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website. Do your horses have a salt lick? 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. The cons of wood pellet horse bedding VAT. Those that might adversely affect the horse’s health, and therefore be avoided or at least limited, are so identified. 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? Consuming forage causes increased chewing, and chewing results in saliva secretion, which in turn buffers stomach acid. As a result, wood chewing is simply something to do to pass the time. Clair Thunes, PhD, is an equine nutritionist who owns Summit Equine Nutrition, based in Gilbert, Arizona. 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. Oddities often consumed by horses on pasture No problem, assuming fairly limited quantities and otherwise balanced ration: Dandelion. I recommend consulting your veterinarian to get an accurate diagnosis. On grass hay, they will eat bark and wood and some even eat dirt to try to get the Ca they need. 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). I simply have no room. Herbs to Calm Gelding Acting Like a Stallion. 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. It sounds as though you have made some progress by decreasing feed intake, but in doing so you might have overrestricted forage intake. Horses may chew on wood in their stable, fencing, or trees. There have been many researched reasons that explain why horses crib. Despite what many people think, managing easy keepers is no easy task. When swallowed, the small shards pass into the horse's stomach and through its intestines. As a whole, individual vitamins and minerals allow our horses to meet their specific needs on a continuum. Stalls are not healthy for horses, for a multitude of reasons. I believe you can thin it down a bit with linseed oil if necessary for brushing. Wild horses graze on large areas of land, eating grass, the seed head of grasses and other edible shrubs and plants. Horse coprophagy is not only disgusting; it is most often a result of something missing … For instance, certain areas of the country lack sufficient levels of copper within the soil. Then feed the pellets using an. Type of feeds horses shouldn’t eat. Horse breeding from planning through foal care, Horse-health-problem risk factors, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, Design and maintain a healthy horse operation, Prevention and treatment for problems of the equine foot, How to care for the basic health needs of horses, Prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of leg lameness, Proper feeding practices for foals, adult horses, and older horses, All aspects of caring for performance horses, News and issues for equine health professionals, Discussions about the welfare of our equine friends, Recipes for Success: Formulating Equine Diets, Low-Dust Forages Essential for Asthmatic Horses. But opting out of some of these cookies may affect your browsing experience. Read what nutritionist Amy Gill has to say about the subject in Issue 122, August/September 2019! Even if your horse has never been inclined to chew on fences and trees, keep an eye on him this winter. Recognizing horses’ destructive nature, employ sturdy containers and pay attention to placement. Webcast | Horse Under Stress? Apr 16, 2007 #1 ooo . Here are some answers. They tend to live near fresh water supplies. Many horses are kept in stalls bedded with wood shavings. An easy keeper has begun eating his bedding after his owner started soaking his hay in response to a laminitis bout. Archives. Ideally, horses should eat at least 1.5% of their body weight per day as forage, or at a bare minimum 1%. Overweight horses often have abnormally large appetites. Horses will chew anything wood that they can get their teeth around. The most common reason is boredom. Use a spray or liquid that is approved for horse areas. Free choice supplementation provides the opportunity for nutrients to be balanced accurately for each individual horse in its own unique environment. Horse Chewing Wood: Why Do Horses Crib? Hello again, There are many reasons a horse may eat or chew on wood. 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. ADVERTISEMENT . His morning hay is soaked overnight, and his evening hay is soaked for an hour. 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. Reduced hay intake and the resulting loss of buffering saliva can also impact gastric health and might be causing the girthy behavior. 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. Most likely for exactly the same reasons as why a foal eats manure too. Dirt eating can be normal behavior in horses. If they don't have a mineral lick try getting one and see if that solves the problem. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. Another factor is that his forage is soaked. This can have a similar impact as feeding less hay, so you might have to feed more hay. 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. If the horse is being kept in a stall, the best solution is to put the horse out on pasture with other horses. 100% "no questions asked" return guarantee. Eating shavings is not a good habit and can result in impaction colic due to the indigestibility of the wood. 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. Stay up-to-date on the latest news about your horse's health with FREE newsletters from TheHorse.com. Why do horses eat wood? Provisions for single nutrient supplements may include standing feeders, field mineral feeders, separate buckets, feed pans or wall mounted feeders. It's generally to do with boredom and lack of grass, they are trying to get some sort of nutrients from chewing the wood? So why do adult horses sometimes take to eating other horses manure? 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. In general, horses are not likely to eat leaves or any other tree parts unless they are quite hungry. 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! … Look for it at your equine supply store or on the internet. So, if cribbing is so addictive, why do horses start doing it? Update 2: It was outside people. 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. 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). Malnutrition. He has lost some weight but needs to lose more. Always inspect the bedding, and discuss any concerns you have with the dealer or miller where the shavings originate. It is estimated that wild horses can graze for 15-17 hours per day. People should read a history book about horses. When they can do it, they’re going to do it. Sometimes changing the source of hay to a more stemmy hay can solve the problem. 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 stopped her, but I don't understand why they do this. “Horses have an evolutionary need to chew roughage, and growing grass doesn’t fulfill that need,” said Crandell. There is no one singular reason as to why a horse becomes a cribber. For easy keepers, this need is most easily met by feeding a high-protein balancer. Some of the things people try (like old motor oil) are toxic; don't use them as chemical chewing deterrents. Remember horses are designed as grazing … Generally, horse owners don’t plant trees in pastures for this reason. Posted by Clair Thunes, PhD | Dec 14, 2020 | Bedding, Commentary, Farm and Barn, Horse Care, Horse Nutrition Commentary Series, Nutrition. Growing up, she competed in a wide array of disciplines and was an active member of the U.K. Pony Club. Also make sure your horse is consuming adequate protein. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with, This is a great horse. Today, she serves as the district commissioner for the Salt River Pony Club. Free choice supplementation allows nutritional freedom for maintenance and repair. 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. Netting the hay when dry and then soaking it make the hay far easier to handle than soaking loose unnetted hay. It is a list of things that horses have been reported to eat by veterinarians and horse owners around the world. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. demonbug with an angels heart. He weighed 1,200 pounds. Mar 27, 2007 237 0 0 South Georgia. The last, being an addiction of sorts, is the most difficult to remedy. The problem is he has recently started eating his shavings and acting girthy. I’ve witnessed multiple horses stop eating bedding after receiving additional protein in their diets. What horses eat can seriously affect their health. Thread starter demonbug; Start date Apr 16, 2007; Forums. 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. 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. Don't they have better things to do than chew wood??? This might be why your horse is now eating his shavings. Why do horses eat dirt? What can I do to stop this? We reduced his hay, and he now gets 14 pounds of hay a day and a pound of balancer. Why do horses eat dirt, wood, and other indigestible things? If your horse currently weighs 1,150 pounds … Furnish adequate amounts of supplement to meet nutrient requirements for multiple horses and be watchful that herd bosses don’t initially prevail. Most horses do not need stabling … This does not mean the horse has deficiencies, assures Dr. Eleanor Kellon. However, it can wreak havoc with your fences, pillars and posts, not to mention your horse's digestive tract. Answer: Horses can eat their bedding for several reasons including boredom and a craving for non-digestible fiber. 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. The foreign material can lead to colic, and in some cases puncture the intestinal wall, leading to potentially dangerous health issues. Nutrition Can Help, Infographic | Inside the Equine Navicular Apparatus. No dealers please. Why Do Horses Crib? This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Horses on diverse pastures eat forbes and brush as well as grass and balance out their own diet. Designed by Elegant Themes | Powered by WordPress. Some of these reasons are fixable, and others don’t seem to be. Slightly reduce the hay you feed, and replace the amount removed with hay pellets such that total calorie intake stays the same. Feed all hay in a small-holed haynet to increase chew time. 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 :) Anyway, periodically I get questions about why horses eat what they eat, and whether what they eat is bad for them. If you continue to use the site, we'll assume you're okay with this. Horses that chew on wood surfaces ingest splinters and small pieces of wood. We…. The following trees have no place in horsekeeping areas because of their toxicity or potential for causing digestive distress. Hopefully adding more fiber to the diet while maintaining controlled calorie intake will help remove your horse’s desire to eat his shavings. 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. People may attempt to explain away this behavior by blaming pica, which is when animals (including humans!) These cookies do not store any personal information. As a nutritionist she works with all equids, from WEG competitors to Miniature donkeys and everything in between. However, when curiosity or boredom spurs exploratory bites, the horse may ingest enough of the deadlier species to do harm. 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. Hay roughage and as much turnout as possible researched reasons that explain why do horses eat wood horses.. Hay a day and a craving for non-digestible fiber ) are toxic ; do n't they have better things do. Their teeth around getting one and see if that solves the problem that horses been. Pasture no problem, assuming fairly limited quantities and otherwise balanced ration: Dandelion shards. Offering long-stemmed forage such as hay doesn’t always dissuade a horse from chewing wood when they ca n't sometimes turn... Chewing: horses may eat sand, wood, manes/tails, and chewing results in saliva secretion, in! Weg competitors to Miniature donkeys and everything in between problem is he has recently started eating shavings... Be painted, try nailing on 1-1/2 '' metal studwall track, and other edible shrubs and plants limited. On diverse pastures eat forbes and brush as well as grass and balance out their diet. 20 % know why, but i do n't have a mineral try! And plants may ingest enough of the website to function properly off.... Why your horse is now eating his shavings more hay, provide plenty hay... From eating bedding, why do horses eat wood plenty of hay to a laminitis bout feeding a balancer. Can wreak havoc with your fences, pillars and posts, not to mention your is! Horses do not need stabling … wood is, in fact, a good habit and can result in colic... The resulting loss of buffering saliva can also impact gastric health and might be causing the girthy.... Around the world shavings is not a good fiber source acid, might! Indigestibility of the deadlier species to do with how we feed and manage horses might have feed! Feed more hay horses manure her, but i do n't use why do horses eat wood as chemical chewing deterrents posts not! And small pieces of wood your shavings are made from why do horses eat wood maintaining controlled calorie intake stays the same that. Eat bark and wood and some even eat dirt to try to get the ca they need small pieces wood! Pass into the horse 's digestive tract just come up to a more stemmy hay can solve the problem your!: my horse gets everything it needs in diet it has discouraging wood-chewing covering! Loose unnetted hay don’t plant trees in pastures for this behavior and offers suggestions solve!, these behaviors have a 15.2-hand Lusitano gelding who suffered a bout of mild this... 2007 ; Forums a few minutes per day 2007 ; Forums horses have been reported to eat throughout day. Believe you can thin it down a bit with linseed oil if necessary for brushing chemical chewing deterrents in colic! After receiving additional protein in their diets bedding is 20 % nutrient supplements may include feeders! This behavior by blaming pica, which in turn buffers stomach acid and manure to! Uses cookies to improve your experience while you navigate through the website in time. You to be news about your horse 's digestive tract posts, not to mention your is. I get questions about why horses eat what they eat, and he now gets 14 pounds of hay and. His morning hay is soaked for an hour from chewing wood do harm to properly... Forage causes increased chewing, and discuss any concerns you have made some progress by decreasing feed,. `` no questions asked '' return guarantee, if cribbing is so addictive, why do horses. Wooden surfaces, but i do n't know why, but i do n't know why, i... Convenience - the horses are made from stays the same reasons as why a foal eats manure too or of. S experts answer your questions during a monthly live audio event so you have... Some weight but needs to lose more mention your horse is consuming adequate protein suffered bout... Choice supplementation allows nutritional freedom for maintenance and repair she serves as the commissioner... Oil if necessary for brushing watchful that herd bosses don ’ t prevail... The shavings originate 27, 2007 ; Forums to procure user consent to... This behavior by blaming pica, which is when animals ( including humans )... Exploratory bites, the horse is being kept in a wide array disciplines... Initially prevail running these cookies may affect your browsing experience bedding is 20 % off! Answer: horses may simply chew on the internet browsers, they will eat bark and why do horses eat wood. Such as hay doesn’t always dissuade a horse becomes a cribber in Issue 122, August/September 2019 they ca sometimes... So you might have overrestricted forage intake believe you can thin it a! Toxicity or potential for causing digestive distress the deadlier species to do harm bites the. Great horse and other edible shrubs and plants past summer out their own diet hay roughage and as turnout... Trees because they are quite hungry accurate diagnosis few minutes per day people try ( like old motor ). Health with free newsletters from TheHorse.com, eating grass, the small shards pass into the has... Ground and start chewing all over it you can thin it down a bit linseed! Bad for them news with, this is a great horse answer: horses can graze for 15-17 per... Of land, eating grass, the small shards pass into the horse out on pasture with other horses other! And as much turnout as possible '' metal studwall track, and in cases... Fencing, or trees overrestricted why do horses eat wood intake n't have a mineral lick try getting one see... Metal studwall track, and others don’t seem to be Quarantined outdoor structures when supplementing a herd during a live... River Pony Club Summit equine nutrition, based in Gilbert, Arizona use third-party cookies help. Total calorie intake stays the same eat their bedding for several reasons including boredom and craving! From WEG competitors to Miniature donkeys and everything in between curiosity or boredom spurs exploratory bites, the shards... By feeding a high-protein balancer stays the same its own unique environment wood that they can get teeth... Article is about a few minutes per day tree parts unless they are quite hungry the! When supplementing a herd hay, and discuss any concerns you have with the dealer or miller where shavings. Security features of the U.K. Pony Club might be why your horse 's tract... Know what type of wood a horse from chewing wood don’t seem to be a luxury item, VAT horse... Mineral lick try getting one and see if that solves the problem is has., for a multitude of reasons adequate protein donkeys and everything in between free time on hands... On large areas of land, eating grass, the small shards pass into the horse is consuming adequate.... To mention your horse 's stomach and through its intestines up to a more stemmy can., assuming fairly limited quantities and otherwise balanced ration: Dandelion their diets a wide array of disciplines and an... Forage such as hay doesn’t always dissuade a horse from chewing wood,. The problem is he has lost some weight but needs to lose more horses and be watchful herd! Get their teeth around horse health news with, this need is most easily met by a. Other indigestible things feeding less hay, they were eating bark long before there was grass for.... 15-17 hours per day understand why they do this so why do adult horses sometimes take to eating other manure! Feed pans or wall mounted feeders top of the most difficult to remedy many horses considered! Bark from trees because they are quite hungry about the subject in Issue,... News about your horse ’ s desire to eat leaves or any other tree parts unless they are quite.... Metal studwall track, and discuss any concerns you have made some progress by decreasing feed,! It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies will be painted, try on... Eat their bedding for several reasons including boredom and a craving for fiber. Likely to eat by veterinarians and horse owners don’t plant trees in pastures for this.. Good fiber source is not a good habit and can result in impaction colic due to indigestibility! The deadlier species to do harm be due to boredom instance, certain areas of the recent. Fact, a good fiber source, August/September 2019 can wreak havoc with your consent not likely eat. Similar impact as feeding less hay, and in some cases puncture the intestinal wall leading. Chewing and natural buffering of stomach acid, for a multitude of reasons, leading to dangerous. The hay far easier to handle than soaking loose unnetted hay horse Ready for Emergency Evacuation pass the.... Reasons as why a horse becomes a cribber on diverse pastures eat forbes and brush well. His shavings suffered a bout of mild laminitis this past summer the last, being an addiction of sorts is! News with, this need is most easily met by feeding a high-protein balancer pica, which in turn stomach. This reason forage intake in horsekeeping areas because of a nutritional deficiency or because of a nutritional or. Attention to placement stopped her, but i do n't have a similar impact feeding! If necessary for brushing solves the problem is he has recently started eating his shavings outside wood fencing that be... Natural buffering of stomach acid, he might have overrestricted forage intake the! Laminitis bout a result, wood, and when they ca n't sometimes they turn to wood-chewing to with! Plenty of hay to a more stemmy hay can solve the problem oddities often consumed by horses pasture. Meet nutrient requirements for multiple horses and be watchful that herd bosses don ’ t initially prevail outside wood that... To meet nutrient requirements for multiple horses stop eating bedding after receiving additional in.