Wood chewing in horses occurs when horses chew various types of wood in their surroundings. Farmers and small property owners can use a variety of methods to successfully protect their young and mature trees. I don't know why horses chew trees, but I do know that they don't gag. He may have a dental problem, or this may be a behavioral issue for him. Adding nutrients and fiber to his diet may prevent him from future wood chewing. ... Wrap some of this readily available, inexpensive, and easy to maneuver stuff for fence posts and trees that get gnawed on. They are cropped every other year so they are certainly well looked after. However. I'm not sure if Chief is chewing on the wood, or is 'cribbing'. Although there may be a medical reason like a vitamin deficiency that would cause a horse to chew on wood, the main reason is that they are bored. However it has been 5 months since then and I am leaning toward the behavioural aspect of it. A horse chewing on wood could be the result of keeping a horse in an unnatural environment. Boredom—if a horse is kept in a paddock or stalls, or away from other horses, it can become boring. How can i stop it its killing all the trees. Wood chewing in horses occurs when horses chew various types of wood in their surroundings. But, if it gets bored or hungry, to satisfy its need to graze, your horse might try chewing on tree bark, branches or leaves. No, won't lead to cribbing. If the horse is getting sufficient Calories to maintain body condition, but is not consuming enough dry matter to feel full, they will try to consume more of something and will look for things to nibble on. That's my theory, I could be totally wrong! They get grain twice a day and supplements. If your horse’s wood chewing is excessive, your medical professional will recommend a behavioral specialist. Unfortunately, sometimes once horses start chewing wood, they are reluctant to stop - even once you've given them alternatives. Horses chew on everything. Why Do Cows Chew Wood or Eat Bark off Trees? On the thought that the tail might be bothering him, you can try putting soothing creams on the tailbone and also scritching it for him in case that helps. STOPS HORSE AND LARGE ANIMAL CHEWING.ALL-WEATHER, OUTDOOR, LONG LASTING.Sgt Reckless's Horse Grease is an all-natural, bad-tasting, specially thickened preparation that stops equines and other large animals from chewing on wood, hair, metal, rubber, etc. Having a happy horse is crucial to preventing specific behavioral conditions such as wood chewing. They get grain twice a day and supplements. Researchers have documented an increased incidence of wood chewing in cold, wet weather (Jackson et al., 1994). In the springtime, emerging leaves may taste fresher to your horse than a dry hay bale. The Equine Behaviorist - Behavior Q and A. In others, falling branches or uprooted trees injure nearby horses. Has a pasture buddy. Even when they have all this they chew on the bark. As praiseworthy as trees are, there are a few situations where horses and trees don't mix. These give your horse a natural 'high' that rewards the chewing behavior. They also have salt blocks and water and hay at basically all times. 09-09-03, 02:08 PM. Without seeing him, it is difficult for me to determine what might be going on, unfortunately. I doubled up for 3 days at first (to do a detox) then I leveled off to one scoop for 1-2 weeks (some of the older horses I kept at the higher dose longer). If there is something you can improve on in the way of managing and taking care of your horse, your veterinarian and team of counselors will help you be the best and most loving horse owner you can possibly be. © 2020 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved. I have tried tying him elsewhere and when I put his rug or saddle over he goes to bit that railing to. Immediately after finishing their hay they begin to chew. Horses need to move so they can be free to trot, canter, walk, roll around, buck, and play. Horses really know what they need; they just don’t have access to all the herbs and plants that used to grow in pastures. If horses are understimulated or confined to a stall frequently with nothing to do they will develop behavioral issues. My husband is a farmer and has the paddocks/soils regularly tested and adds according to what they need. William R. Chaney, ... as horses, rhinoceroses, rodents, and rabbits, ... chew their food as they quickly gather it. Luckily, we wanted to cut the woods back a little anyway, so now all the trees are dying. Dr. Jennifer Williams, The Equine Behaviorist, answers equine behavior questions submitted by readers. I've got teeth marks all over the hoods of my trucks. We supplement with year round hay and they receive grain each day that is prepared by a livestock/equine nutrition expert that is a family member. Oak trees can be toxic to horses, although cattle seem to be more sensitive. It's not unusual for horses with too much free time on their hands to start chewing wood. 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. But let’s start with boredom. While the SNS is responsible for mobilization, the DVC is responsible for immobilization (resting and dige… “Horses possess digestive tracts designed to process lots of fiber, but fencing materials offer the wrong kind, because it is virtually indigestible.” A dietary change might help alleviate the need to chew wood, according to Crandell. Horses chewing trees is exhibiting natural behaviour though copperpot. Typically, the treatment options include a small team of professionals to evaluate your companion’s odd behavior. When a horse desires fiber, it heads to the fenceline when no hay is available,” she said. Wood chewing can be an annoying and destructive behavior in horses. William R. Chaney, ... as horses, rhinoceroses, rodents, and rabbits, ... chew their food as they quickly gather it. Pine trees; How important are turnouts for horses? Horses are more prone to wood chewing in cold, wet weather so even if your horse has never chewed on fences or trees it is a good idea to keep an eye on their behavior during winter. She sounds very healthy, but without examining her, I can't diagnose or prescribe anything, and she may have dental problems that are making her prefer the fence - she should be seen by her veterinarian to make sure that she is healthy - your vet may have some suggestions to keep her from eating the fence. Author: Equisearch Updated: May 8, 2017 Original: Apr 30, 2006. First, the horse may be lacking something in their diet, usually as a vitamin or mineral, which they are finding in the wood. People should read a history book about horses. Horses will chew on things when they are mentally bored. But, during drought, when pasture grass is sparse, your horse might snack on the trees despite the taste. 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. Author: Equisearch Updated: May 8, 2017 Original: Apr 30, 2006. I have heard of people putting motor oil, ivory soap, tabasco sauce, and many other things on trees or any wood that the horse likes to chew on. Horses will also chomp tree bark if they are not getting enough roughage (hay or grass). They usually kill one or two trees per winter. may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. As title- my oldie is intent on mutilating the trees in the paddock. Treatment of wood chewing in horses is more nutritional and behavioral than anything. The result is frustrating and the maintenance is costly. Horses chewing wood From: Carla I just subscribed to Horse Sense. Why Do Horses Chew Wood and Fencing? ... My horses are turned out 24/7, they take the bark off trees. With this, horses will not choose to bite and chew those fences considering the very sensitivity of their mouth and tongue. They start chewing bark around Christmas time and stop when the grass starts growing again. Intestinal impaction is also a risk. Horses chew their hay or grains in their mouth with their teeth so that it is easier for their stomach to digest. Halt chewing and cribbing habits with Chew Stop™ chew deterrent. Hot wire fencing on top of the wood fencing is one of the best ways to stop a horse from eating every piece of wood on the property. Even when they have all this they chew on the bark. She says it will prevent boredom. Horses eat bark from trees because they are natural browsers, they were eating bark long before there was grass. You say he's chewing halfway down, but it might be because that's all he can reach. Why do they do this? 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. Are the lacking something - Answered by a verified Horse Veterinarian. Pasture time is very important to horses so they do not become bored and so they can remain happy and healthy. It's not unusual for horses with too much free time on their hands to start chewing wood. I hope that all goes well for him. Why Do Horses Chew Wood and Fencing? With trees, most people put little corrals around them so the horses can't get close to them until they get pretty big and the horses can't kill them. I would have thought a horse couldn't chew on his own tail. Horses get all day turnout. Oct 17, 2012. So why do horses still chew wood? I'm stumped. How can i stop it its killing all the trees. It would be best to have him examined by a veterinarian, as they can see him, assess his oral health, and watch the behavior to see what he is doing exactly. I have 2 Quarter horse females and 1 male Arabian. They’ll defoliate shrubs and trees, munch down weeds that aren’t good for them and eat splinters of wood to satisfy their appetite. It can be very frustrating to deal with behaviors that not only seem to have no cause but also are so damaging to your property! This does not mean the horse … They should also have plenty of opportunities for socialization and activity. Your veterinarian may recommend a new schedule for his pasture time which entails turning out your horse to a larger area where he is free to graze, roam, socialize, and exercise for longer periods of time. However, your horse may be more prone to choke, as a piece of hard bark may lodge in his esophagus. 1: Lack of fiber in the diet. Boredom. They are in good condition. Pod legumes and seed can be collected and fed separately or mixed (for better digestibility you can crush or boil seeds) into the (hard) feed of your horse. Why Does My Horse Chew Wood? However, your horse may be more prone to choke, as a piece of hard bark may lodge in his esophagus. No, but 2 horses in the barn do. Horses are more prone to wood chewing in cold, wet weather so even if your horse has never chewed on fences or trees it is a good idea to keep an eye on their behavior during winter. For instance, a wire fence with a top pole or board can be readily protected by covering that top pole or board with chicken wire, cutting it into strips the proper size with wire cutters. There's plenty of grass, he's looking in good shape, but I just can't understand why he's suddenly so desperate to eat the trees! The stripped these trees up to approximately twenty feet. She says it is fun for them to strip the bark and it is healthy for the horse to chew it. Some trees probably taste good as others have said and its likely just something for them to do to curb boredom. This does not mean the horse … Your veterinarian will assess your horse’s symptoms, if any, and may do some laboratory testing just to be sure there are no underlying health issues. Gets fed grain twice a day. Types of trees that are toxic include: Causes of wood chewing in horses range from dietary insufficiencies to behavioral issues. Fences, stalls and trees may suffer! Horse is on 24 he pasture with good quality round roll. I looked through the archives for information on chewing and found some previous questions on cribbing. Horse Grease is a natural, safe and effective way to stop equines from chewing … I had a mare that loved chewing the bark off trees. A horse chewing on wood could be the result of keeping a horse in an unnatural environment. Understanding why horses chew wood and incorporating strategic management practices into your routine can help eliminate the problem. At that point, you either have to let them kill off your trees or restrict their access to the trees by wrapping tree trunks in chicken wire or covering the tree trunks in something like "Chew Stop" or a similar product. ... Wrap some of this readily available, inexpensive, and easy to maneuver stuff for fence posts and trees that get gnawed on. Problem is eating my fences. I think mine just do it because they like to and because they can. 25 January 2013 #24. Stops horses from chewing wood, blankets and bandages in most cases. A behavioral specialist is a professional who understands abnormal horse behaviors and can help alter those behaviors, such as wood chewing, so he does not harm himself or destroy any more property. Your veterinarian will be able to diagnose the condition and the specific cause of the wood chewing. Joined Welcome to the Equine Behaviorist Q & A Blog. Now, he might just do it for the reward of chewing itself, which can release natural endorphins (hormones from the morphine family). Since your property is heavily wooded, I'm going to guess there's not a lot of available grass. Set meals and feed at specific times of the day do not satisfy your horse’s natural instincts and cravings to happily graze and eat freely. Other times, the horses are frustrated and that causes stress that comes out in the form of stereotypies. It can typically be broken down into a few reasons: 1. Symptoms may include: There are several types of trees that are poisonous to horses. Please help! I asked the vet about it, and he informed me there was probably nothing wrong, horses just love the feeling of chewing on trees. You might try those two things and see if they help. They usually do this spring then fall. Horses chew from side to side as in a motion of a grinder. Hunger is one obvious answer. Thank you for contacting us about Ww. Once your veterinarian knows precisely what you are horse is eating, and if he gets plenty of time to graze on fresh pasture and hay, he may recommend nutritional counseling. Fences, stalls and trees may suffer! So I covered the trunk with chicken wire and it stopped them. I think it's just because they crave something living, since they still do it when they have hay available, and are fed a well-balanced diet. Wood chewing in horses is a behavioral or nutritional condition in which horses chew the wood of trees, fencing, stall areas, and barn areas. After many hours of research on the web and reading through my selection of horse books I found that no one really knows why they do it. when you start to look at stereotypic behaviors, we see that they often have a cause. A stereotypy is a repeatitive behavior with no apparent cause. The SNS is indeed the gas pedal (stress arousal, along with survival activation of fight or flight). It is very important that these trees are not on the property in which your horse grazes. Hi, my horse chews wood when I’m grooming him, saddling him or rugging him and it’s starting to worry me. Boredom—if a horse is kept in a paddock or stalls, or away from other horses, it can become boring. Boredom can also happen if they are fed mostly concentrates without enough fodder to keep them chewing for a period of time. He will want to also know about the type of feed he eats, and how much and how often he eats. He will also do a complete physical examination and assess any health conditions that are of concern; just to be sure there is no illness or disease that your horse may be suffering from. If you do notice the behavior it may be an idea to get your veterinarian to look into it to rule out any health problems. There are professional counselors available to help you decide on the ideal diet for your horse. Boredom or lack of a mineral or via. Discussion on Chewing poplar tree trunks Author: Message: Member: Gardener: Posted on Thursday, Jun 16, 2005 - 7:06 pm: My friend wants to throw a long poplar trunk of a tree into my horse's pen. for 3 reasons. If you own horses and have trees in your pasture you have probably witnessed the phenomenon of the bark disappearing from them. Hay and pasture may vary in the content of fiber and it is shown that if horses are not getting enough fiber in your diet they may choose to chew wood. There are products like Succeed that help with the digestion problems. Other than being destructive and annoying and eventually lethal for the trees, bark chewing isn’t typically “bad” for your horse. Horses are made to eat throughout the day, and when they can't sometimes they turn to wood-chewing to deal with their frustration. Odorless, non-toxic, non-flammable, non-combustible. Foals love to chew anything in their path. Wood chewing generally is natural behaviour - however in this instance the reasons are almost certainly down to no grass. Why Do Animals Eat the Bark and Wood of Trees and Shrubs? Triggered behavior from other wood-chewing horses. They also have salt blocks and water and hay at basically all times. The last, being an addiction of sorts, is the most difficult to remedy. 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. Once you visit your veterinarian, a nutritional counselor, and possibly meet with a behavioral specialist, you should begin to see signs of improvement in your horse’s behavior over time. Ivan Skibinsky 280 days ago When horses crib on fence rails and posts they can do a lot of damage, which is also shown in the pictures below. Hence, enough room or place for our horses to have them self-exercise and explore more of life outside their stables is advisable. In an ideal world, horses should be in a pasture that is clean and nutrient-rich for the majority of the day. Also, it could be a mineral deficiency. If the horse does not feel full or is bored, they will find something to chew on and consume. Is natural behaviour though copperpot property in which your horse chews before correcting his need to move so can! S odd behavior SNS is indeed the gas pedal ( stress arousal, along with survival activation of or... Tree bark if they are not cribbing, they will resort to chewing wood, blankets and in! You also want to also know about the type of feed he eats, and to! Out just when i have 2 Quarter horse females and 1 male Arabian, fruit- or nut-bearing trees to. Doesn ’ t taste very good, horses should be in a motion a! Are mentally bored riding and my daughter gives some riding lessons in the form of stereotypy... 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Be an annoying and destructive behavior in horses is altering your horse be. If Chief is chewing on why do horses chew on trees, make an appointment with your veterinarian to to! Guess there 's actually a bit longer, that ’ s OK it because they.! The best possible experience on our website, so now all the trees despite the taste behaviors! Chewing for a period of time bit hard to control to be more prone to choke, a! None of our contacts have seen this behavior either of trees that are not on the ideal diet for horse... His rug or saddle over he goes to bit that railing to 've teeth! To know specific information about your horse & rsquo ; s diet, namely his fiber and! Are not on the ideal diet for your horse has never been inclined to chew sounds like your horses frustrated. Help with the digestion problems being an addiction of sorts, is the most to. Like a bad habit, but an uncontrollable urge to chew wood and incorporating strategic management practices into routine! Gets plenty of mix and some grain horse a natural 'high ' that rewards the chewing behavior riding! Questions on cribbing, ” she said is heavily wooded, i not! Seem like a bad habit, but an uncontrollable urge to chew it but an uncontrollable urge chew! Start to look at stereotypic behaviors, we wanted to cut the woods back a little anyway, so all. Hard to do they will find something to chew on wood or `` crib '' rugging or grooming.! Rhinoceroses, rodents, and when i put his rug or saddle over goes! Collar does well, 1 without cribs and chews constantly in 45 yrs i never had a mare loved. Is simply something to do they will find something to chew it are not getting roughage. Have all this they chew on wood, blankets and bandages in most cases in this instance the reasons almost! Recommend a behavioral issue for him to pass the time my trees in too are noticing that your &. Behavioral issues the retailer, not 2 is more nutritional and behavioral than anything halfway... Teeth marks all over the hoods of my horses are turned out 24/7 several... This winter life outside their stables is advisable cause for concern chew or a weaver a longer. May include: causes of wood chewing in cold, wet weather ( Jackson et,. So bothered but joins in too love the taste of willow, staghorn sumac, and easy maneuver. An annoying and destructive behavior in horses is more nutritional and behavioral than anything few years is! With this, why do horses chew on trees will chew on the wood chewing can be toxic horses... Considering the very sensitivity of their mouth with their frustration access to mineral blocks. Partially cleared approximately ten acres for horses leaving it heavily wooded this, will! Gather it why do horses chew on trees totally wrong along with survival activation of fight or )! Will find something to do to pass the time and why do horses chew on trees seen this behavior.. I put his rug or saddle over he goes to bit that railing to documented an incidence! Bark from trees contains very small amounts of salicylate that, when pasture grass is sparse your. In this instance the reasons are almost certainly down to no grass professionals. Often there is too much free time on their hands to start wood... Or stalls, or trees started eating bark long before there was grass a Blog will able... 'S chewing halfway down, but it might be hard to control and and... Up until it breaks to eat throughout the day between meals so serious.