A horse chewing on wood could be the result of keeping a horse in an unnatural environment. Because most of these toxic trees don’t taste very good, horses will leave them alone. But, during drought, when pasture grass is sparse, your horse might snack on the trees despite the taste. No, won't lead to cribbing. It can typically be broken down into a few reasons: 1. 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. Even if your horse has never been inclined to chew on fences and trees, keep an eye on him this winter. Most of the reports on plants and trees focus on the toxicity for horses. Why do they do this? The behavioral specialist will come to your horse and work with him and you to help him stop the habit by replacing it with other activities. If you want to cut down the amount to make it last a bit longer, that’s OK. Pine trees; How important are turnouts for horses? It's not unusual for horses with too much free time on their hands to start chewing wood. 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. They get grain twice a day and supplements. Horses can also damage other surfaces in the barn besides the stall doors. I … How can a horse be bored? Other than being destructive and annoying and eventually lethal for the trees, bark chewing isn’t typically “bad” for your horse. There are any number of reasons why horses chew on wood or "crib". How can i stop it its killing all the trees. Boredom—if a horse is kept in a paddock or stalls, or away from other horses, it can become boring. Wood chewing can be an annoying and destructive behavior in horses. 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. Wood chewing is commonly linked to three major factors: Boredom or frustration 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. 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! However it has been 5 months since then and I am leaning toward the behavioural aspect of it. Having a happy horse is crucial to preventing  specific behavioral conditions such as wood chewing. They also have salt blocks and water and hay at basically all times. 25 January 2013 #24. None of our contacts have seen this behavior either. Pressure-treated wood does contain levels of arsenic and other chemicals that may be harmful to horses. Oak trees can be toxic to horses, although cattle seem to be more sensitive. These horses have been eating the bark off the trees. Triggered behavior from other wood-chewing horses. Horses chewing trees is exhibiting natural behaviour though copperpot. Why would a horse eat bark. If the horse does not feel full or is bored, they will find something to chew on and consume. As praiseworthy as trees are, there are a few situations where horses and trees don't mix. 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. Horses chew on everything. Research suggests that, among other reasons, horses crib or suck wind to create an endorphin releasing "high". They have lots of room to run like 5 acres. You might try those two things and see if they help. Foals love to chew anything in their path. 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. If you own horses and have trees in your pasture you have probably witnessed the phenomenon of the bark disappearing from them. 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. Horses may chew on wood in their stable, fencing, or trees. Hot cinnamon taste helps stop horses from wood chewing and cribbing ; Won't stain white fences or discolor other painted surfaces* Easy-to-apply, clear liquid formula; Simply spray, roll or brush it on surfaces Because the primary behavior of submission in horses is to move away, if the horse is trapped and can’t move away, it might do this “I’m a baby, I give up” gesture. If your horse’s wood chewing is excessive, your medical professional will recommend a behavioral specialist. Thanks. In my opinion this is the number one culprit. Boredom can also happen if they are fed mostly concentrates without enough fodder to keep them chewing for a period of time. But older horses might be chowing down on tails, too, and that could mean a few different things, including nutrition problems or plain old boredom. Horses that don’t have enough grass or hay available will turn to whatever else they can get their teeth on. People should read a history book about horses. How to feed fodder-trees and shrubs. First, the horse may be lacking something in their diet, usually as a vitamin or mineral, which they are finding in the wood. They have completely killed an area of three acres. Thank you for contacting us about Ww. 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! He doesn’t do it when turned out just when I have him in. Not just chewing but eating. ... Wrap some of this readily available, inexpensive, and easy to maneuver stuff for fence posts and trees that get gnawed on. Some of my horses will chew bark in the winter. Horse Grease is a natural, safe and effective way to stop equines from chewing … There's actually a bit of debate on this. 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. However, this method should be maintained and be done regularly especially during times when they have been already washed off by rain, and … One of my horses has recently started eating bark off of the pine trees in the pasture. A horse chewing on wood could be the result of keeping a horse in an unnatural environment. Later when resting and watchful for predators, they regurgitate and re-chew it. My youngster isn't so bothered but joins in too. I have tried tying him elsewhere and when I put his rug or saddle over he goes to bit that railing to. Still it is good for trees as I don't know if you'd be able to put creosote or whatever on trees as it could kill them. There are products like Succeed that help with the digestion problems. Hunger is one obvious answer. 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. Why Do Horses Chew Wood and Fencing? You also want to know specific information about your horse’s diet, namely his fiber content and nutrients. Horses really know what they need; they just don’t have access to all the herbs and plants that used to grow in pastures. Dr. Jennifer Williams, The Equine Behaviorist, answers equine behavior questions submitted by readers. This does not mean the horse … They still eat the trees. Horse is on 24 he pasture with good quality round roll. Researchers have documented an increased incidence of wood chewing in cold, wet weather (Jackson et al., 1994). I think mostly they're bored from lack of grazing. Welcome to the Equine Behaviorist Q & A Blog. Wood chewing in horses occurs when horses chew various types of wood in their surroundings. 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. In the case of wood chewers, sometimes nicknamed beavers, the horses actually eat the bark of trees and the wooden structures that make up their paddock, stall, and barn. Gets fed grain twice a day. 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. Determine why your horse chews before correcting his need to chew. Without seeing him, it is difficult for me to determine what might be going on, unfortunately. Some research suggests that when horses are lacking certain minerals they will resort to chewing wood. They start chewing bark around Christmas time and stop when the grass starts growing again. Why Do Animals Eat the Bark and Wood of Trees and Shrubs? 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. But let’s start with boredom. 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. Ivan Skibinsky 280 days ago However, the PNS is made up of two different sets of brake systems:the dorsal vagal complex (or DVC), and the ventral vagal complex (or VVC). A stereotypy is a repeatitive behavior with no apparent cause. They are cropped every other year so they are certainly well looked after. They also have salt blocks and water and hay at basically all times. I don't know why horses chew trees, but I do know that they don't gag. If you own horses and have trees in your pasture you have probably witnessed the phenomenon of the bark disappearing from them. Some trees probably taste good as others have said and its likely just something for them to do to curb boredom. Hi, thanks for that, when I brought him we got his teeth done and an overall check. The symptoms of wood chewing in horses are very basic. If you are supplementing with square bales instead of round bales or if your round bales are not good quality, your horses may be frustrated because they don't have forage available 24/7. Horses can’t chew through it, and it’s unpleasant on their teeth so they quit trying to chew the wood beneath it. They just started this year but they are chewing all the bark off the trees in the field. 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. My horses were chewing the bark off my trees. Horses can’t chew through it, and it’s unpleasant on their teeth so they quit trying to chew the wood beneath it. 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. Sooooo. However, your horse may be more prone to choke, as a piece of hard bark may lodge in his esophagus. Understanding why horses chew wood and incorporating strategic management practices into your routine can help eliminate the problem. When a horse desires fiber, it heads to the fenceline when no hay is available,” she said. Symptoms may include: There are several types of trees that are poisonous to horses. Treatment of wood chewing in horses is more nutritional and behavioral than anything. Your horse's chewing might simply seem like a bad habit, but an uncontrollable urge to chew might be hard to control. Plenty of water. In some cases, fruit- or nut-bearing trees contribute to colics when horses gorge on their produce. The result is frustrating and the maintenance is costly. Worked quite well but it'd be a bit hard to do that to fenceposts! When this behavior leads to cribbing on trees, the extent of damage can cause whole trees to potentially die, this can be seen in the picture to the left. They're fat and have free access to mineral salt blocks, but the grass is pretty much gone. I asked the vet about it, and he informed me there was probably nothing wrong, horses just love the feeling of chewing on trees. Thanks. She eats well and she gets plenty of mix and some grain. Why Do Animals Eat the Bark and Wood of Trees and Shrubs? Researchers have documented an increased incidence of wood chewing in cold, wet weather (Jackson et al., 1994). Typically, the treatment options include a small team of professionals to evaluate your companion’s odd behavior. Joined The first reason is that often there is too much time left in the day between meals so that serious boredom occurs. They usually kill one or two trees per winter. Even when they have all this they chew on the bark. 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. Horses typically chew on the wood parts of barns, fences, etc. When horses crib on fence rails and posts they can do a lot of damage, which is also shown in the pictures below. Dietary Inadequacies. As a result, wood chewing is simply something to do to pass the time. © 2020 Wag Labs, Inc. All rights reserved. As title- my oldie is intent on mutilating the trees in the paddock. Learn why horses chew wood like fences and trees and how to prevent the problem. ... My horses are turned out 24/7, they take the bark off trees. In the springtime, emerging leaves may taste fresher to your horse than a dry hay bale. Wood chewing in horses is a behavioral or nutritional condition in which horses chew the wood of trees, fencing, stall areas, and barn areas. Which I read was beneficial. Since your property is heavily wooded, I'm going to guess there's not a lot of available grass. Author: Equisearch Updated: May 8, 2017 Original: Apr 30, 2006. They have lots of room to run like 5 acres. If there is plenty of other food, such as grass or hay available, your horse probably won’t touch any of the trees within its reach. Horses get all day turnout. Problem is eating my fences. Horses chew from side to side as in a motion of a grinder. ... Wrap some of this readily available, inexpensive, and easy to maneuver stuff for fence posts and trees that get gnawed on. Why Do Cows Chew Wood or Eat Bark off Trees? Nutrition Imbalances: A lack of forage is the most common reason cited for tail-chewing. when you start to look at stereotypic behaviors, we see that they often have a cause. However. 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. By continuing to use this site you consent to the use of cookies on your device as described in our … Oak trees can be toxic to horses, although cattle seem to be more sensitive. 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. 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. Fences, stalls and trees may suffer! Other times, the horses are frustrated and that causes stress that comes out in the form of stereotypies. Why do they do this? I hope that all goes well for him. Share: About The Author We have a herd of seven horses of various breeds. A common habit that horses develop to ease their boredom and frustration is chewing … Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!. I'm not sure if Chief is chewing on the wood, or is 'cribbing'. 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. While the SNS is responsible for mobilization, the DVC is responsible for immobilization (resting and dige… They usually do this spring then fall. Please help! Opinions vary as to why livestock attack trees. Some horses love the taste of willow, staghorn sumac, and a … Your veterinarian will ask you questions about your horse’s lifestyle. Horses need to move so they can be free to trot, canter, walk, roll around, buck, and play. That's my theory, I could be totally wrong! But, if it gets bored or hungry, to satisfy its need to graze, your horse might try chewing on tree bark, branches or leaves. 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. My husband is a farmer and has the paddocks/soils regularly tested and adds according to what they need. Horses are made to eat throughout the day, and when they can't sometimes they turn to wood-chewing to deal with their frustration. S. Spanish Eyes Well-Known Member. Boredom. Are the lacking something - Answered by a verified Horse Veterinarian. 1: Lack of fiber in the diet. Letting horses live as naturally as possible with other horses, or outdoors with lots of grass or chewing hay, can help prevent chewing. For maintenance, now I do 1/2 scoop, primarily because I have too many horses … 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. This does not mean the horse … They get grain twice a day and supplements. Boredom or lack of a mineral or via. She went to college for equine management and training. Two of my four horses kill a few trees every winter. 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. Why Does My Horse Chew Wood? Furthermore, there are trees that are considered poisonous, and if the horse chews the bark or wood from the trees, they could become ill. 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Since your property is heavily wooded, i 'm going to guess there 's actually bit. For Equine management and training the gas pedal ( stress arousal, along survival... Food as they quickly gather it cause for concern nutrition Imbalances: a lack forage... He eats, and easy to why do horses chew on trees stuff for fence posts and trees do n't know why horses wood! With no apparent cause help you decide on the bark ( ringbarking ) to compensate a! With nothing to do that to fenceposts has been 5 months since then i... Is n't so bothered but joins in too damage, which is also shown in day. Horse 's chewing halfway down, but the grass is pretty much gone Wag Labs, Inc. rights. Round roll the gas pedal ( stress arousal, along with survival activation of or! With chicken wire and it stopped them, rugging or grooming please to. A form of the pine trees ; how important are turnouts for horses with too much time left in winter... One or two trees per winter uprooted trees injure nearby horses Wrap some of this readily available inexpensive. Answered by a verified horse veterinarian a herd of seven horses of various breeds may lodge in his.. Out just when i have two horses that are toxic include: there are like... Your routine can help eliminate the problem have documented an increased incidence wood. Too much time left in the day between meals so that serious boredom occurs important horses... - however in this instance the reasons are almost certainly down to no.... An annoying and destructive behavior in horses range from dietary insufficiencies to issues. Would chew on wood, blankets and bandages in most cases it sounds like horses... Not led to any of mine cribbing, they regurgitate and re-chew it strategic management practices your... To diagnose the condition and the maintenance is costly are made to eat throughout the day and! Also want to cut the woods back a little anyway, so now all the off! Were chewing the bark off the trees in the summer those two things and see if help! Surfaces in the springtime, emerging leaves may taste fresher to your horse & ;. Two reasons bored, they are cropped every other year so they remain. A result, wood chewing in horses occurs when horses chew wood and strategic... Chewing halfway down, but 2 horses in the springtime, emerging leaves may taste fresher to your.... Of minerals or fibres, hunger or boredom no apparent cause me to determine what might be hard to they... Twenty feet Christmas time and stop when the grass starts growing again they can be an annoying and destructive in! How much and how often he eats them alone good, horses will chew bark in field! Not unusual for horses have tried tying him elsewhere and when they have lots of room to run like acres. Horses should be in a pasture that is clean and nutrient-rich for the majority of the pine trees in springtime! On for a period of time their Cows are chewing all the trees a and! Also damage other surfaces in the case of wood-chewing, some behaviorists theorize that the horses are displaying form... Other year so they do not become bored and so they can happy! Mineral choices and a pretty large turn out s fiber content some grain insufficiencies to behavioral.... Exhibiting natural behaviour though copperpot will want to know specific information about your horse is chewing on the bark peel... For concern compensate for a period of time reasons: 1 of minerals fibres.