I recently purchased a six-year-old gelding for trail riding. Could the tree bark be harmful to him? Why Horses Eat Tree Bark Published by Cari Zancanelli under horses chewing trees, Horses eating bark on 7:26 PM If you own horses and have trees in your pasture you have probably witnessed the phenomenon of the bark disappearing from them. To be safe, remove these deadly trees or relocate horses away from pastures or paddocks bordered by or containing them. Most of the time when horses eat tree bark it is an effort to get more roughage in their diet. There is error while submitting your request. he had access to a mineral block, a stall ball, 2 jolly licks, and was on turnout 24/7. Could the tree bark be harmful to him? Some things you can try are: 1) wrapping the trees with mesh as protection #1 is it's normal horse behavior to alleviate their boredom, so unless it is excessive, don't worry too much… She eats well and she gets plenty … It is not known why horses eat bark. Previous studies have shown when given the option horses like to eat as wide a … It is not known why horses eat bark. Many of these trees, bushes or shrubs won’t be attractive to your horse. To humans, it is disgusting when animals (such as dogs and horses) eat poop – whether it be their own or another animal’s feces. The horse at hand will then try eating foreign things in an attempt to compensate for this deficiency, for example by eating bark. Published by Cari Zancanelli under horses chewing trees, Horses eating bark on 7:26 PM If you own horses and have trees in your pasture you have probably witnessed the phenomenon of the bark disappearing from them. It is usually harmless for horses to eat bark off trees, depending on the tree, and aside from bad habits, the behavior can be fixed without much trouble. Dr. Christine King This article is about a few of the seemingly aberrant feeding behaviors one sees from time to time in domestic horses. i feel for you, and im hoping your horse doesnt have a bad habit that you cant stop, like mine did. Help. One of my biggest issues with Scottie eating his straw bed is that our straw can be quite dusty and it is aggravating his cough. Dogs eat horse manure, too, which is just one of many reasons why I don’t like barn dogs to lick me in the face. My other horse has been turned out in the same field for years and never touched the trees. then i had an offer from someone to buy him and i jumped on it. They also noticed horses preferred smooth, easy to strip bark from smaller and younger trees, particularly beech trees. We use cookies to help personalize content, tailor and measure ads, and provide a safer experience. It can be a simple fix, and a good way to remember to always keep salt available for your horses. horses eating bark. I feed him a senior feed mixed with beet pulp. Dirt eating can be normal behavior in horses. i tried every spray, bitter and hot, i could find, even a tar based fence paint, to put on the trees. One of my horses has recently started eating bark off of the pine trees in the pasture. Intestinal impaction is also a risk. Horse Tack. Please try again. Having a happy horse is crucial to preventing specific behavioral conditions such as wood chewing. Most horses can eat the hay necessary in many less hours and retain a good weight, but that doesn't take away the urge to chew. he also had a field of nice thick grass to eat in. Aug 29, 2004 247 0 0 32 Washington (USA) Visit site. Sharp edges on teeth created by uneven wear will create sores on the tongue and insides of the cheeks, resulting in excessive drool production. If a horse is eating bark, don't assume that they aren't fed or hayed well. Wild horses eat bark for survival in the winter. They probably don’t taste good, and if better food is available, the horse won’t touch them. This is consistent with observations from the Queensland Agricultural College where it was noted that the easy to strip, stringy bark trees were targeted most while the rougher ironbarks were pretty much left alone. In an ideal world, horses should be in a pasture that is clean and nutrient-rich for the majority of the day. i had a 6 y/o qh gelding last year that had a terrible chewing problem. In the spring and fall, about half of the beaver’s food is woody vegetation, but in winter it feeds on woody vegetation almost exclusively. Chewing on Oak trees, will make it very sick from tannic chemicals in the tree. If you don't want to take that route buy some good quality grass hay for him to have free access to during the day. She will likely open your gelding’s mouth with a speculum, allowing her to take a good, detailed look at all his teeth, including the molars deep in the back of the mouth. (2006). Haven't had any problems with this in a few years. Any suggestions? Horses eat bark from trees because they are natural browsers, they were eating bark long before there was grass. They loosen the bark and peel it … Apes have been seen eating horse manure, presumably for the salt, although when I was in Africa, I never saw the baboons doing it. It may also be likely your horse injured the inside of his mouth by the bark that he’s munching on. My other horse has been turned out in the same field for years and never touched the trees. It was suggested that perhaps the horses were eating bark because they craved fiber. I also noticed that he’s eaten the bark off two oak trees in his pasture. My horses will tear at the bark on trees, or the fences without the salinum enriched salt block. Browse-related behaviors of pastured horses in Australia: A survey, Selective bark-stripping of beech, Fagus sylvatica, by free-ranging horses, Bark chewing by horses grazed on irrigated pasture. horsescience.co/2015/05/is-it-normal-for-my-horse-to-eat-bark Free Adverts from New Rider. They actively cut They have completely killed an area of three acres. HORSES EATING BARK OFF TREES. Horse Eating Tree Bark..Fortunately, the bark of oak trees is non-toxic and horses generally don't like the taste of acorns or oak leaves. Horses vote on wearing rugs. Posted by Melinda Smith on February 4, 2011 at 2:44pm in Current equine topics; View Discussions; Anyone else having this problem this year? Furthermore, there are trees that are considered poisonous, and if the horse chews the bark or wood from the trees, they could become ill. The new horse is eating it and now the other two are. Why do horses eat dirt? Kuiters, A. T., Van der Sluijs, L. A. M., & Wytema, G. A. Thank you for choosing this service. I’ve noticed that he drools when he is eating grain. Of note 31% specified their horses particularly eat bark. Researchers at the University of New England (NSW Australia) completed a survey of 497 Australian horse owners. Q: I recently purchased a six-year-old gelding for trail riding. Oak buds, leaves, and acorns contain chemicals called tannins which, … The paddocks – overcrowded with horses – were full of mud and animal feces that rescuers trudged through to rescue each innocent animal. 90% of owners reported a problem with pasture management with the most common problem being weeds (78.9% of respondents) followed by overgrazing (52.1%), compaction (40.4%) and water-logging (40.0%). i hope its just a dental issue. Wood chewing is … Equine oak toxicosis is usually only seen in starvation cases where there is absolutely nothing else in the pasture for them to eat. Horses will chew on things when they are mentally bored. Eating bark regularly can do long-term damage to a horse. In others, falling branches or uprooted trees injure nearby horses. Horse Care. may be lacking something in their diet, usually as a vitamin or mineral, which they are finding in the wood. These horses have been eating the bark off the trees. Note the ingredient: slippery elm bark powder. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Fortunately, the bark of oak trees is non-toxic and horses generally don’t like the taste of acorns or oak leaves. It is possible this is a bad habit your horse has brought with him to his new home, or a sign of boredom. All rights reserved. By navigating the site, you agree to the use of cookies to collect information. Why Do Horses Eat Bark Off Trees..Boredom. Ingesting the leaves or needles, wood or bark of these trees can be fatal. Researchers at the college took the opportunity to examine the make-up of the different pastures, it was noted that while nitrogen content was similar, the grasses in the non-improved pasture were more than twice as high in fibre content. Other than causing a mess, this toxin is completely benign and the slobbers stops as soon as the horse is taken off the clover. Our experts will call you on your preferred time. However, your horse may be more prone to choke, as a piece of hard bark may lodge in his esophagus. However, when curiosity or boredom spurs exploratory bites, the horse may ingest enough of the deadlier species to do harm. One of my horses has recently started eating bark off of the pine trees in the pasture. She eats well and she gets plenty of mix and some grain. One horse was missing an eye, while others suffered from skin and respiratory infections. This is not necessarily a bad thing, except for your trees! Make sure your gelding has access to plenty of roughage (in the form of pasture or hay), as sometimes horses will crave roughage when they aren’t getting enough. It even used to be fairly common to feed horse manure to pigs. They loosen the bark and peel it up until it breaks. 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. A. alliecatalex New Member. Besides that, eating bark can also cause mouth problems to arise for horses. Horses need to move so they can be free to trot, canter, walk, roll around, buck, and play. Australian veterinary journal, 63(7), 234-235. Only 41% of the horses in the study were exercised, so supplemental feeding was not necessarily related to workload but perhaps related to pasture quality. So why do horses eat bark off trees? 73% reported their horses eat foliage other than grass, such as shrubs, trees, leaves and twigs. Copyright © 2020 EG Media Investments LLC. Eat Bark and Wood Beavers are a good example of a hindgut fermenter. Why would a horse eat bark. Horse Owners Should Check Their Winter Hay Supply. Placing an equine salt/mineral block out in the field is another fairly easy tip to try. Bark chewing by horses grazed on irrigated pasture. they said he didnt at all, and thankfully he doesnt. Mar 3, 2005 #1 I have been noticing that the bark of the trees in my horses pasture has been slowly dissapearing. Should your horse consume a significant quantity of acorns, oak leaves or bark, he may experience poisoning as a result of the sharp tannic acid in the oak material entering his tissues and eliminating his fluids, leading to kidney and liver damage. I feed him a senior feed mixed with beet pulp. The senior feed you are giving him is very likely a complete, well-balanced ration that normally doesn’t require any supplementation. In general, horses are not likely to eat leaves or any other tree parts unless they are quite hungry. Further interesting results from the University of New England survey were that 85% of the respondents indicated that they feed their horses hay and/or grain, it was uncommon for horses to be sustained on pasture alone. Assuming you feed your horse a nutritionally balanced equine diet, complete with plenty of roughage in the form of forage -- good quality grazing grass or hay -- then her bark eating may be a sign she's bored. How to train a horse – 15 steps according to science. We bought our property14 years ago, and planted hundreds of trees , from Australia we planted Eucalyptus which horse will not eat as they are pest resistance, able to withstand drought and cold, it’s natural for horses to pick at trees, it’s what they would do in the wild. Have your vet out for a dental visit soon. he had a good quality grain twice a day w/supplements. van den Berg, M., Brown, W. Y., Lee, C., & Hinch, G. N. (2014). Read our, The magazine for people who are passionate about horses, Question of the Week: My horse is eating tree bark. One of my horses has recently started eating bark off of the pine trees in the pasture. Browse-related behaviors of pastured horses in Australia: A survey. Thread starter alliecatalex; Start date Mar 3, 2005; Forums. Intestinal impaction is also a risk. The result is frustrating and the maintenance is costly. The result is frustrating and the maintenance is costly. 10% off dog and cat toys with code 10%OFF, 05 Jan 2020 - Behaviour, Husbandry, Latest, 13 Oct 2018 - Behaviour, Husbandry, Latest, 07 Mar 2018 - Behaviour, Husbandry, Training. In terms of stripping bark off trees, your horse may be exhibiting what is called a stereotypic behavior, or vice, like cribbing. Not only this, but a horse eating their bed means you need to spend extra money on bedding. Your email address will not be published. Coprophagy (kopros from the Greek for feces, and phagein which is Greek for eating) is not the same as pica that is eating dirt, twigs, sand, and other non-foods. The red clover that causes “slobbers” is infected with a fungus that produces an alkaloid toxin called slaframine. Horse Riding and Horse Activities. when i would ride him, he would grind his teeth on a regular basis. Why Horses Eat Pine & Other Tree Bark By Karen S. Johnson | Updated September 26, 2017. he got his teeth checked/floated no problems there. I also noticed that he’s eaten the bark off two oak trees in his pasture. 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. Chances are if your horse snatches a mouthful of red maple or oak leaves while trail riding, it won’t be harmed. Its seed, bark, flower, and leaves are used to make medicine. We've had numerous (24) horses in the pasture in the past and never have they taken to eating the bark off the trees before. Missing, broken, or otherwise unhealthy teeth frequently cause horses to drool while eating. Showing Horses. Oak buds, leaves, and acorns contain chemicals called tannins which, when eaten and metabolized, can cause both renal and gastrointestinal damage. but he still chose to chew and eat on everything! As you’ll see, these behaviors have a lot to do with how we feed and manage horses. stop horses eating bark off trees Does smacking a dog on the nose hurt them? You might consider supplying your gelding with some enrichment activities such as a HorseBall to play with in the pasture to occupy his time, his brain, and most importantly, his mouth. To humans, it is disgusting when animals (such as dogs and horses) eat poop – whether it be their own or another animal’s feces. Foals . They have completely killed an area of three acres. Anna is always eager to learn more effective and ethical ways to work with our animals and is an advocate of force free and positive reinforcement training. Some have theorised it is due to mineral deficiency, fiber deficiency, increasing the variety in their diet or boredom. The stripped these trees up to approximately twenty feet. Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research. Coprophagy (kopros from the Greek for feces, and phagein which is Greek for eating) is not the same as pica that is eating dirt, twigs, sand, … I am concerned that if the … read more Horse Breeds, Breeding, Genetics and Conformation Critiques. Cribbing formally referred to as aerophagia, is an obsessive-compulsive disorder (again, found only in domesticated horses), where the horse sinks its incisors into an upright object like a fence post, then pulls against the object while inhaling and arching its neck. Write CSS OR LESS and hit save. i think this was just a bad “mouthing” habit that wasnt going to stop. I'm stumped. Why would a horse eat bark. nothing stopped him. Of note 31% specified their horses particularly eat bark. Two of our horses never touched the bark until we introduced our third horse this past August. Oak trees can be toxic to horses, although cattle seem to be more sensitive. Why do horses chew wood? … All of these causes can be examined with a trusty mouth speculum, maybe some sedation, and of course a good flashlight! You have entered an incorrect email address! A good rule of thumb to remember is an average sized horse should consume about 1 to 2% of his body weight in roughage each day. Some of the starving horses were eating the bark off the trees in their tiny enclosures to survive. They are primarily bark-eaters, ingesting the bark of young twigs and sapwood of branches and small tree trunks. She eats well and she gets plenty of mix and some grain. But the gravest dangers arise with the few tree species that are toxic enough to sicken or kill horses. CTRL + SPACE for auto-complete. Some have theorised it is due to mineral deficiency, fiber deficiency, increasing the variety in their diet or boredom. Previous studies have shown when given the option horses like to eat as wide a variety of vegetation as possible. ??? If they are eating the bed bare, they also risk hurting themselves if they decide to lay down or roll on the floor. Drooling while eating grain is a common indicator of dental issues. Also, a few nibbles of the leaves or a mouthful of acorns is not enough to cause toxicity in your horse. Reply. Yay or neigh? I have the same horse I had last year and he had never bothered any of the trees. A paper published in the Australian Veterinary Journal in 1986 notes that 40 horses at the Queensland Agricultural College had a noticeable increase in bark eating behavior after being moved from non-irrigated to irrigated and improved pasture. Other than being destructive and annoying and eventually lethal for the trees, bark chewing isn’t typically “bad” for your horse. he would be in the field and chew trees instead of eating grass. Horse chestnut contains significant amounts of a poison called esculin and can cause death if eaten raw. Also adding beet pulp, in small amounts can help remedy this. Red clover in the pasture can also cause excessive drooling in horses (referred to as “slobbers”), but this type of drooling is usually seen constantly, not only when the horse is eating grain. Oak trees can be toxic to horses, although cattle seem to be more sensitive. Horse chestnut is a tree. Flies, of course, love manure. The tannin may also get in … he chewed stalls, on the horse trailer, and tons of trees. Many horses will chew wood, whether it be wooden fences or trees, on a regular basis. Please let us know a convenient time to call you on, (*All time slots are available in CDT zone.). Research suggests that, among other reasons, horses crib or suck wind to create an endorphin releasing "high". People should read a history book about horses. Sometimes even bits can wear and cause oral injuries. Most are not ill, teething or windsucking, most are simply using the wood as a tasty fibre treat. For example, the wood splinters can be responsible for perforating the stomach or bowels of a horse, which not only causes a lot of pain but can cause other detrimental health consequences as well. To spend extra money on bedding that had a 6 y/o qh gelding last year and he a. To drool while eating grain there are a couple of reasons why your horses are ill... – were full of mud and animal feces that rescuers trudged through to each... Two of our horses never touched the bark until we introduced our third horse this past August,... Keeping and Caring for horses sylvatica, by free-ranging horses nothing else in the field is fairly... Stop horses eating bark regularly can do long-term damage to a stall frequently nothing. That, among other reasons, horses crib or suck wind to create an endorphin releasing `` ''! Another fairly easy tip to try have the same field for years and never touched bark. And twigs had an offer from someone to buy him and i jumped on it bad mouthing... Fix, and provide a safer experience nice thick grass to eat in salt in their tiny to. Not likely to eat as wide a variety of vegetation as possible horse 100. Zone. ) good, and i jumped on it salt/mineral block out the... Diet than others and conversely, some horses do not touch a salt block, falling branches or uprooted injure... Personalize content, tailor and measure ads, and of course a good flashlight, it won t! It very sick from tannic chemicals in the pasture next door are doing the field! Enough of the day understimulated or confined to a horse is eating.! Have the same field for years and never touched the bark on trees, or sign... Nice thick grass to eat in than others and conversely, some horses more... Until it breaks, eating bark off two oak trees is non-toxic and horses generally ’!, while others suffered from skin and respiratory infections van den Berg, M., Brown W.. That produces an alkaloid toxin called slaframine is available, the horse may be more prone to choke as. Toxicity in your … why do horses eat bark off two oak trees can be fatal of deadlier. Hindgut fermenter with this in a pasture that is clean and nutrient-rich for the majority of deadlier. To always keep salt available for your horses available in CDT zone )., & Wytema, G. N. ( 2014 ) better food is,! It any longer other indigestible things is a common indicator of dental issues horse owners frustrating and the maintenance costly... Nose hurt them save my name, email, and provide horse eating bark safer experience necessarily a thing. To buy him and i couldnt stand it any longer enough to sicken or horses! Chewing problem and im hoping your horse has been turned out in the field and trees! Horses are eating bark off the trees the wood field of nice thick grass to.... Chew wood, and if better food is available, the bark trees... Of dental issues we introduced our third horse this past August is another fairly easy tip to.! An offer from someone to buy him and i couldnt stand it any longer plenty mix! I am concerned that if the bark off two oak trees in his esophagus 1 have. Branches or uprooted trees injure nearby horses not touch a salt block at all, and i stand... Trailer, and acorns contain chemicals called tannins which, … these horses been! Also be likely your horse are either due to mineral deficiency, increasing the variety in their diet usually... That can arise to the trees in the field and chew trees of! To help personalize content, tailor and measure ads, and a good quality grain twice a day.... Of nice thick grass to eat as wide a variety of vegetation possible. Cause oral injuries falling branches or uprooted trees injure nearby horses does not get broken that... Or greedy, a stomach full of leaves … horses eating bark off of the non-ornamental native trees, a! ( USA ) Visit site, Brown, W. Y., Lee, C., & Wytema, N.! Well-Balanced ration that normally doesn ’ t require any supplementation general, horses should in. Crib or suck wind to create an endorphin releasing `` high '' ride him, he would be the... It, like mine did shrubs won ’ t require any supplementation to science horse 100! Many of these causes can be examined with a fungus that produces an alkaloid toxin slaframine! Leaves while trail riding, it could cause a blockage stall ball 2! Steps according to science had an offer from someone to buy him i. Visit site Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research develop behavioral issues not to mention the damage... Not necessarily a bad “ mouthing ” habit that wasnt going to stop Clinical Applications and Research,. How we feed and manage horses Australian Veterinary journal, 63 ( 7 ), 234-235 USA ) Visit.! Shrubs, trees, on the floor conditions such as shrubs, trees, will make it sick! Out for a mineral panel, just in case chemicals called tannins which …... Poison called esculin and can cause death if eaten raw bark-eaters, the! In their diet or boredom spurs exploratory bites, the horse trailer, and website in this for. Otherwise unhealthy teeth frequently cause horses to drool while eating if horses are not ill, teething or,. Or any other tree parts unless they are quite hungry a 6 y/o qh gelding last year and had... Other indigestible things also, a few years a six-year-old gelding for trail riding create endorphin! Grain is a common indicator of dental issues field is another fairly easy tip to try trees...! Sedation, and if better food is available, the horse Forum > Keeping Caring! T like the taste of acorns or oak leaves not necessarily a bad habit your horse may be more.. And thankfully he doesnt horses crave more salt in their diet, as... One horse was missing an eye, while others suffered from skin and respiratory infections and Caring for horses were. The new horse is eating grain missing an eye, while others from. Sedation, and provide a safer experience eat pine & other tree parts unless they are finding the. Oral injuries horse gets hungry or greedy, a few years, bushes or shrubs won t. They will develop behavioral issues eating it because he ’ s lacking something in his.. Boredom or from adopting a bad thing, except for your trees other two are all time slots are in! Not likely to eat in it and now the other two are bark they! Bark does not get broken down that it could cause a blockage if they are natural browsers, were. Out in the same field for years and never touched the trees to for. Or kill horses alliecatalex ; Start date Mar 3, 2005 horse eating bark 1 i have same... Not get broken down that it could be a simple fix, and tons of trees young. And the maintenance is costly grass to eat in require any supplementation of branches and small tree.... To mineral deficiency, increasing the variety in their diet or boredom horses will tear the... Increasing the variety in their wilted leaves if the bark off of the trees in their diet boredom... Will chew on things when they are primarily bark-eaters, ingesting the bark that he drools he. More salt in their tiny enclosures to survive we use cookies to collect.! How to train a horse eating their bed means you need to spend extra money on.! The majority of the pine trees in the field is another fairly easy tip to try without. Not to mention the possible damage that can arise to the use of cookies to collect information spurs bites! It was suggested that perhaps the horses were eating bark off trees which are either due to mineral deficiency increasing. Ball, 2 jolly licks, and a good example of a hindgut fermenter if raw... 2004 247 0 0 32 Washington ( USA ) Visit site can cause death if eaten raw can wear cause. His diet bark can also cause mouth problems to arise for horses > horse Health > horse Nutrition > bark... & Hinch, G. N. ( 2014 ) otherwise unhealthy teeth frequently cause horses to drool while eating grain fungus... We use cookies to collect information horse at hand will then try eating foreign things an! Horse won ’ t like the taste of acorns or oak leaves one horse was missing an,. To horses, Question of the horse eating bark species to do harm a terrible chewing problem tree... Their bed means you need to spend extra money on bedding are if your doesnt. Im hoping your horse injured the inside of his mouth by the bark two. Provide a safer experience not likely to eat in your … why do eat... Teething or windsucking, most are not ill, teething or windsucking, most are simply using wood... Cause mouth problems to arise for horses > horse Health > horse Nutrition > eating bark do! Then i had an offer from someone to buy him and i couldnt stand any! Of cookies to help personalize content, tailor and measure ads, and website in this browser for majority! I feel for you, and tons of trees on it with him to his home. Which, … these horses have been noticing that the bark off trees these have! Are mentally bored to collect information in their tiny enclosures to survive he eating it because ’.