Cribbing? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 12-26-2012, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2010
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I recently bought a 4 y/o OTTB who is absolutely lovely. He's extremely quiet and when he arrived Friday (the 21st) he barely even looked around before going over to munch on hay; he's definitely not the rambunctious type. I've ridden him a few times since he came and he was very calm and didn't seem stressed out at all. However when I gave him some bran mash yesterday (which I don't think he has ever had and wasn't quite sure what to do with) he started cribbing on the edge of the feed bin. Not a lot, but in the 20 minutes I watched him he probably sucked 3 or so times. He went back and forth between the hay rack and the feed bin in an all wood stall and didn't touch anything else. A few hours later I gave him his grain and he again cribbed once or twice. I've noticed out in the field he'll occasionally chew the fence but he is only chewing, not cribbing, and the behavior stops after a few minutes. I purchased him from a private farm (VERY honest seller and I'm certain if there were any indications of cribbing prior to my purchasing him, she would have told me) where he came in at night and was in fields with wood fencing. He didn't crib at all this morning (I was out with him for about an hour) but I want to be sure that he doesn't start up again.
Is there anything I can do to help prevent it before it becomes an issue, or should I even be worried? I could probably buy a miracle collar this afternoon, but I don't know if he would really need it since I've only seen him crib a few times... Could it be stress-related? As I said before, he's very quiet and doesn't appear stressed (eating/drinking normally, normal stool, etc.) but I know horses are great at internalizing things like that. He's also on the thin side, if that makes a difference. (Working on putting some weight on him...he isn't sickly thin by any means, just a typical TB. I know low body weight can be an indicator of cribbing, but I'm fairly certain that isn't the case with him.) Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Sorry in advance for my lack of knowledge on the topic. All our other horses are very very easy keepers and don't crib, so I'm just going off my past experiences from when we boarded.

Worth The Wait <3
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post #2 of 17 Old 12-26-2012, 05:46 PM
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Some Cribbers do it out of habit, some do it because they have ulcers, Or like my mare, it's an addiction.

Have a vet look for ulcers, and get a crib collar. Some brands of Crib Collars don't work so your going to have to ask around. If the horse does have ulcers my vet told me Alfalfa hay can help as well as an ulcer supplement. If you don't want to call a vet, get the crib collar and watch him. If he gains weight without trouble then drastically drops it he could defiantly have ulcers. If not its a habit out of boredom that probably started on the track.

There is a spray, No Chew type of thing, that you can spray on the wooden surfaces but you'll need to do it often specially if there is a lot of rain. Some horses it works with, some it doesn't.

Another thing is, if its your property a string of lightly electrified wire along the top can help lower the amount of places for them to crib on.

Basically from what I learned from my vet, Cribbing makes them "high" so the more they do it the more of an addiction they can get. I've used the no cribbing/chew sprays with my mare, the crib collar they didn't work but shes a mild cribber, only doing it when shes stressed or extremely bored.

In short my advice is, get a vet to check for ulcers and invest in a crib collar that best works for your horse. Other then that its all you can do till you know what causes him to crib.

The miracle collar doesn't really work, my horse, she cribs even with that on and the old TB mare she's pastured with cribs and has the same brand of collar on. I've been told before they really don't work. But dumby me it was cheap and I bought it.

Stress and boredom is usually what causes it. So being in a new place and not having much to do is probably why he is cribbing. Also if he's that mild of a cribber its possible they didn't notice it. My mare was sold to me and the old owner said "Oh she doesn't crib" but like yours when I brought her home, she cribbed a bit, then would eat, crib a bit then eat. She doesn't do it how ever when she has some sweet feed in her diet. I guess it gives her the "energy" thats similar to what she gets from cribbing.

This is what I learned from my vet and personal experience so yours is most likely different in many factors.

Hope it helps ^^

Last edited by TruCharm; 12-26-2012 at 05:53 PM.
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post #3 of 17 Old 12-27-2012, 08:58 AM Thread Starter
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Maybe I'll try to get spray. He's only done it in the stall, so it wouldn't be too difficult to get a good coating. We've made our own for a horse we used to have who just chewed wood that seemed to work okay.

I'm hoping it's just a stress thing, because he hasn't done it since... We've had pretty crappy weather and he was in basically all yesterday and all last night and there were no chew marks and he was quiet every time I was out. I'll just keep a really close watch on him and if he does it again I'll definitely try a collar.

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post #4 of 17 Old 12-28-2012, 05:50 PM
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Stress will definitely increase or start cribbing behavior, and moving to a new place is a lot of stress, even if the horse seems calm. My horse, who I was told "might" crib "a little," cribbed nearly constantly when I brought him home, even though he's a super mellow, laid back horse.

If this really is a new behavior, I'd definitely try and nip it in the bud before it becomes a habit. I used the Miracle Collar at first on my horse, since that's the only collar I saw other people using, but the front strap had to be SO tight that I felt bad, not to mention it rubbed on his forelock and temples, even with the fleece covers. I switched to the Dare Cribbing Collar, which is now (after about 6 months) leaving a small rub on the bridlepath, but overall I still like it MUCH better.
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post #5 of 17 Old 12-29-2012, 01:24 AM
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I agree with the above comments, I do also know a ottb who wouldn't stop cribbing and she would do the grain cribbing, she did out of boredom and also just getting used to it and getting addicted, you could try some toys in the stall like a jolly ball or a lick it to keep him busy. Also I think the spray is a good option as well, and stress could and would play a big part in it. Maybe just wait to see if he stops after he gets more settled in or if he just does it more. Hope I helped!

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post #6 of 17 Old 12-29-2012, 02:41 AM
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we have a consignment mare that came in from a dry lot. She went from being outside all the time, and being in direct contact with other horses, to be in a 12x12 show barn stall. While our facilities are very nice, and the horses can see everyone and everything going on, I think the confinement and the move just stressed her out. Unfortunately she began cribbing, and what started as just a couple times here and there, is now bordering on pathological. Nothing works for this mare. Owners have even used shock collars, if you can believe that.

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post #7 of 17 Old 12-30-2012, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
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I'll look into that one, verona, thanks! I've always hated cribbing collars; I know they're almost always more helpful than anything, but I'll feel horrible putting it on...

I was hoping he would stop as he's settled in, but I still notice it every once in a while. It's just been on the feed bin until earlier today, he went at one of the fences until I yelled at him and he walked away. I'm going to go out and spray his stall and the areas he's most likely to chew tomorrow and see if that helps until I can get a collar.
He also has a lickit in his stall already and doesn't have any interest in it. (I've tried a few different flavors too, as we have a couple.) He has a regular hay rack in his stall (like the metal ones that are easy to eat out of) and a small-net bag, both of which are always filled. He actually prefers the slow feeder for some reason, which I think is helpful because he's occupied for much longer with that than "loose" hay. The paddock he is normally in is just around our barn, and his stall has dutch doors so I often leave that open during the day with hay inside and out so he and my ponies aren't stuck in all the time. He's really only locked in at night because it's been bitter cold and since he's thin I want to make sure he stays warm. As soon as the grass starts to grow back and he puts weight on, he'll be out all the time in an 8+ acre field with more grass than he could possibly eat, so if we can make it until spring I think that'll keep him away from the fencing...

Thanks for all the help!

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post #8 of 17 Old 01-07-2013, 08:34 PM
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My new mare, that I've had only for 3 weeks now, OTTTB, 7 yrs old. Rescue, so she's pretty skinny, is cribbing all the time. she's on free choice pasture to eat. Even when I feed them, she'll take a bite, crib, take a bite, crib. When she'll trailer properly (too an act of God to get her in the trailer), I'll take her to the vet, so I'm looking for remedy's also. She'll walk across the pasture to the fence to crib. No wood to chew, it's all metal. Thanks for all ya'lls advice.
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post #9 of 17 Old 01-07-2013, 09:30 PM Thread Starter
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Eek, I'm glad he's not that bad! I walked all the fencing in his paddock today to renail anything loose and found a few places with fresh bite marks. I got a collar for him and he hasn't been able to crib since, so hopefully that will continue working. I've also noticed one of my mares has started to chew occasionally, so we're trying to keep them separated so she doesn't start too. That's just what we need! Good luck nuisance, let me know if you find anything else that helps.
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post #10 of 17 Old 01-07-2013, 10:42 PM
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A friend of ours had a stud that cribbed. Almost always the same spot and non stop. He tried a lot of options. I gave him some ghost peppers I grew to rub on the fence, he quite cribbing there! Lol. And spent more time trying to put out the fire in his mouth then cribbing. It worked for a while......
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