Cribbing? Help! - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 31 Old 04-17-2013, 06:48 AM
Green Broke
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Sometimes its about impossible to get them to stop because they have done it all their lives and its now a very well ingrained habit and addiction. Even if whatever initially caused it (bordem, ulcers, stalled all the time, stress, etc) is no longer an issue in their life.

We had a cribber here and in his past he even had the cribbing surgery which cuts tendons in the neck so he's not supposed to be able to crib. Well he found a way around that by using different neck muscles! Thankfully his windsucking noise wasn't as loud as normal due to the surgery but he was still doing it. Cribbing collars did not work. My next step if I kept him would have been a cribbing muzzle - they are light weight wire baskets that go around the muzzle. Much more open than a grazing muzzle but prevents the horse from getting its teeth on items.

Another thing is put hotwire up. Some horses LIKE the taste of peppers and such - so you can't count on those as a deterrent. But most don't like a shock from hotwire.

Unfortunately we had one of our younger horses picking up cribbing-like habits from that horse. No windsucking but started putting his teeth on everything trying to immitate him and ended up more chewing type behavior. Thankfully consistantly correcting him on it has led to a reduction and seems like the behavior isn't really sticking, but we have to stay vigilant.

All I pay my psychiatrist is cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day!

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post #12 of 31 Old 04-17-2013, 07:11 AM
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BO may be busy, but will soon be even busier replacing stuff this horse has destroyed. She needs to deal with it. Most likely this is why the horse is back, I would guess.....some places will not tolerate this.

I had one who cribbed (lightly) wore a Miracle Collar in his stall, until it caused him to have a seizure (the way he stretched cut off circulation). I will never, ever own a cribber again.
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post #13 of 31 Old 04-17-2013, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Cheyennes mom View Post
She eats, that's for sure, she's a big pig actually lol but the rest of the time is definitely spent sucking. She only used to do it a few times a day but now she can't leave the fences alone!
Cribbing/windsucking is due to stress, especially gastro intestinal stress/pain from inappropriate feeding, lack of free movement, etc. If it's allowed to become a habit, it becomes an 'obsessive compulsive' disorder and is very difficult/impossible to stop the horse, as it's self reinforcing. If the horse has got noticeably worse lately, I'd be looking for the cause. Stomach ulcer, hind gut acidosis, for eg.

Getting/keeping the horse healthy, in a healthy environment where it can graze, interact with others, free movement, will help by treating/removing the cause, but many horses are firmly 'addicted' and removing posts & such, running an electric wire around the top of fences, etc, &/or a cribbing collar is about the only option if you need it to stop.

I don't believe horses copy this behaviour. There doesn't seem to be any evidence of this. Horses kept in the same management may end up with the same problems though.

Eating/chewing wood can be a different beast though. May be simply there are nutrients in the wood that are lacking in the diet, may be the wood just tastes good.
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post #14 of 31 Old 04-17-2013, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by loosie View Post
I don't believe horses copy this behaviour. There doesn't seem to be any evidence of this. Horses kept in the same management may end up with the same problems though.

Eating/chewing wood can be a different beast though. May be simply there are nutrients in the wood that are lacking in the diet, may be the wood just tastes good.
See - from my own experience that is not the case. The horse we brought in was already a cribber. I had no wood chewing or mouthing of wood or anything else in my herd until that horse showed up. Then one of the 4 year olds started mouthing the wood, chewing on it - immitated the same stance and everything just didn't suck in wind but instead started nawing on it, and also started doing the same thing on the pipe panel - in the same exact spot the cribber liked to do his cribbing.

In about 2 weeks after the cribbing horse left the 4 year old really dropped this "imitating" behavior and only does it on occassion now. I would not have been surprised if the cribber had stayed around that the 4 year old would have figured out the wind sucking part of it as well.
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All I pay my psychiatrist is cost of feed and hay, and he'll listen to me any day!

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post #15 of 31 Old 04-17-2013, 11:51 AM
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You need to be careful with windsucking collars - I've seen them damage the follicles in the mane due to them being left on all the time, which people often do as they don't want the behaviour at all.

I've also seen several horses learn how to windsuck around them - doing it in a different stance or position so it doesn't prevent them from doing it. If you have a very ingrained, determined windsucker, you will probably find that a collar might not stop them.

I've also seen some research that suggests that when a cribbing collar is removed, the horse will try to make up for the time that they couldn't crib/windsuck by "binging", like an addict. Like someone has already said, it releases dopamine in the brain, making the horse feel good and creating an addictive behaviour.

A tutor at my university has a very severe cribber, and she ended up just putting a post in the middle of the field for him to crib on, and after that he never touched the fences and was perfectly happy.

There's a reason they're not called "vices" any more, but stereotypical behaviours - it's not a behaviour the horse chooses to perform once it is a habit, they are compelled to do it, and cannot rationalize why they shouldn't.
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post #16 of 31 Old 04-17-2013, 12:03 PM
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I need to put it out there. The metal collars don't work worth a ****. I like the Dare collar. Works like a gem.

The Dare Cribbing Control Collar Schutz Brothers (Stable Equipment Supplies - Cribbing)

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post #17 of 31 Old 04-17-2013, 12:11 PM
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I agree 100% with loosie on this one.
It is a stereotypical behaviour caused by people.
I had horses stalled next to and across from cribbers, but mine didn't learn it from them.
I believe if others start too, it's a management problem.
OP said it herself, horse eats well, but as soon as there's no food, it starts again.

If there are more than one other horse starting to chew on fences, I'd check if there are vit/mins missing in their diets, or just not enough chew time.
I've seen an owner who kept his cribber in a 10x10 stall with every surface hot-wired. Horse was terrified 24/7 and sucked wind without touching a surface.
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post #18 of 31 Old 04-17-2013, 01:04 PM
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we have one cribber on the farm, the weaver collar works wonders ( Weaver Miracle Collar ). the metal ones don't work at all.

he is out with the herd 24/7, and he always wears it, unless he's being worked.
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post #19 of 31 Old 04-17-2013, 02:28 PM
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Putting up hotwire and taking away the things she is cribbing on is a good way to help break the habit, but keep in mind if you take the fence away by adding hot wire she might move on to cribbing on water buckets etc. I would take away or "disable" (hotwire, peppers etc) as much as you can, and then add a slow feeder net in her stall or turn out to try to keep her busy, or turn her out with a herd on a grass pasture if possible. I would ask her owner about adding a collar to the environment/routine change, and possibly either an ulcer supplement (like u-guard) or even just a gut balancer (like brewer's yeast or a pro-biotic) to see if that will help at all. Best of Luck!
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post #20 of 31 Old 04-17-2013, 03:09 PM
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I'd get a grazing or cribbing muzzle.

At least make the horse wear it for a while so it has to take a break
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