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Electrolytes.....chewing wood

This is a discussion on Electrolytes.....chewing wood within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Will a himalayan salt lick give my horse energy
  • Horse chewing wood due to lack of minerals

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    10-02-2011, 03:35 PM
  #11
Foal
I've witnessed my older gelding chew on tree bark. I've owned him for 17 years and 12 of those he's had 24/7 access to pasture. I've only seen him do it a few times but it doesn't seem due to boredom. Try not to worry too much, just allow the minerals to be available to her and give her time to adjust to her new lifestyle.
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    10-03-2011, 01:18 PM
  #12
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by atomic    
I've witnessed my older gelding chew on tree bark. I've owned him for 17 years and 12 of those he's had 24/7 access to pasture. I've only seen him do it a few times but it doesn't seem due to boredom. Try not to worry too much, just allow the minerals to be available to her and give her time to adjust to her new lifestyle.
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She ate her salt lick in two days. I can't go to the feed store till the middle of the month. I have been top dressing her grain with a salt/mineral mixture and she has not even offered to chew the wood. That is why I say it is a salt/mineral diffeciency, because as long as she is getting the top dressing on her feed she is content.
     
    10-03-2011, 02:23 PM
  #13
Banned
Our 6 yr. Old OTTB is a wood chewer...

Neither salt, minerals nor the supplement Quitt helped him.

In his case the chewing is likely caused by his personality being a bit high strung, and boredom. He IS an OTTB fter all.

He spent the winter in a paddock too small for him and out of boredom he chewed the barn up.

Now he is out in a huge pasture all day and only in the dirt lot paddock at night, and he hardly ever chews anymore.
     
    10-03-2011, 03:12 PM
  #14
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverick101    
Sorry this is an old wives tale. Horses do chew wood out of boredom, not because they magically know they are lacking minerals etc in their diet.
Wrong. When a horse has a deficiency in something they will seek out other sources of what they need. It is not "magic" it is nature. Take Coprophagia (eating horse poop) in older horses. This usually occurs in horses who need more fiber in their diet. Sure it could be because they are bored, but typically the horse is deficient in something. Iv had horses who chew wood, a simple salt block fixed it. It could be a number of things the horse is deficient in, but it also could be because its bored. It it was me it would feed more hay, usually fixes the problem. Keeps the horse busy and also offers more fiber.

How do you think horses in the wild survive? They know what to look for and when to look for it.
     
    10-03-2011, 05:06 PM
  #15
Weanling
The majority of woodchewers are horses that are stalled, have very little grazing opportunities or highly stressed.

Of course it is not :magic" lol...I understand peoples thinking in the concept of woodchewing being a lack of minerals. But w todays balanced feeds, and quality hay, this generally is not the case.....and to just assume that throwing a salt lick in front of a horse has solved the issue is wrong.

You hit the nail on the head when you said add more roughage. Concentrated feeds do not satisfy a horse's need for
Fiber fill nor chewing time even though they satisfy his nutritional needs. It takes only about one-tenth the time to eat
A pelleted ration, for instance, as it does to eat hay, leaving the horse a lot more time to be bored and idle, looking for something else to do. It also leaves his gut relatively empty for more of
The day, which stimulates his craving to chew on something.

The OP stated this horse went from 24/7 turnout to being stalled...they also said the horse got 1/2 bale hay in its stall. To me that isnt alot, when you consider horses graze/forage 16 hrs out of the day....so that is why boredom is more then likely the culprit. Adding the salt lick is merely giving the horse additional things to focus his energy on.
Stall walking, pawing, weaving, cribbing, and yes wood chewing are all vices that we as humans have created due to our adaptation of their natural behavior.
     
    10-03-2011, 05:18 PM
  #16
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by .Delete.    

They know what to look for and when to look for it.
the horse will find neither sodium or calcium in wood...they would find it in dirt...so based on your logic the horse should know to eat dirt and not chew on the wood
     
    10-03-2011, 05:51 PM
  #17
Green Broke
I don't know what the op stalls in. But I assume it's a matted stall where dirt isn't available. But wood is.

I was merely stating that a deficieny is possible. Ofcourse a horse that is bored will pick up vices. A salt lick wouldn't hurt either, it does provide more sodium along with other minerals.
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    10-03-2011, 10:18 PM
  #18
Banned
Not all horses chew wood due to a mineral/dietary defiency.

Ours chews due to boredom/temperment issues....how do I know? Because he is on free choice hay in outside dry lot paddock at night and 9 hours on pasture, a complete mutli vitamin, has a mineral block and two Himalayan salt licks available at all times, and we have tried him on Quitt...a supplement guaranteed to stop wood chewing due to a deficiency. IT DIDN'T.

The only thing that stopped him was taking him out of the small dry lot paddock as much as possible and giving him acres to run.

He is a highly intelligent, highly strung OTTB who not only chews wood, but lead ropes, peoples clothing and plastic water tanks....

His chewing is not wood specific....though wood is his favorite.

His wood chewing is definitely behaviorial.....
     
    10-03-2011, 10:52 PM
  #19
Yearling
She is in a stall with blue stone down then pads and padded three feet up the wall. Now if anybody read correctly, I believe delete did, this mare had NO sort of nutrition from her prior owner. No feed, no salt, no minerals, no hay, no ANYTHING. She is just now being introduce to this stuff. By adding a salt block and top dressing her feed with a mineral she has not chewed At ALL!!! So therefore to me it's a mineral deficiency.

Half a bale not enough!!! Excuse me but that is thirty five to forty pounds of hay a night!?!! Not to mention what she gets in the pasture. Sheesh....if she has hay left in the morning she should have enough threw the night.

How can I add more roughage when she doesn't even eat all that I give her?!!
     
    10-03-2011, 10:54 PM
  #20
Yearling
FYI she is chewing the wood where salt block used to be hung.

This just dawned on me :-/
     

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