Help! Horses eating redwood trees!
 
 

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Help! Horses eating redwood trees!

This is a discussion on Help! Horses eating redwood trees! within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Can horses eat redwood
  • Do horses eat redwood trees

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    09-27-2013, 11:43 PM
  #1
Weanling
Help! Horses eating redwood trees!

Hey everyone, I need some help here! In the last couple of days, our horses have gone after the redwood trees in their pasture. We catch them chewing. They've stripped bark and pulled branches down. My dad will not be happy when he gets back from his business trip. O.O

All that to say...why are they chewing bark, and how can we stop it? They have three different salt/mineral blocks, but I'm going to pick up a loose mineral at the feed store tomorrow. (We used to have goats, and my mare loved their loose mineral.) They get two flakes of grass alfalfa hay twice a day, and there is a bit of grass in the pasture. I'm just really desperate...they CANNOT kill these trees or my parents will kill me. :P Please help!
     
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    09-28-2013, 04:21 PM
  #2
Green Broke
The only way to get them to stop is to prevent them from doing so. Try putting a temporary fence around them.
     
    09-28-2013, 06:18 PM
  #3
Weanling
Wrap the tree trunks in chicken wire up to about six feet off the ground, works every time.
     
    09-28-2013, 06:27 PM
  #4
Weanling
I agree with the previous posts, but I would also take it as a sign that they might need more hay to occupy their time.
     
    09-28-2013, 06:32 PM
  #5
Green Broke
If they are stripping bark, they are likely not getting enough forage. Most horses won't strip bark unless they are hungry.
     
    09-28-2013, 08:35 PM
  #6
Weanling
Piggish things. :P Well, I got them a loose salt/mineral which I will be adding to their feed. We're going to start feeding them the weeds and clippings from the yard again; they've always liked that. :) We'll try throwing in another flake of hay since the grass has gotten pretty low. Also, we're painting sealant on the damaged trunks and wrapping them in a sort of plastic fencing...kinda like chicken wire. Thanks for all your help!
     
    09-28-2013, 08:51 PM
  #7
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by apachiedragon    
If they are stripping bark, they are likely not getting enough forage. Most horses won't strip bark unless they are hungry.


That's not always true my horses have round bales in feeders plus loose salt and minerals. They can eat down 2 to three fence rails a night in winter its sure not because their hungry......can also strip bark off a tree in a night too.
     
    09-28-2013, 09:50 PM
  #8
Super Moderator
Most horses that are getting enough roughage and still stripping bark or eating wood are deficient in Calcium (Ca). This is particularly true of they are eating grass hay. Grass hay and all grain products are low in Ca and usually in Magnesium (Mg), too.

Mineral salt IS NOT a mineral. It is 95% or more salt and only has trace minerals that are seldom missing from a horse's diet.

A loose mineral should only be around 25% salt and the balance should be Ca, Phosphorus (P), Mg and/or what other minerals would be deficient in a diet. A good mineral also should have high levels of Vitamin A in it.

There should be nothing wrong with the goat mineral you had. Sheep and goats cannot eat minerals formulated for horses or cattle, but nothing in minerals formulated for sheep and goats will hurt a horse. The Ca:P ratio is what you want to correct. You can have 2 to 4X as much Ca and P and not have a problem. You can get too much P in a diet and have all kinds of problems including Pica -- eating wood, trees, dirt, etc.
Evansk and Nokotaheaven like this.
     
    09-29-2013, 02:52 AM
  #9
Weanling
Well we don't have the goats or their mineral any more, otherwise I would give the mineral to the horses. :) Come to think of it, the hay we just got is mostly grass, while the stuff we had before had more alfalfa...maybe that has something to do with it.

I'm going to start feeding them 3x a day because I suspect boredom has something to do with it.
     
    09-29-2013, 08:21 AM
  #10
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by TrailDustMelody    
Well we don't have the goats or their mineral any more, otherwise I would give the mineral to the horses. :) Come to think of it, the hay we just got is mostly grass, while the stuff we had before had more alfalfa...maybe that has something to do with it.

I'm going to start feeding them 3x a day because I suspect boredom has something to do with it.
Grass hay has a much lower ratio of nutrients compared to legume and grain hays. Was there a particular reason for the change? If not, perhaps look at changing back? I'll change from a legume or grain hay to meadow hay if I've got a pony or horse that's overweight or if they've got a history of foundering...mostly I feed wheaten, rye grass and clover hays. I suppose there are going to be differences from Australian-grown hays as compared to other countries too. But wheaten and rye grass are what I feed regularly and clover is a bit of a "treat".

Boredom is harder to tackle...but it's fixable. If you can, buy some slow-feed hay nets and dot them around your paddock...you can put one swinging from a tree branch and others at intervals along the ground. The horses have to "travel" and "forage" which mirrors how the herd behaves in the wild. So they work for their feed...and will in turn eat more as they're using more energy.

Horses graze for most of their waking hours. It's not really out of boredom in the wild but necessity as they're on the move - horses travel vast distances in a week and are always looking for "greener pastures".

I haven't tried any of the horse-specific toys available but I've heard some horses love them. That may be worth looking at too if the problem turns out to be boredom. That and more work; ground work and under saddle both tire the horse's brain out as well as the body.
Nokotaheaven likes this.
     

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