This was a habit of the 9 horses in the herd mine are kept from boredom and an empty belly in the winter months. Horses are meant to graze all day, a little bit at a time. Their stomachs secrete acid 24/7 no matter if their is something in their or not. A bored horse needs to mouth something and they pick up yucky habits, whether eating poop cribbing, chewing, etc. Also, having SOMETHING in their stomach helps offset the discomfort of excess stomach acid (anyone here have acid reflux, lol?) this can also cause ulcers, anyways, this was eliminated by slow feeding. Hay nets with TINY holes, which made the horses twice daily hay feeding stretch out to 7-8 hours at a time, really helped. This is not to say that nutritional deficiencies will not cause this. I am a HUGE advocate for slow feeding, and other "natura"l ways of keeping horses (out in a pasture in a herd, and I do not rug or use shoes, or sugary feed) I think this is the secret to mentally happy healthy horses-trying to mimic their natural needs.
Agreed about the deficiency. Make sure your horse is on a multi-vitamin or that your grain is sufficient at the quantities fed. Also, I would do a probiotics supplement for awhile too and see if that clears it up.
Instead of a salt lick, give him a mineral block. Its salty and everything, but also contains important minerals. It stopped most of my guys from chewing wood. With the exception of my sisters, and I think they just do it so they can eliminate the wall between them. LOL Posted via Mobile Device
For information about digestion and horses who eat manure:
About three months of age the foal's digestive system starts to change, making it able to digest forage and grain. The foal now needs microbes. The manure from an adult horse contains microbes originating from the adult's large intestine. This first "solid meal" will inoculate the foal's digestive system. Some breeders will introduce a probiotic product designed for foals to aid the development of good bacteria in the digestive tract.
There may be several reasons an adult horse eats manure.
It is possible the adult horse is also adding to the microbial population in the hindgut by eating manure.
If the horse has been receiving antibiotics the drugs may have killed the beneficial intestinal microbes as well as the bacteria which were causing the illness. Eating manure may help replenish the good bacteria.
Offering a probiotic during antibiotic treatment, and for several days after the treatment period, is a better way to keep the microbial population healthy.
But the habit of manure eating usually starts due to a of lack of, or inappropriate feed, stress or boredom…and sometimes a combination of these factors and yes even minerals and vitamins deficiency can cause this problem.
Hope this helps. If your horse has recently been on anitbiotics for something it would be the easy fit for the behavior. If not look at doing a bit of blood work to try to sort out what she/he is lacking if anything.