Low water intake-eating snow - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 01-10-2017, 10:17 PM Thread Starter
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Low water intake-eating snow

Over the last few days, both horses have went from drinking three 5gallon pails of water (between the two of them) to drinking one. I've also noticed they will stand at the water bucket and eat snow instead. It's got me a bit concerned. They have a salt block that they regularly and heavily use, and this hasn't changed. The temp of the water is fairly warm, as it always is, the buckets haven't changed. They're still eating the same amount.

I know you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink, but it's worrisome. I haul buckets of water from the house so I know their regular water intake.
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post #2 of 15 Old 01-10-2017, 10:32 PM
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If your buckets have heaters in them, it's very probable there's a short.

A human can't feel .05 of current but a horse can.

If the buckets don't have heaters, are they freezing up in-between the times you carry fresh water to them? If so that's why they are eating more snow - they can't get water from their buckets.

And, horses will go tnru periods of not drinking as much as we think they should. My two seem to forget to drink but then they catch up to themselves (with water intake), the next day. I keep a close eye on them for any little changes that might indicate colic or impaction colic --- other than checking the electric buckets for shorts, it's about all you can do:)

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post #3 of 15 Old 01-10-2017, 10:51 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by walkinthewalk View Post
If your buckets have heaters in them, it's very probable there's a short.

A human can't feel .05 of current but a horse can.

If the buckets don't have heaters, are they freezing up in-between the times you carry fresh water to them? If so that's why they are eating more snow - they can't get water from their buckets.

And, horses will go tnru periods of not drinking as much as we think they should. My two seem to forget to drink but then they catch up to themselves (with water intake), the next day. I keep a close eye on them for any little changes that might indicate colic or impaction colic --- other than checking the electric buckets for shorts, it's about all you can do:)
They're not heated and I don't give them time to freeze, so I guess I'll just have to wait it out Trouble will bypass the bucket in the morning to go eat snow.
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post #4 of 15 Old 01-10-2017, 11:52 PM
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Are the buckets clean? If I try refilling the minis trough just one time without dumping and rinsing it out they will not drink it down near as fast. All the animals here can also get picky when the town treats the water with too much chlorine. Dang water guy got better about it for a while and now he's back to adding so much you'd think your sniffing bleach right out of the bottle any time you turn the water on.
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post #5 of 15 Old 01-10-2017, 11:57 PM Thread Starter
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Are the buckets clean? If I try refilling the minis trough just one time without dumping and rinsing it out they will not drink it down near as fast. All the animals here can also get picky when the town treats the water with too much chlorine. Dang water guy got better about it for a while and now he's back to adding so much you'd think your sniffing bleach right out of the bottle any time you turn the water on.
I scrub the buckets clean every time I fill up, and we have well water :s ugh I let it go three days, now it's starting to bother me.
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post #6 of 15 Old 01-11-2017, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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Also, I was just reading up on salt consumption. I don't believe they're getting enough salt off the block. They go at it all day but it doesn't seem to go down. It's over four months old with the two horses on it and there's still 3/4 left.

So, I might try adding table salt to their diets for a few days. It couldn't hurt if they have access to water right? Now my problem is, they don't get grain so I can't add it to it. Could I mix it with water and use a syringe? Spirit would most likely lick it out of my hand but Troubles pretty picky.
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post #7 of 15 Old 01-11-2017, 12:25 AM
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I really miss having well water.

They've never not drank enough to cause an impaction colic or gotten dehydrated if it makes you feel any better. If they're getting enough moisture from snow to stay healthy that's all that matters. Is their poop looking dry? Have you done a skin test? Pinch some skin on their neck and pull up for a good 30 seconds or so and then release. If it stays tented for a couple of seconds then you can worry. If it immediately goes back in place then they are getting enough water.
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post #8 of 15 Old 01-11-2017, 12:28 AM
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I don't know why you couldn't do the syringe thing. Could also sprinkle some in their hay or provide free choice loose salt.

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post #9 of 15 Old 01-11-2017, 06:35 AM
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Maybe it's just the cold weather (I live near Whatta and we've had a cold snap that just broke), though it's strange that they would prefer snow... I know Harley's whiskers were frozen solid around his face from the water though, so maybe they don't like the feeling, who knows.

I provide loose salt in a pan on the ground AND add half a tbsp to their feed. They also have himalayan salt licks in their stalls. Plain table salt is fine according to my trimmer who also trained in equine nutrition, but I use Redmond Rock brand loose salt for equines. The problem with the blocks is that they can't get enough off them. Also, maybe it's harder to get salt off the blocks when it's so cold. See how they do with this change in the weather pattern - the next three days are going to be a wet mess and much warmer. At least your water buckets won't freeze!
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post #10 of 15 Old 01-11-2017, 08:11 AM
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Horses don't drink as much in the cold, but that is a cause for concern because chances of colic can be increased. I would suggest giving them warm water from the house. Mine have outside water but they also have warm water that I bring down from the house morning and night and they love it.

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