Tree Bark Chewing Horses

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Tree Bark Chewing Horses

This is a discussion on Tree Bark Chewing Horses within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Why do horses strip trees?
  • What is a horse missing when chewing on tree bark

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    06-15-2009, 04:49 AM
Tree Bark Chewing Horses

Two out of three horses have started to chew the bark of two jacaranda trees in a paddock and they have not started on jacaranda trees in other paddocks. Although it is winter here, there is still a considerable amount of green grass in their paddock. The horses are not chewing on any other wood or trees, and I am hoping someone can tell me why they have started this.

Are they short of some nutrient in their diet?

All 3 horses are in good condition, all are T/B geldings, and the two that are chewing bark are 16 and 22 years old, while the third horse is 15 years old. We have never had any horses chew on jacaranda (or any other) trees in the past...
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    06-15-2009, 09:29 PM
I think this should be under horse health topic, try posting it there:)
    06-15-2009, 11:30 PM
Could be the sap is running. My horses never chewed bark until we boarded a 'beaver'. Now they all do it. They've killed a whole grove of chestnut trees that now need to be bulldozed. It seems like they do it more in the winter though, and that is when the sap runs. Probably just looking for sugar. Ours have done it with a giant brand new bale of alfalfa sitting next to them.
    06-16-2009, 02:01 AM
They may be missing something in their diets, my horse has been eating tree bark too, but I think he's missing some minerals or vitamins in his diet.
    06-16-2009, 11:46 AM
Originally Posted by nldiaz66    
they may be missing something in their diets,
That combined with boredom......
    06-16-2009, 12:43 PM
My horses do it too. I do not think it was because something is missing in diet as well as they always have enough hay to munch on and pretty big place, so I didn't notice the boredom. I noticed though, that they eat up the tulip tree. I mean EAT UP (through the bark all way in). They also LOVE the tulip tree's flowers, so when we have blooming season they spend hours under that tree picking up the smallest pieces (my mom says they are sweet, but I never felt like trying one myself). They also like leaves from it, but not that much. So... May be your horses just like the taste.

I was mean though, so when they started on trees we wrapped all trees with the chicken net for prevention. :)
    06-16-2009, 05:12 PM
I don't believe they are missing anything, I think some trees just taste good. Every horse around here does it.
    06-26-2009, 02:01 AM
We have a herd of about 15 mares and they all strip the bark off of our cypress trees. But, they don't eat the beark they strip it off and then chew on the tree itself

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