Wood chewers?

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Wood chewers?

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    05-20-2013, 06:27 AM
Green Broke
Wood chewers?

So I just noticed my gelding doing this. He is only stalled for an hour a day. AT MOST. He only comes in to eat, once in Am and once in Pm. Otherwise he's out 24/7-365.

Yesterday he ate his dinner and nibbled on some hay. (Usually his face is head first in it for him to care about much else) and then he was waiting for me to come let him out. He started chewing on the door. He wasnt cribbing. I yelled at him and shooed him off the door. Then, he didnt do it again.

I read it can be due to a deficiency in diet or boredom.
He's fed-
1/2 pound Nutrena Empower balance
3 oz flax
1 scoop remission
1 scoop cosequin.

He gets that 2x a day. (Besides Remission and Cosequin he's only fed once in the Am.)
I've been meaning to get him a mineral block which I am goin to try to get today. I've never noticed him doing this. The only other thing I could think of is that he's muzzled from 8am-4pm. He does nibble on hay throughout the day but maybe it has something to do with that?? I'm not sure. He has to be muzzled because he foundered and we have no dry lots to put him on.

He didnt seem sick or colicky. He seemed normal and guy sounds were normal. Help??
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    05-20-2013, 11:57 AM
Super Moderator
Does he chew on trees or eat tree bark? Many horses that chew and swallow wood and trees are deficient in Calcium (Ca). This is usually the case with horses that are eating a grass hay / grass diet as opposed to horses eating a legume such as Alfalfa, which is much higher in Ca than grasses or grass hay.

Some horses that are very Ca deficient even lick or eat dirt or lick painted surfaces.

There are very good loose minerals available, usually marketed to livestock producers, that supplement Ca. We use a loose mineral that has 4 times as much Ca in it as Phosphorus (P) and also has 2% Magnesium (Mg) in it. It is only 25% salt, 24% Ca, 6% P, 2% Mg and has 150,000 IU of Vitamin A in it. It prevents or cures Rain Rot and other Vitamin A related problems, stops wood and tree chewing and supplements Mg which really helps with nervousness and behavior problems. They eat it free choice. I have had new horses come in and they ate it like grain trying to catch up on a Ca deficiency.

Before I figured out what caused wood eating, rain rot and lice, I used to cut lengths of cottonwood and willow limbs so horses could eat them instead of my fences. They literally attacked the small limbs and had the bark all eaten off in hours and the whole limbs eaten by morning. Then, I found a Moorman Mineral Nutritionist with a PhD in Livestock Nutrition and have been feeding a high Ca mineral and added Vitamin A ever since.
    05-20-2013, 12:33 PM
Green Broke
I have never seen him eat the trees. I mean there are marks on the tree from a horse eating it but they look really old. And there's 4 other horses out with him.
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