Wood Chewing

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Wood Chewing

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  • What mineral are cows lacking when they chew the bark from trees
  • Cows chewing on wood

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    01-12-2013, 07:33 PM
Wood Chewing

We just got an OTTB in December, so we really haven't had her long yet. I noticed when we first put her in her stall, the next day, she had chewed quite a bit out of the stall. We thought it was a cribbing thing, but my understanding is that means they suck air when they do such things. She is not sucking air (I watched and listened for some time when she thought I wasn't).

Is there any other reason besides boredom that she would be doing this? I also noticed once in a while when I go to put her halter on her that she nibbles on the other parts of the stall and then turns for her halter. She gives no resistance to the halter, nor does she try to bite me. I was wondering if it is just excitement that she gets to do something lol

I am new to the OTTB thing.
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    01-12-2013, 08:12 PM
Could be lacking in a mineral of some sort. Wish I knew what because I have a field full of Mares/fillies doing it and we have wooden gates.
jaydee likes this.
    01-12-2013, 08:34 PM
I was told they r getting salt and lacking a mineral like rbarlo32 has said. All the trees in pasture have all the bark chewed off them..
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    01-12-2013, 08:58 PM
Could be mineral related, anxiety, boredom, lack of space, lack of forage etc.
smrobs likes this.
    01-12-2013, 08:58 PM
It could be a lack of nutrients/minerals but doesn't have to be. I would provide free choice minerals with her free choice salt and water. But if she continues it could be anxiety or a habit she picked up.

The horse I have now never chewed on wood until I got another mare that did. They both chewed then. Eventually the second mare was given away and my mare stopped chewing soon after. Odd, eh?

The second mare was generally insecure and I got rid of her because she needed some intense training time that I couldn't provide. I wonder if she still chews at her new home where more time is spent with her... hmm... interesting thought.
smrobs and themacpack like this.
    01-12-2013, 09:10 PM
I shall see if lacking a mineral is what's causing it. Thanks a mil :)
    02-28-2013, 02:33 PM
Just an update. I feel bad for taking so long to get back, but hey, life is life.

I am guessing that the chewing was a nervous thing, as she's pretty much ceased it since she's settled in her new home.

She always has a mineral lick so I didn't think it was an issue.

Thank you all for the replies!
    02-28-2013, 03:58 PM
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Most horses chew trees and wood because they lack Calcium in their diet. Some even get bad enough to chew manes and tails off.

You are NOT feeding a 'mineral' if is just 'trace mineral salt'. A good mineral is less than 30% salt and contains Calcium (Ca), Phosphorus (P) and Magnesium (Mg). A good mineral also has high levels of Vitamin A in it.

If a horse is eating grass or grass hay, they are always deficient in Ca and often times Mg. We always feed a mineral that has 4 to 5 times as much Ca in it as P because our hay like all grain products, have more P in them than Ca.
    02-28-2013, 04:09 PM
I read in horse magazine years ago, that apple cider vinegar would calm a horse down and stop them from chewing wood. I had a young mare in for training that was Miss Attitudy Judy, and chewing down my rail fences. I dumped a 1/4 cup of the apple cider vinegar on her grain, not expecting results. Within a week, her attitude changed to calm and the wood chewing stopped. Whether it was from the vinegar or she just decided to settle down, it's anyone's guess. Doesn't hurt to try, just make sure after you put the vinegar on the grain, you wait awhile for the fumes to dissipate. This horse absolutely loved the taste of it after a few feedings.
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Reckyroo likes this.
    02-28-2013, 05:15 PM
Wares, I wish I had heard about that when I had my "nutcase" - maybe she would have calmed down! :) Interesting -- I'll have to remember that if I ever get another horse again.


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