I have a problem with wood chewing. I have 4 drafts and a quarter horse. They all seem to chew. I have made sure that they have adequate mineral. I am assuming that this is boredom in winter. The large corrals allow for lots of movement. Does anyone have advice or a solution to the chewing of the corral planks?
Do they have plenty of hay to eat like 24/7,i know my horses used to eat the wood like crazy when they didnt have enough hay. I now put out big round bales in a feeder they havent touched the wooden rails in there corral. You could try painting the boards with some kind of anti chew stuff also just some ideas hope it helps.spirit88
One option is to put some kind of angle iron or metal covering over the top of all the boards around the corral, though that could get expensive in a hurry. Lots of people have success with tabasco sauce or something similar. I personally use pepper spray on the wood (or whatever else) they start chewing on. It is exceptionally hot and will stop most horses from even thinking about chewing. The drawbacks are that it colors your fence orange and you have to re-apply it periodically, especially after it rains. Also, you want to be careful not to get any on your hands or stand where the wind will push it toward you when you spray it.
Serious wood chewing is always a lack of a mineral. If your horses are eating grass hay, they would be missing Calcium (Ca). If you give them a free choice loose mineral that is at least 20% Ca and is less than 6% Phosphorus (P), you usually fix the imbalance and stop the wood chewing almost overnight. It also stops horses from stripping bark off of trees and killing them, eating dirt and chewing tails. All are symptoms of a Ca deficiency, almost always in horses eating grass hay.
Our loose mineral that we keep out also has Magnesium and Zinc in it as well as 200,000 units of Vitamin A per pound. When we have it out (have fed it for 35 or 40 years) we have had NO cases of rain rot and NO dirt, wood, tree or tail eaters. We have 60 head right now and none of them chew wood -- at all.
If yu think you are feeding minerals to a horse by keeping out a mineral salt block, you are badly mistaken. These block only have 'trace minerals' or 'micro minerals' which are almost never missing.
Macro Minerals -- the ones needed in greater amounts are Ca, P, Magnesium and Zinc. You have to buy them to fit your deficiency and to balance out your forage. Grass and grass hays are very Calcium and Magnesium deficient unless they are grown on limestone soils that are not depleted.
I would make sure that the minerals you are feeding are actually taking care of whatever deficiencies you horses have, as they may have more than just the normal imbalances a wood chewing horse would have. And it also can come back to how much they are getting fed. If they are eating all their hay within 2 hours, and there is no other grass for them to graze on, then they sometimes will get in their need to chew on things by chewing on your fences, gates, halters, lead ropes, ect. Ect. Make sure that you first correct any deficiencies they may have, and then possibly throw enough bermuda grass out for them to munch on for most of the day. As horses are natural grazers, they can create bad habits like chewing on things to satisfy their natural grazing habits if they don't have something to graze on for most of the day.
Do they have plenty of hay to eat like 24/7,i know my horses used to eat the wood like crazy when they didnt have enough hay.
Not always true. We have two round bales in each of our turnouts. We still have horses (fat horses at that) that chew. It's a bad habit. I am noticing the worst offenders are the horses that are bored. Owners rarely if ever out to do anything with the poor critter. In the mean time - my white oak fences are suffering.
Thanks for the info,
I think it may be a combination of boredom and shortage of calcium.
I have been feeding an 18% calcium mineral, but not free choice. Feeding according to label.
Also, I have started to feed small square bales in the winter, so that I can limit intake. I used to feed rounds, but weight gain and feed waste was a problem. These drafts can eat a round bale in no time if it is free choice.
Also I have switched to reduce the respiratory problems that some horses develop when they have their head in a round bale all day.