Eating dirt
 
 

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Eating dirt

This is a discussion on Eating dirt within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • What mineral is a horse needing when they eat dirt.
  • Horse eating dirt minerals

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    02-15-2012, 08:27 PM
  #1
Yearling
Eating dirt

My 2 yr old filly has been eating dirt every time the ground thaws enough for her to do so. She has a red mineral block and gets mixed hay (timothy alfalfa) twice a day, complete feed (12% protein pellets) and a tiny bit of sweet feed for a treat. Fresh water is available 24-7 of course.

Since she is only 2, I am guessing she is deficient in some mineral (calcium and or phosphorus), so I got some Hoffman's for her. I gave her some tonight top-dressed on her complete feed and she didn't want it. She just picked and snorted and eventually went back to rooting through the dirt. I expected her to wolf it down thinking her dirt-eating habit was due to a mineral deficiency.

Am I expecting too much when I thought she would wolf down the minerals? Would she eat dirt because she is teething? Should I keep trying with topdressing the Hoffman's just in smaller quantities? Any other thoughts on why she is digging through the snow to eat dirt?
     
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    02-15-2012, 10:42 PM
  #2
Started
Does she have free choice hay or pasture? She may be bored, so try to keep her occupied. What about mixing the Hoffmans with some molasses?
     
    02-15-2012, 11:19 PM
  #3
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by caseymyhorserocks    
Does she have free choice hay or pasture? She may be bored, so try to keep her occupied. What about mixing the Hoffmans with some molasses?
Thanks for the suggestion on the molasses. I'll give that a try or maybe some apple cider vinegar. She may be bored as well. The "pasture" is covered in about 3-4" of snow and ice so the horses don't get to run and play much. This winter has been brutal with little snow and a continual cycle of freeze and thaw. She does have a pasture mate and a Jolly Ball in the pasture with her, but she doesn't pay either much attention.

My daughter suggested tying up a plastic milk jug with a length of rope for her to play with. Do you have any other ideas to keep her occupied during the day? We are at work / school during the day but try to spend as much time as we can with the horses in the early evening and on the weekends, but it is dark by 6:00 here. In the next few months that will change dramatically. Maybe this is just her way of saying "Winter Sucks".
     
    02-15-2012, 11:27 PM
  #4
Super Moderator
I have no answer for your question, but just to say that when I saw the title, I thought it refered to the metaphoriacl "eatin' dirt", aka "falling off".
     
    02-15-2012, 11:40 PM
  #5
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by tinyliny    
I have no answer for your question, but just to say that when I saw the title, I thought it refered to the metaphoriacl "eatin' dirt", aka "falling off".
LOL! That post will go in the "Riding" section. Coming soon..... most likely...
tinyliny likes this.
     
    02-15-2012, 11:43 PM
  #6
Super Moderator
Your avatar horse is really pretty! I love grays, except when they are shedding!
     
    02-16-2012, 12:00 AM
  #7
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koolio    
Thanks for the suggestion on the molasses. I'll give that a try or maybe some apple cider vinegar. She may be bored as well. The "pasture" is covered in about 3-4" of snow and ice so the horses don't get to run and play much. This winter has been brutal with little snow and a continual cycle of freeze and thaw. She does have a pasture mate and a Jolly Ball in the pasture with her, but she doesn't pay either much attention.

My daughter suggested tying up a plastic milk jug with a length of rope for her to play with. Do you have any other ideas to keep her occupied during the day? We are at work / school during the day but try to spend as much time as we can with the horses in the early evening and on the weekends, but it is dark by 6:00 here. In the next few months that will change dramatically. Maybe this is just her way of saying "Winter Sucks".
Free choice hay, like I said. Or at least feeding more often. Jolly balls (if they don't get frozen to the ground ), feeding hay in several small mesh hay nets, etc. Also, lickits and other toys..
     
    02-16-2012, 09:43 AM
  #8
Foal
I have three rambunctious boys so toys are all over my pasture. I have all sizes of jolly balls, old plastic barrels, traffic cones, boat buoys with holes pokes in them and filled with feed. They roll the buoy around to get the feed out really slow.

Mine have hay in slow feed nets so that it takes them longer to eat and they are not as bored that way plus they have no waste. I tie the bag end up and throw it out in the pasture. My guys don't have shoes so they can't get caught on it and they roll it around while they eat on it. I have also tied them to the center rafter of the barn so that it swings around and takes longer to eat.
     
    02-16-2012, 09:53 AM
  #9
mls
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koolio    
Should I keep trying with topdressing the Hoffman's just in smaller quantities? Any other thoughts on why she is digging through the snow to eat dirt?
Some supplements suggest a loading dose - others suggest starting small and working up to where the horse 'needs' to be.
     
    02-19-2012, 04:05 AM
  #10
Foal
To be honest she just might not like the smell or taste. Try getting a Himalayan or rocky mountain salt lick (they're a little more natural). That stopped my pony from eating dirt. They're a little different than the red mineral blocks. Also a little vegitable or canola oil might get your horse to want to eat the food with the supplements and it's also good for them. Or maybe just get your horse some sand clear and let her have at it :)
     

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