Eating dirt - Page 2

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Eating dirt

This is a discussion on Eating dirt within the Horse Nutrition forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Horses lick soil
  • Horses licking soil

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    02-19-2012, 05:10 AM
Before you worry too much about this, consider that you may have some good tasting roots around your place and that your horse is not 'eating dirt'. Horses do not graze a pasture evenly; they wonder back and forth eating the most palatable grass first, often all the way to the ground...and beyond. It's not unusual for me to even see a horse pawing the ground to dig up the roots of grass/plants that they have found to be particularly tasty.
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    02-22-2012, 06:35 PM
My horse used to do that and lick my hand, a good ol salt block did the trick. He also has a mineral block
    02-22-2012, 06:54 PM
Horses eat or lick dirt for 2 reasons - either to get minerals or to get clay. I have no idea what kind of soil you have up there, but if you have clay in the soil, that is likely it...lots of animals eat clay, which is good for them...
    02-23-2012, 04:03 PM
Super Moderator
Consider this!
How much dirt does a horse eat when it is daily grazing?
Eating dirt is perfectly natural although most people will say it is lack of minerals or salt.

I have noticed many times thee things.
The first is that when a horse is injured and has to stay in the stable for a period of time, if you throw it in a tussock of grass with roots and dirt still attached, there will only be stones left, they will eat the dirt.
Secondly, horses that spend a lot of time in the stables with no turn out, when given the chance to graze in hand, will eat grass but will start to lick or bite the soil.
Finally, horses that are continuously stabled will often be very loose in their droppings, give them the tussock of earth and their droppings are fine.

My conclusion is that horses need a certain amount of dirt in their diet.
    02-24-2012, 04:26 PM
Green Broke
Salt is the first thing that jumps to mind for me. Try offering her loose salt.

The red mineral blocks have a few problems with them- horse's tongues aren't really rough enough to get all the salt they need from them (unless the horse is one of those that really enjoy licking things)

I almost bought a horse a few months ago, and when I was researching the Ca/P supplement she was currently getting, I found that horses will self regulate salt, but not other minerals, so other free-choice minerals are not actually beneficial. You're better off making sure your horse is getting the appropriate amount of ration balancer (or a complete feed) and only supplementing minerals you know are lacking in your hay & grain.

Some horses do fine on salt blocks (plain salt- not added minerals), while some have a strong preference for loose salt. If you do try loose salt, don't be surprised if your horse seems to be eating a lot of it for the first few days- she will level off on her own to meet her needs.

Most feed stores sell loose salt in 50-lb bags, but you can also feed kosher or plain salt from the grocery store if you don't want to commit to that much at once :)
    02-27-2012, 05:19 PM
Don't know if this would help your horse, but since not all minerals are alike there is another choice of minerals that you could try as a supplement. From all of my research this is the best I have ever found. Only recently become available. Identified after a farmer saw animals eating the dirt in one location, and no where else. Turned out was 15 million year old deposit, that came from the Colorado River picking up pieces of mountains along its 1450 mile length. They were laid of rest over the San Andreas Fault so they were cooked at high temperatures. The 57 minerals are micron size. May be worth a try in some cases because of the high cost of severe cases that could have been prevented.

Type in Ion Charged Horses to find on Amazon:

Have saw do great things. Could try and experiment.

You need to determine for yourself.

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