Hi, our pony Rose has been with us for four months now.
She is on pasture 24/7 and a couple of handfuls of oaten chaff, twice a day, which we use to give her a dose of magnesium chloride to help with her behaviour.
It's spring here in Australia, so she's gotten a bit chubby and I put her in a smaller paddock ( which I've grazed short with a couple of sheep first ) on Wednesday to restrict her grazing and slim her down.
There are several small willow trees in this paddock, and she has started chewing the bark and eating the new shoots and small twigs.
Firstly, is it harmful? I suspect not but you all might know better
Second, is this boredom, trying to eat more cause she's hungry, or a mineral deficiency?
I'm suspecting a deficiency, maybe calcium seeing as we are increasing her Mg and it could be messing with her Ca:Mg ratio. Cows will eat bark, but that's usually a copper deficiency.
And if its a deficiency, what products should I give to correct it, bearing in mind I want to keep her on the Mg, and I'm in Australia so we may not have your brand names.
Wow that was long! Hope you might have some ideas?