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Vidaloco 02-20-2008 06:44 PM

Killing my trees
Is there something wrong with a horse that eats the bark off of trees? Are they missing something from their diet or are they just bored? I spent a few hours yesterday wrapping wire fence around the few trees the horses haven't skinned the bark off of and killed.

mell 02-20-2008 07:23 PM

they can be deficient(sp?) in something. (minerals, not enought roughage etc) one of our horses was doing it, we stared feeding her equilibrium and extra hay and she has now stopped doing it.

BluMagic 02-20-2008 07:27 PM

As said above, it could be lack of nutrition. However, there is a possibility of boredom....somewhat like cribbing....with chewing.

Vidaloco 02-20-2008 07:40 PM

They have free choice grass hay and hard feed (pellet) and a Vitamin/mineral supplement. I just can't imagine what else they may need. Do you think a mineral block might help? I used to put one out but I had one horse that would just eat it in big bites so quit using one. I have never noticed any of them cribbing and they don't eat the wood in the barn. I got them a Jolly Ball and they play with it sometimes. They are on a small (2 acre) dry lot for the winter and there are 4 horses. I think its only 2 of the horses that are eatting the bark.

BluMagic 02-20-2008 10:40 PM

Just like people, each horse has different needs. I think a mineral block could do the trick. :wink: You will know right away if they are lacking nutrition or not. Sometimes the horse will just chew the block! lol.

AKPaintLover 02-20-2008 11:24 PM

Do you think it is your young girls? It could just be curiosity or boredom or fun. If a mineral block was a problem, maybe try to get the loose kind and add that in with vitamins. I know a lot of horses up here who like to eat trees. I wouldn't worry too much.

Cheval 02-21-2008 12:34 AM

It's probaly a lack of minerals. My horse used to lick the ground of a barn (it was cement) because she needed a mineral block. I'd keep an eye on them and if they're acting weird, call up a vet or something.

kitten_Val 02-21-2008 06:40 AM

Vida, you are not alone. :) My horses have balanced ration and very good hay almost all the time. So they certainly are not bored or anything. However they chew bark (and even worse on roots!) for some trees. Some are left alone. Looks like they love the taste. We wrapped garden net around some trees, but I've seen my paint trying to pull it off. That was kinda funny to watch!

Vidaloco 02-21-2008 07:50 AM

I kept watch last night and I think it is just the young ones. Saro kinda snuffled at the wire on the tree and gave up. Hope that fixes it. I still have to cut down the dead trees UGH :evil: I'll still get a mineral block for them

Vidaloco 02-21-2008 09:23 AM

My husband just reminded me of this point in the Kentucky/Rocky mountain horse history, quote from the site Guess thats why they don't like fancy treats, carrots and apples :lol:
The families of eastern Kentucky who owned these horses were not wealthy and could not afford to spend a lot of money on the upkeep of their horses. Unlike Kentucky Thoroughbreds that were typically owned by wealthy people, the gaited horses of eastern Kentucky received no special care, and as a result most of the weak ones did not survive. These horses withstood the harsh winters of eastern Kentucky with minimal shelter, and they were often fed "fodder", a kind of rough silage. Some had to exist on whatever sustenance they could find. So, like deer, they ate the bark off trees when they were hungry. Only the horses that survived these extreme conditions lived to reproduce their kind.

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