so I always swore I never would, but I bought a cribber. management tips? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 09-23-2020, 12:14 PM Thread Starter
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so I always swore I never would, but I bought a cribber. management tips?

So, I bought a cribber. Who happens to also be severely parrot mouthed.

I did this knowing full well what I'm in for. I like the misfits nobody else wants, probably because I am the misfit nobody wants around.

I have done a LOT of research. Like, hours of reading conflicting articles and watching conflicting videos. I've read science as recent as last year (about selenium?), I've talked to highly experienced horse people, I've talked to one of my 3 vets, I've talked to a lot of people who own cribbers. I went into owning this horse with as much theory knowledge as I could possibly find, but with so much conflicting information, the only conclusion I've really come to is, cribbing is still not very well understood at all.

I think my question here is mostly about feeding him, because my vet did not like the diet I currently have him on, but didn't answer when I asked him why? *shrug*
He IS an ulcer patient. He IS on omeprazole for his ulcers.

Right now I have him on 24/7 pasture, which this time of year (springtime in Aus) is EXTREMELY lush. He's also getting extra-lush grazing for two hours every morning, and in the evening I give him alfalfa to buffer his tummy, and a grain free pellet called Pegasus Liberty which is low NSC (7% starch). I need to weigh his feed, but it's enough - he's gaining weight FAST. Visible gain in 5 days.
I plan to start him on a vit/min supplement and a hoof supplement, but I needed to get him eating before I added supplements. He was not eating well. Now he's seen the dentist and he's eating MUCH better, I'll be ordering the supplements.
Why wouldn't my vet like this diet?
If there's something wrong with this diet, what should I change?

I have a nutcracker collar on him right now but I HATE it. It slips around when he shakes himself after rolling. He doesn't seem bothered by that and it still works when it's sideways for some reason, but I've read horror stories of horses being strangled by their nutcracker collar when it slipped.
I'm looking at a collar that's just a wide leather strap with two buckles, but it's obscenely expensive ($200 nearly) for... something very simple to make? Like I could literally just get a 2" wide giant breed dog collar and it'd do the same job? Is there any particular reason I couldn't do that?

MAKORA THOROUGHBRED SPORTHORSES
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post #2 of 17 Old 09-23-2020, 01:06 PM
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This sort of sounds like a rescue type situation so thank you:)

1. Can you link the specific Liberty feed? I went to their website but they have several offerings:)

2. Is he a bonafide cribbed that “burps” every time he bites down or is he the lesser evil of simply chewing wood and and destroying corner posts in the board:)

I have never dealt with a bonafide cribber but I do have a wood chewer who is now 26 and never did make it to the legitimate cribbing level. He nearly stopped his wood chewing when I put him on magnesium malate , NOT magnesium oxide.

I say “nearly stopped” because the only time he goes after the barn post now, is when I am brushing him, and he thinks I should have been done ten minutes ago, so he can go to pasture

He is an anxious horse with environmental allergies. He was on the magnesium malate three years and just did not need it anymore.

I bought mine from this company and give them a solid five star rating, on all fronts:)

https://performanceequinenutrition.com/

3. Omeprazole. Ulcers go along with being anxious but maybe the omeprazole isn’t working. If your horse is also dealing with hind gut issues, omeprazole will not do one thing to help.

I have had much better luck with Egusin. The entire Egusin plan is pricey but it works on both gastric and hind gut issues. You have to feed the 2-phase regimen in its entirety:)

Egusin

4. Gaining too much weight too fast. Take your horse completely off bagged feeds or ration balancers. All of them are still too high in calories and NSC for horses who get fat on air:)

Find yourself a quality condensed vit/min supplement and feed with 1/2 or one measuring cup of hay pellets. In the U.S. the go to is Timothy pellets and mix the supplements with a bit of water to keep them from blowing out:).

When the grass is lush, I only use 1/2 measure cup twice daily. We do not see severe winter in my area so I generally up that to only 3/4 cup twice daily because one horse is IR and the other thinks he might want to be:)

I hope this is some help:)
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A Good Horseman Doesn't Have To Tell Anyone; The Horse Already Knows.

I CAN'T ride 'em n slide 'em. I HAVE to lead 'em n feed 'em Thnx cowchick77.
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post #3 of 17 Old 09-24-2020, 03:34 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by walkinthewalk View Post
This sort of sounds like a rescue type situation so thank you:)

1. Can you link the specific Liberty feed? I went to their website but they have several offerings:)
https://www.pegasusfeed.com.au/product/liberty/

It does have cereal hay and cereal byproducts in it, but no cereal grain.
He's not quite a rescue, I know his previous owner well and I believe the condition he is in is directly related to his medical issues.

Quote:
2. Is he a bonafide cribbed that “burps” every time he bites down or is he the lesser evil of simply chewing wood and and destroying corner posts in the board:)
Yes he is, he has been since he was weaned but has been really chronic lately. He was pulling fence posts over from cribbing so hard, which is why his previous owner wanted him gone.

Quote:
3. Omeprazole. Ulcers go along with being anxious but maybe the omeprazole isn’t working. If your horse is also dealing with hind gut issues, omeprazole will not do one thing to help.
He's only had two doses, it's too early to say whether it's working or not. I do have easy access to a feed that's supposed to help with hindgut acidosis (and therefore hindgut ulcers) but wanted to keep it as simple as possible for now. He's easier to feed than my other horse, who is also ulcer prone, but CANNOT be fed grain free due to a legume allergy.

Quote:
4. Gaining too much weight too fast. Take your horse completely off bagged feeds or ration balancers. All of them are still too high in calories and NSC for horses who get fat on air:)
I don't think he's gaining too fast at this stage. He was only slightly under, now his ribs are covered and he needs muscle but I want to get his tummy right before I bring him into work. His feed is mostly fat and fibre, and I can add protein easily enough if he needs it! (Whey powder is supposed to be high in protein and also be good for their stomachs, for buffering ulcers..)

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post #4 of 17 Old 09-24-2020, 04:29 AM
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I would just leave off the collar personally. Hopefully, when you get his gut & diet healthy & if he's out & with other horses, he then won't do it too much.

Re feed, looks good to me actually. Not perfect, but... Perhaps your vet is not liking that it's got soy in it, or the lupins... read something a while back against lupins but can't remember what, sorry. Perhaps too high protein with all the legumes. And nutritional balance - it's got added iron and also potassium, which can be especially an issue if the horse is on rich spring grass too - or maybe the vet's prob was mostly with the rich grass, not the Liberty stuff...
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post #5 of 17 Old 09-24-2020, 06:12 AM
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I don't know what a liberty collar is...

Have you considered the Miracle Collar?

With a vice so bad that he pulls down fencing, that is bad....
If the horse was on pasture and still yanked down the fence instead of grazing to safeguard your premise from worse damages I would not be removing that collar.
I think by design the miracle collar might pose less risk to getting caught in t/o because of the angle it is maintained at.

Since the horse seems to be gaining weight and many diehard cribbers are thin because they rather crib than eat...
Are you offering pasture where before the animal stood in a dry-lot for t/o and was bored?
Going to be a bumpy road ahead with so learned a habit trying to reform him some...
I offer you good luck and a stable with fencing made of iron so less destruction to it, let alone no more to the horse is done.
Many barns kick out cribbers because of the damage they do or make their owners pay handsomely for repairs needed from the teeth of their horse urping.
Beware...
...

The worst day is instantly better when shared with my horse.....
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post #6 of 17 Old 09-24-2020, 08:11 AM
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I have a cribber too

Hi I am in Wagga Australia. My beautiful 10-year-old Stockhorse is a chronic cribber too unfortunately. I have had him on the loan for the past 10 months. When I got the Vet dentist to see him routinely we were horrified to find that he had worn down his upper front four teeth to the gum line and even below the gumline in some of them. He had been cribbing for a long time on everything including the tops of metal star posts. She said there was no effective treatment for this habit.The teeth could not be saved and he has had them all removed surgically. Amazingly it doesn’t seem to have affected him at all in terms of his eating. Now I have put plastic caps on all star posts around his paddock and he happily cribbs away on the plastic. I’m not worried about this as I know it is a habit for life. It’s an exercise in minimising the damage. He had a gastroscopy which showed ulcers. The ulcerS were treated with Omeprazole and the follow-up gastroscopy showed complete healing. None of this made any difference to his cribbing. So my caution is to watch out for your horse cribbing on things like metal which can damage his teeth. Rod
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post #7 of 17 Old 09-24-2020, 08:24 AM Thread Starter
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@loosie possibly? It's not actually that high in protein though (13%).

The vet who didn't like the feed is an outspoken type, so one would have thought that he'd have answered the question when I asked why he doesn't like it, especially if it was as simple as the nutritional balance of it not being ideal.
Added iron isn't necessarily a bad thing - my mother's horse is iron deficient on the same land as my two, which is highly unusual in Australia I know!

I have to be SO careful with making sure my mare doesn't steal any of Cayde's feed, though, because she's allergic to legumes. It's fun having horses with conflicting medical needs...

I don't stable, so he is out, and he's in with my mare whom he adores so he has company that suits him too :)

@horselovinguy I've seen miracle collars slip and end up with the brow strap over the eye, so I'm not super keen on those either. Liberty is the feed he's on, the collar I was talking about is a Horse Problems Australia one (I'm not J O'L's biggest fan by any means, which is one of the reasons I refuse to spend the money on buying one brand new, but I can't for the LIFE of me find one secondhand)
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post #8 of 17 Old 09-24-2020, 01:45 PM
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Thank you for rescuing!

Of all the cribbers I've had to deal with, the only thing that's really helped is a good, tight (tighter than you think it needs to be, if it moves when he shakes it's waaaaaaay too loose) collar. That being said, some of them never give it up, even with a collar. Diet certainly helps, and while I'm not a nutritionist, it sounds like you've got him on a good diet! The only thing I would be concerned with as far as diet goes is the quantity and sugar content. Alfalfa is a high sugar hay, and grass in spring is very high in sugar. I'd be very careful with that as it can exasperate pre-existing ulcers, as well as bring on cushings/laminitis/founder. Maybe try switching to a lower fat feed until you get the cribbing under control more, and then switch him back to liberty; I'd also seriously consider switching him to a lighter hay, something more like timothy. Visible weight gain in less than a week is usually pretty drastic, so I'd definitely consider cutting him back as gaining weight that quickly can be quite dangerous.

Here is the collar I always suggest, I cribber I had wore this and it worked wonders for him! equizoneonline.com/products/cribbing-collar

Good Luck!
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post #9 of 17 Old 09-24-2020, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horselovinguy View Post
If the horse was on pasture and still yanked down the fence instead of grazing to safeguard your premise from worse damages I would not be removing that collar.
Oh wow, I missed that bit! 2 words then - Electric fence. And yeah, collar until you can get that done. Agree with HLG that the 'miracle' ones are the safest I've seen. Unfortunately seen a number of injuries from the nutcracker ones. No reason why, with a bit of ingenuity you couldn't make your own one of those too - got an Easy Stitcher??

I think cribbers are generally thin for the same reason they're cribbers - unhealthy diet has caused gut probs. So to 'cure' that & they put on weight & may also do it a lot less. But it does of course become a 'stereotypic' behaviour.

BUT meant to say first time round, sorry I forget her name, Queenslander bodyworker, done a lot of research into supping extra magnesium. She was a lecturer at a conference I attended and had been studying effects of Mg on hoof development, when she noticed that some of the horses she was studying were confirmed 'cribbers' who had actually stopped cribbing, after some time on extra Mg. Short of remembering her name for you(Pauline has just come to me, can't recall last name still), can't tell you any more tho sorry.
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post #10 of 17 Old 09-24-2020, 07:40 PM
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I've never dealt with a cribber but I too was going to suggest an electric fence. Now I'm wondering if it would work though because I'm assuming after getting zapped a time or two the horse will learn not to touch the wires - but the posts aren't electrified so they might still be a target right? Unless you run an electric fence over the top of your existing fence, which might work ... you will probably have to get creative with your fencing. But an electric fence might just do the trick.

-- Kai
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