Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Eating Bark
#1
Can someone please clue me in as to why horses eat bark? I've noticed them doing this from time to time. Not only am I worried about their health but I'm also concerned about the health of my trees that have taken the brunt of this nibbling. Any ideas how I can stop this from happening?

CitySlicker
Reply
#2
quote:
Originally posted by City Slicker

Can someone please clue me in as to why horses eat bark? I've noticed them doing this from time to time. Not only am I worried about their health but I'm also concerned about the health of my trees that have taken the brunt of this nibbling. Any ideas how I can stop this from happening?

CitySlicker



Wrap a layer of chicken wire around the trunk.
Reply
#3
CS; I must ask, but are your horses in a dry lot with nothing to graze on or if they are on pasture? The reason I ask is because horses are grazers and will look for something to graze on... even if it's nothing more than tree bark. And just to ease your mind, I've rarely known them to actually eat it. They also do this when they're bored and have nothing else to do to amused themselves. Be aware that this habit can be passed on to other horses that probably wouldn't do it if they hadn't learned it from another horse they saw doing it. And, yes, it will eventually kill the tree if it isn't stopped.

Sometimes even pastured horses will chew tree bark, too. So it isn't limited to just horses that have no access to pasture, but it's most likely to happen with horses in a dry lot(one without anything to graze on) than in a pasture.

I have heard that they do it because they are lacking something in their diet, but I don't know if there's any truth in it, but I do know that when they don't have anything to graze on or if they are bored and need something to amuse themselves, horses will chew on tree bark if there's nothing else available.

"God forbid that I should go to any heaven in which there are no horses"
--Robert Browning

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.
-- Author Unknown
Reply
#4
quote:
Originally posted by Red Hawk

..horses will chew on tree bark if there's nothing else available.




And fence rails, and posts, and siding, and stall doors, and ...

Feeding their inner termite I suppose.
Reply
#5
See that's the thing here... We have an acre and a half for them to graze on. Granted, we've had snowfall over the last couple of weeks which covered everything, ...but there's still plenty of pasture for them I would think.

What can we do to help cure their boredom if that is indeed the issue here? I've heard that there are horse toys (balls big enough and tough enough for them to play with) out there on different sites. Is this something we should look into?

And if chicken wire is the way to go to help protect our trees, how far up do we wrap them? I see that the horses have been nibbling pretty high up. Do I go as high as they are nibbling?

Thanks,
CS

Reply
#6
quote:
Originally posted by City Slicker

See that's the thing here... We have an acre and a half for them to graze on. Granted, we've had snowfall over the last couple of weeks which covered everything, ...but there's still plenty of pasture for them I would think.

What can we do to help cure their boredom if that is indeed the issue here? I've heard that there are horse toys (balls big enough and tough enough for them to play with) out there on different sites. Is this something we should look into?

And if chicken wire is the way to go to help protect our trees, how far up do we wrap them? I see that the horses have been nibbling pretty high up. Do I go as high as they are nibbling?

Thanks,
CS





Wrap the wire as high as they are chewing plus a little. In a year or two you will want to redo the wire so that you aren't strangling the tree.

An acre and a half isn't much room for two horses determined to graze, particularly in the winter. A couple of determined horses will turn that space into mud in no time. What condition is the pasture in? I'd bet lots of weeds and little grass.
Reply
#7
Well, there is lots of mud but that's mainly been brought on by the weather. Normally, there is plenty of grass and hay for the horses with next to no weeds. It's winter grass right now and there just isn't a lot to much on because of the season. They are getting grain feed along with the hay twice daily so that's not the issue. I would tend to believe, even with my little experience, that they are simply bored. The horse, Zenon, that's primarily nibbling on the trees is already slightly overweight...so I don't believe that food is the issue.
Reply
#8
What kind of trees are they? There are a lot of common trees/shrubs that are toxic to horses. Besides being hard on the shrubbery, it could be less than optimal for your horses as well. A friend of ours lost her horse this way. They boarded at a place, like so many, that had overgrazed paddocks. Her horse was out in this bare paddock without hay and stripped the bark of a black locust tree.

Here's a link to a paper from Ohio State for a few to watch for:
http://ohioline.osu.edu/b762/b762_25.html
AE
________________________
I'm so busy, I'm not sure if I found a rope or lost my horse.
Reply
#9
The comments about grazing in pasture aren't about how much food they have, it's the action of grazing itself that the horses will want to do, even if they're perfectly well-fed. They'll still want to wander around and nibble on things, and in this case it's your trees. So you're right about the "simply bored" part. Any way you can spread out their hay so they have to go "grazing" for it?

'plash
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)