My horse has started eating bark off the trees?

Discussion in 'General' started by kerrymaid, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. kerrymaid

    kerrymaid Millie's Mum

    Hi All

    Happy New Year, my horse has started stripping bark from trees, and now bites the buttons on my coats. Im pretty sure he has no problem with his teeth, does anyone know why he would do this??:confused:
  2. Vicki&Milo

    Vicki&Milo The Apprectices

    Whats the grazing like, is he getting hay as well? If he's not getting enoough to eat that could explain the bark stripping, but the buttons sound like bad manners
  3. ~*Saree*~

    ~*Saree*~ June's River

    Mine did this (the bark not the buttons). It turned out that they were lacking the usual vitamins etc they get from the grass in the summer. I got them a vitamin lickit type thing and they've left my poor trees alone!
  4. fjordlady

    fjordlady New Member

    My fjord does this occasionally and she has plenty of forage. I know its not her teeth; the dentist came in November and she had two wolf teeth removed ouch! However, as she is a youngester I put it down to mouthy/teething. Must say she only has the one tree in her field and she likes to stand there and look at me in the office or over the farmyard so it could just be something to occupy her whilst she is doing that :rolleyes: My daughters pony who's with her does not bother.
  5. KarinUS

    KarinUS Active Member

    I think it's a winter thing. Mine get plenty of hay 24/7 as well as free choice minerals, etc. and they still take a nibble (the goats do too) every once in awhile. I think they are just eating whatever roughage is available.
    Thinking about it the free choice minerals may have helped. Glad I got them then... ;)
  6. kerrymaid

    kerrymaid Millie's Mum

    he's well fed

    Yes he gets plenty of Hay, i thought it may be boredom now he's killed my husbands gran's favourite plum tree....oops. He has a lick too and a boredom ball hung in his stable which he can get himself into as its half a barn. The grass is pretty dire what with all this rain, the fields so muddy hence now why he's got half the barn. I didnt want him getting his feet constantly wet. He gets plenty of hay and has a feed too once a day of non heating pony cubes, garlic, and hi fi lite.
  7. crazyhorse97

    crazyhorse97 nervous nellie...

    What sort of tree is it? they will eat wilow bark is they are in pain anywhere as it is asprin (i think, some painkiller anyway) in its natural form. However if it is just a plum tree, he might just be bored (maybe he wants a change of scenary??! :p)

  8. diplomaticandtactful

    diplomaticandtactful Well-Known Member

    my donkeys used to eat bark in winter, mainly a sign of them lacking something in the diet due to the winter grass - they only did it infrequently.

    i gave them a mineral lick and they stopped it as they are not on hard food only hay.

    it's probably just something like that.
  9. kerrymaid

    kerrymaid Millie's Mum

    Its a plum tree, he had a go at another tree too ive found out today. He lives on my father-in-laws farm so quite often gets put in diff fields in the day. My vet doesn't think he's lacking in anything, i guess he's maybe bored or likes it
  10. Palomino Mare

    Palomino Mare New Member

    my horse is a serial boxwalker and does this in his stable - picks the woodchips out of the boards, eats the trees and the posts. i know for him its just bordem, or he does it when he gets stressed i.e. at feeding time.

    most of the horses in his field eat the trees so i'm guessing there's a defficeincy there
  11. Portia

    Portia New Member

    I've put apple tree braches in the field before in the winter, she'll have a nibble on those for a bit then get bored, same with willow twigs (those I ration as she worryingly gobbles all I give her ?).
    Think it's just a natural winter foraging process.
  12. artemis

    artemis New Member

    Watch that the trees don't die & become dangerous!:eek: I had to get a sycamore cut down.
  13. puzzles

    puzzles New Member

    More forage and a balanced diet are the answer; if you are not currently feeding the recommended levels of feed then top it up woth a feed balancer, such as Baileys Lo-Cal or Blue Chip Original.


  14. blackhorses

    blackhorses New Member

    It's perfectly normal, horses are browsers as well as grazers, and during the winter they will chew on wood , youngsters do it too if they are teething, mine do it all the time if there is a convienient tree to chew on, they have lick buckets, mineral/salt blocks and add lib haylage, they tend to do it most when they are all standing around dozing near the hedge, they start nibbling:rolleyes:. Mind you mine love grazing the hedges in the summer given the chance - no need for hedge trimmers!
    Just watch plum trees as apparently the foliage is poisonous to horses not sure about the bark (all the prunus family - like damzons, sloes etc included).
  15. Lucyad

    Lucyad New Member

    Mine has killed off 3 rowan trees over christmas, and if let into my garden ignores the long grass in favour of the willow trees. I don't suspect him to be in pain anywhere - he just likes them. He has a mineral lick, adlib hay, loads of simple systems feed (like almost ad-lib) and supliments. He just likes eating sticks! Good idea re. giving cuttings in field - I think I will prune the willows and give him a few a day to munch on.
  16. jumpingmad

    jumpingmad New Member

    my three eat bark, and have done for a while x] according to my vet its natural...but now my biggest gelding is eating the fence! :rolleyes: so i've had to cover it in paprika like i do with his mane, so that he wont chew the wood (i put it on his mane to stop my mare from eating it)
  17. kerrymaid

    kerrymaid Millie's Mum

    What vitamins could he be lacking?

    The only supplement he gets is garlic and salt. My vet seems to think us riders pander too much to our loved ones and they dont need any supplements, they didnt get supplements hundreds of years ago blah blah.

    I'd rather use natural supplements, any ideas?? He gets his feed, hay, grass and sometimes fresh veg.:D

    Im also nursing a broken toe after he stood on my foot, I should of wore my steel toe capped boots!! I feel over in the mud, lost my welly and basically went in his path he couldnt avoid me really......:rolleyes:
  18. Torny

    Torny Horsin' Around

    It is perfectly normal for horses to chew/eat bark as well as browsing hedges. It is part of their natural diet. Those who think horses 'JUST' eat grass are muppets :eek:

    Bark is good for the digestion and contains good roughage. Again, Willow is known for it's aspirin, Poplus trees, Oak are also bark they can gain benefits from. Hedges are great, hawthorn etc.. As they can chw on twigs and get benefits from foliage.

    Hope this has stopped some of you panicking :D I sometimes pick up fallen branchs (small ones) and chuck them in the field for my mare. OR, if I find a good log, chuck that it for her to enjoy.

  19. teddypony

    teddypony New Member

    its normally to do with a lack of vitamins in the diet, you could try a general vitamin supplement to try and help :)
    Or, she might just want to eat it, like above post said, they do get bored with just grass
  20. Ace87

    Ace87 Quitus & Strike

    My god I am an idiot I never thought of that, my boy has only half a mane due to his field companion knawing on it in the summer! Excellent idea!

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