You might have actually, on occasion, witnessed your peteating grass or soil out of the garden. When we see our animals eatingsomepoint unsupposed, we often want to recognize why, and tright here is typically a prettyexcellent explanation.

You are watching: Why do horses eat bark off trees

Whysteeds eat the bark off of trees have the right to be explained by among three reasons.First, the horse might be lacking somepoint in their diet, normally as a vitaminor mineral, which they are finding in the wood. 2nd, the steed might havedeveloped a behavioral concern resulted in by boredom or frustration or, lastl thesteed may sindicate have actually arisen a taste for wood.

Whatever before the factor, eating the bark off oftrees have the right to cause a organize of problems dvery own the line. Because of this, it’s vital todetermine the reason for the bark-eating behavior as well as find ways to curbsuch techniques.


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It’s Diet-RelatedIt’s a Behavidental IssueHow to Curb a Bad Behavior inHorsesYour Horse Has Developed ATaste for Wood

Why Can’t I Let my Horse EatBark?

One of the initially concerns you might bewondering is why can’t you just let your equine eat bark if that’s what theydesire to do? Well, there are several sound reasons why you need to stop yourequine from chomping dvery own on trees.

Researchers at the Australian Equine ScienceSymposium listed that equines are not just grazers, eating grass, but alsobrowsers, meaning they eat shrubs and leaves (source).

While steeds might be inclined to eat shrubs andleaves off of trees, there are particular problems associated through enabling barkinto their regular diet.

Firstly, eating lumber is not usually restricted totrees; horses who eat bark will certainly likewise regularly eat fence poles. This behavior canbe both costly and disastrous and might need you to re-fence an area orresituate a equine.

Additionally, if a horse efficiently stripsthe bark from approximately the whole trunk, the tree will not survive.

Secondly, eating bark and also other hardwood deserve to causedamage to the horse’s teeth. Additionally, you run the risk of splinters andpieces of timber lodging in the horse’s mouth and also throat.

Lastly, specific kinds of trees — such as oaks, yews, and maples — are toxic to equines. You might not be an experton poisonous trees, which is a potentially fatal danger, and also one more reason youshould perform your ideal to stop your equine from eating bark unless you know thetree is safe (source).

It’s Diet-Related

The initially point you could must ask yourselfif your steed has started eating the bark off of trees is whether it’sdiet-related.

Often pets that eat points that are not in theirusual diets, such as grass and also soil, perform so bereason they have a type ofdeficiency in their diet.

If you think that your horse’s habits might bediet-connected, then it’s important to call in a veterinarian to assess yourhorse’s diet and also their overall physical state.

After looking over your horse, theveterinarian may find the steed is suffering from a deficiency in minerals orvitamins.

In addition to eating bark, other signs of adeficiency in a horse’s diet might include a coat which is lackluster and dry, orthe horse suffers from acute or reexisting illnesses, doesn’t performadequately, or is eating soil (source).

How to Solve a Deficiency in Your Horse’s Diet

Your vet may have a referral onaddressing the deficiency in your horse’s diet. Conversely, there are a fewpoints you deserve to perform.

One basic option is you have the right to add a supplementto their diet once a day at mealtimes. Another alternative is to lug a mineral“lick” into the paddock for the horse to eat. Essentially, a “lick” is avitamin-enriched edible block.

Some licks are exclusively mineral-based, whilesome are molasses-based or infprovided via oils and seeds. Licks are likewise greatmethods to keep horses busy.

Another method to attend to diet deficiencies inhorses is to plant herbs and other edible weeds in the paddock for the horsesto eat.

Tright here are many kind of herbs for pastures that you canplant and which gives a natural way of bringing vitamins into your horse’sdiet (source).

Here are some plants which will certainly include mineralsand vitamins to your horse’s diet:

Chamomile: a herbal source ofcalcium.Sunflowers: a herbal source ofphosphorus, which is excellent for the nervous mechanism.Carrots: a herbal source of sodium.Parsley: a natural resource of potassium,which is great for muscle breakthrough.Dandelions: a organic source ofmagnesium and iron.Alfalfa: a natural resource ofvitamin C, B vitamins, phosphorus, and also zinc.Meadowsweet: a natural resource forgut health.

Studies done at the Queensland AgriculturalCollege in Australia proved that equines could be doing not have fiber in their diets,which is why they eat the bark from trees (source).

Introducing even more fiber and also roughage right into yourhorse’s diet might be a means in which to aid curb their tendencies to eat thebark from trees.

For more information on why horses might eatinexplicable things, you may desire to examine out our write-up on why equines eat manure.

It’s a Behavidental Issue

If your veterinarian has ruled out thebark-eating as a dietary problem, then it might be a behavior one. Bear in mindthat if your horse is not simply eating bark but likewise wood fence articles, thenthat increases the likelihood that it’s a behavioral problem.

Horses generally build behavioral problems outof boredom or frustration. Horses are intelligent creatures and thereforecall for stimulation.

If it’s a behavior problem, then you require totry and also put a stop to it before it creates right into an continuous habit. You can callin a specialist who deals with horses who have actually such habits, or tbelow arenumerous various other actions you can take.

How to Curb a Bad Behavior inHorses

If your equine is behaving actually unfavorably, thereare techniques that you have the right to employ to discourage them from such techniques.

Install a Slow Feeder

You have the right to install a “slow feeder” for yourhorse, which is a system designed just to release a details amount of hay ata time, making a horse’s meal last much longer and hence reducing the chances ofboredom (source).

Eliminate or Limit Access toTrees

You can limit their access to lumber by removingthe trees about the paddock. However, it’s necessary to remember that in thesummer months, steeds perform require shade.

An different would certainly be to rerelocate the horse’saccessibility to trees, which might be done by producing their paddock in anotherarea or cornering off a part of the paddock.

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Image by Michael Gaida using Pixabay

Rearea Fence Posts

If the horses are eating the wooden fenceshort articles, then you may want to consider replacing them through an different such asPVC piping.

Increase their Exercise Routines

If your horse’s behavior is resulted in by boredom,then a rigorous exercise regimen will certainly aid to save them out of trouble.Exercise is a terrific suggests to save your equine physically and also mentallypopulated, and also it boundaries the time they need to exhibit damaging habits.

Introduce Toys to Keep themEntertained

There’s a perfect reason that someone coinedthe expression “horsin’ roughly.” Horses gain playing simply as much as the nextanimal, so if you discover that your steed is bored or frustrated, you can offerthem some playthings to store them populated (source).

There are many horse toys on the sector, manyof which are ball-connected.

If you are interested in learning even more aboutequines and their habits, then you might prefer to find why horses foam at the mouth.

Your Horse Has Developed ATaste for Wood

If you have actually tried to deter your steed fromeating bark and also other kinds of wood and also failed, it might be because your horsehas actually currently occurred a taste for hardwood. At this point, you might be wondering, whatperform I do now?

While this is the most complex phase atwhich to try to remove the behavior, tbelow are still some things you deserve to carry out.

Run an Electric Wire around thePaddock

Placing an electrical wire roughly the paddockwill encertain that the horses are unable to accessibility both the trees and the woodenfence poles. Of course, this is only a solution if the trees are external of thepaddock itself.

Treat the Wood to Make itUnappealing

Treating wood to make it unappetizing is agreat way to deter horses, albeit a time-consuming one.

You have the right to treat the bark on the trees and thewooden fence poles through a paste made of mustard, bitter aloe, or crumelted upcayenne pepper. This paste will hopefully deter the equines from eating thewood.

Make Sure your Horses Aren’tEating Toxic Trees

If all else fails and you cannot obtain yourequine to sheight eating bark, then make certain the equine doesn’t have actually accessibility totoxic trees (source).

Unfortunately, you cannot count on horses todiscern which trees are great and also which are bad, so it’s better just to makesure that they don’t have actually accessibility to them.

Also, make sure to examine your horse’s teethand also gums regularly to make sure that none of the bark or wood has been trappedthere.

See more: Which Of The Following Best Describes Latitude? Which Of The Following Best Describes Longitude

Here are some trees recognized to be toxic tohorses (source):

Black walnutRed mapleCherry PlumPeachOak (particularly acorns)Horse ChestnutOleander Yew

Image by Michaela Kliková by means of Unsplash

Final Thoughts

Whether your steed is eating bark because of amineral definitely, a behavioral worry, or is doing so out of a poor halittle bit, youshould carry out your ideal to curb the actions. Luckily, tbelow are numerous measures youdeserve to require to deter your steed from eating bark and other types of hardwood.