Seeing your creatively created stable fences with crumbling, scalloped edges is something that is sure to get on your nerves without the known culprit. But what if your horses did? You will feel a roller coaster of emotion as a mixture of anger and irritation but with more sense of concern towards your horses. Well, being the culprit of this not-so-hateful crime will never be a reason to stop caring for them, right? We should start worrying because it’s a sign that your horse’s health is at risk. Continuously chewing and swallowing pieces of wood from fences can cause them digestive problems, so be sure to pay attention. For homeowners and manipulators, what kind of prevention can you do to stop this kind of unhealthy habit?
How to stop chewing wood?
Before we answer this, let’s first identify the reasons that explain this bad habit of your horses. In general, horses chew food caused primarily by these three reasons: (a) boredom or frustration, (b) habit, and (c) nutrient deficiency. Different horses may have any of these three, but for most owners and handlers, they try to solve them in some way. Some increases participation time of their horses so that they can have more time to see more life outside their stables, some seek help from veterinarians so that this can indicate the lack of essential nutrients among the horses. Some owners try to do feeding tricks, such as giving hay more than a long, chewy stem so that their horses don’t turn to wood just to satisfy their internal desire to chew.
Of what other things can be considered part prevention?
When owners observe this type of habit that their horses make, one of the most common things they do is the first less expensive solution. People try to cover these fences from their horses ’stables with some sprays, pastes, or washes that may eventually add some bitter or horrible taste to the wood. With this, horses will not choose to bite and chew these fences taking into account the very sensitivity of their mouth and tongue. However, this method should be maintained and done regularly, especially at times when the rain has already washed them and the bitter taste of the wood comes off naturally. Before you forget, one thing to keep in mind here as well is the toxicity of the paint, paste, or oil you put on the fences. Some may be too harmful to your horses, so if you are thinking of applying a chemical deterrent mixture, choose products that are safe and approved for use.
Another method that most homeowners also do is to cover fences with plastic mesh or small mesh chicken threads. Somehow, this is much safer and better than using fencing chemicals. This is done by covering the sticks around, as well as the sticks and boards, and with this, the horses cannot completely chew the mesh provided, and somehow stop their desire to chew beyond the coatings.
When chewing wood has gone beyond a habit
As I mentioned earlier, chewing wood can be dangerous to your horse’s health, especially if it manages to swallow harmful materials present or attached to wooden fences such as staples, nails and even chemicals like arsenic that they are known to be naturally present in pressure-treated woods. Seeking help from people who know the field is the best thing to do for our horses when this type of unhealthy habit has gotten worse.
Nutritional advice is considered first on the list when seeking medical and scientific help. Veterinarians suggest this after knowing exactly what type of diet your horse is currently taking. Professional animal nutrition advisors are available to guide you, owners and handlers, in choosing the ideal diet for your horse. With the extra nutrients and fiber for your horse’s diet, you can eventually prevent him from chewing wood.
On the other hand, excessive or excessive chewing of wood has become evident by the behavior of your horse; veterinarians usually recommend a behavior specialist. This person will be responsible for changing this type of abnormal behavior by replacing it with other activities that will divert the horse’s attention from chewing all the wood around the stable.
Replacing and maintaining good, safe fencing is expensive, but a sick, diseased horse will cost you even more. Finding the best solution to this problem can greatly benefit you and can also ensure the health and safety of your horses.
What other factors can trigger chewing wood among horses?
- Food or fodder limited to the stable or horse area
- Inadequate fiber in the horse’s diet
- More confinement in a closed place
- Changes in the level of activity
- Little low quality pasture
What types of trees / forests are not recommended to use to build stables / fences?
As I said, there are forests that simply contain chemicals that are harmful to horses and are not recommended for use in fence construction. These types of forests usually come from these trees:
- Wild and domestic cherries
- Black lobsters
- Black walnut
How important are horse attendants?
In general, horses that are kept indoors are more likely to develop wood-chewing habits because they are more likely to get bored and frustrated. Therefore, it is advisable that there is enough space or place for our horses to exercise themselves and explore more of life outside their stables. This allows your horses to live naturally with both the environment and other horses. Another advantage that horses can get is to have plenty of grass to feed on whenever they are outside, so there is less chance of participating in chewing wood.