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Discussion on Horse won't eat leaves from alfalfa

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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: Mrose

Post Number: 2042
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 3, 2007 - 12:05 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

What does it mean, if anything, if our old mare will eat the alfalfa stems, but not the leaves? No one else has a problem with them. Normally, she is a pig and eats everything. She's being doing this off and on all winter. The hay looks green and good. She will eat the grass hay, but prefers her Eq. Senior. Is she just pickey? Or, is she "smart" and something in her is telling her to eat grass and stemmy hay for a reason?
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KATHLEEN WHEAT
Member
Username: Kathleen

Post Number: 609
Registered: 5-2004
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 3, 2007 - 6:06 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sara,
Not saying this is your problem, but when Mona was going through her 8 years of ulcer problems, she would occasionally eat only the alfalfa, or only the coastal or both or leave part of either or both, but never did she leave her grain. That goes against what they thought at the time, that horses go off grain when they have ulcers. She had bleeding ulcers and still did not go off grain, just got picky about which hay she wanted. Just FYI
Kathleen
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Diane Edmonds
Member
Username: Scooter

Post Number: 615
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 3, 2007 - 8:00 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

That is odd Sara, mine think the leaves are candy! I have had one choke on them from inhaling them to fast, maybe she can't chew them effectively, because they are so fine?
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: Mrose

Post Number: 2044
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 3, 2007 - 10:59 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

This is my older mare whose picture I posted on another thread. She's due to get her teeth checked next month along with shots; but she gets them checked regularly and doesn't seem to be prone to problems with them. I'll run my fingers over her teeth to be sure she does't have a problem now. I'd be amazed if she had ulcers and she's certainly not under any stress, unless you count having to share her run in with her best friend.
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KATHLEEN WHEAT
Member
Username: Kathleen

Post Number: 611
Registered: 5-2004
Posted on Wednesday, Jan 3, 2007 - 11:20 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Just a thought, was she very close with Libby before you took her to the hospital?
Kathleen
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 17386
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Jan 4, 2007 - 6:13 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

It may be the alfalfa is dry and the leaves fracture off easily and something in her makeup keeps her from cleaning it up? Just a guess.
DrO
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: Mrose

Post Number: 2055
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Thursday, Jan 4, 2007 - 8:30 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

As good a guess as I've had. The alfalfa is getting a little dry, but this mare used to clean up every last leaf to the point of licking her feed box and then trying to eat everyone elses if I didn't tie her up while she was eating! Maybe she is just getting weird in her old age?!

Kathleen, she did like Libby, but was quite bossy with her and Libby wasn't her best friend.

Thanks for the thoughts. I personally think she just likes to do whatever she can to frustrate me and to get attention.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 17403
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Jan 5, 2007 - 7:03 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

That being the case you might examine her carefully with the question in mind: why would she stop reaching all the way to the ground and carefully clean up the leaves to see if something reveals itself. For example "a stiff neck" or "sore lips" but there may be dozens of possibilities so keep an open mind.
DrO
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: Mrose

Post Number: 2059
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Friday, Jan 5, 2007 - 11:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I feed at ground level (on rubber matting) She has no problems reaching, she just carefully picks out the stems. She gobbles the grass hay down. She's not loosing weight, as I cater to her and give her extra grass hay and Eq. Senior. Maybe I shouldn't be so nice?

I was curious as to whether or not a horse would pick and choose depending on dietary deficiency, and if she either has an overabundance or lack of something in her diet. Would blood work show this?
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 17414
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Jan 5, 2007 - 6:50 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

No there are no deficiencies likely to lead to such behavior, other than perhaps not enough forage in the rest of the diet. Nor would blood tests help with this.
DrO
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Sara Wolff
Member
Username: Mrose

Post Number: 2062
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Friday, Jan 5, 2007 - 10:57 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks, Dr.O., I'm getting paranoid about my animals, I think, and was thinking she might be trying to "tell me something" re lack of something or too much of something in her diet.
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