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Discussion on Eating manure

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margaret
Posted on Saturday, Apr 3, 1999 - 9:28 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Our 5 year old mare has started to regularly eat manure. We have good stable management and clean up pastures on a regular basis . Any suggestions how to break this habit
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The Advisor Vet, RN Oglesby DVM
Posted on Saturday, Apr 3, 1999 - 9:28 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

There is only one well established cause of this habit and that is protein deficiency. It is assumed the extra protein provided by microbes is the reason. That said, many horses with perfectly adequate protein have this habit and I would include in the list of probable causes, as mentioned below, boredom and inadequate roughage.

First check your protein are you feedin a stemmy hay along with a 10% concentrate? If you are, total dietary protein might well be below 9%, the recommended minimum for maintenance. Check it out.

Next, does your horse have plenty of hay and roughage available so that he always has something to chew?

A concern you should have is these horses reinfect themselves rapidly with worms so if you cannot get the habit to stop switch to a daily feed through dewormer.
The Advisor Vet, RN Oglesby DVM
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Vera
Posted on Saturday, Apr 3, 1999 - 9:29 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

This is a typical problem i guess. Usually it is caused when a horse is not having enough food or when there is a calcium deficiency, so it might be helpful adding some calcium to her diet. My horse was doing the same thing but after i started giving him calcium he stopped doing it. By the way it would also help if you kept your mare busy. Do you train her frequently, is she allowed to graze in a paddock ??
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Kris
Posted on Saturday, Apr 3, 1999 - 9:30 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

My two horses have been doing the same thing. They get plenty of hay, with a 2 to 1 ration of grass/alfalfa, plus they get a small ration of oats with a vitamin supplement and their daily wormer mixed in. I doubt they are deficient in calcium because of the amount of alfalfa in their diet. Isn't there some data that they eat it to stimulate micro organisms in their gut?
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Tylia
Posted on Saturday, Apr 3, 1999 - 9:31 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Yes. Not exactly a nice way to balance the natural flora in the intestine...lol. Along the same lines as humans using acidopholus I guess. I've been told that there really isn't any cause for concern if you have just the one horse, but with more (obviously) this isn't a good situation. I've also heard that the reason they need to balance the bacteria in their gut can be due to stress, overeating, etc. Anyway, good luck to you.
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Janet
Posted on Wednesday, Apr 7, 1999 - 8:38 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Two of my horses have picked up the same disgusting habit. They get 5 lbs of a supplemented textured 12% grain mix per head daily, and two large flakes of alfalfa/grass mix hay twice daily. They have very "expensive urine." I'd like to think that this is just a boredom thing. The other horses, on the same feed, are not doing this. The two who are poop-munching are my two more nervous, busy-body horses. Maybe I WILL up the protein a little, just to see what happens. Also, the ones doing this are the only two pastured together. The others all have their own pastures. Hmmmm.....
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Lynn P. Shost
Member
Username: Kirk1986

Post Number: 8
Registered: 2-2002
Posted on Monday, Mar 24, 2003 - 11:12 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Which dietary protein in deficient in a horse that eats manure?
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: Dro

Post Number: 8024
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 - 6:35 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

The total dietary protein is what we are talking about, see Care for Horses Nutrition Nutrition for the Horse: an Overview of Feeding Horses for more about this.
DrO
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Lynn P. Shost
Member
Username: Kirk1986

Post Number: 10
Registered: 2-2002
Posted on Tuesday, Mar 25, 2003 - 8:43 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks Doc!
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DJ Mason
New Member
Username: Camper

Post Number: 4
Registered: 8-2006
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 4, 2006 - 2:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

New question on old subject. My horse is nibbling through his own poop during the day. I know terrible huh? The deal is that hes a very easy keeper, and I cut back his hay to get some of the weight off. He has lost some and all is going good, except he nibbles in his own poop when he cant stand it any longer and is too hungry. I clean his area, which is 180' x 100' + a barn, morning and night. SO, do I feed him more hay? Im feeding timothy and orchard..I dont want him gaining back his weight but Im afraid of worms and no telling what hes causing by eating his poop. I do give him 1/2# of alphalfa pellets daily for protein. Is this enough? Im trying to keep calories down..Thanks for any and all help..DJ
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Linda S.
Member
Username: Banthony

Post Number: 173
Registered: 12-2003
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 4, 2006 - 3:51 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

There was another posting recently that suggested putting hay in a double hay net. That will make the horse work for what they get so they don't get as much. Might work for you.
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Ann Schrichte
Member
Username: Annes

Post Number: 159
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 4, 2006 - 4:22 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Just a thought...when I had a horse stalled for a while on a strict diet, she would nibble on the straw bedding. My vet told me that was ok. As long as it is very clean (no mold) straw, it would give your horse something to chew on and shouldn't cause weight gain.
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Sue Hartzell
New Member
Username: suenzoo

Post Number: 4
Registered: 4-2008
Posted on Friday, Oct 3, 2008 - 6:08 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Ok...now I've read all the discussions on the horrible habit of eating their own feces. I have a mare that eats just about every pile she produces. She is being fed 2.5# of Alfalfa/Grass hay, 2.5# Orchard Pelleted hay, 2.5# Timothy hay/Alfalfa hay cube, 1# Equine Sr., Vita Flex hoof supplement, Synovi MSM joint supplement, Horse Guard Vitamins/Minerals, Probiotics, she has a mineral/salt block, and also the Himalaya salt lick. I feed the cube and pellet due to having to board my horses and there is not enough room for me to store more than one ton of hay at a time and I have 4 horses. The horse next to this mare has now learned this behavior as well, but she isn't eating every pile. When I got this mare she was off of a slaughter lot and was FAT; she is at her correct weight now. She is worked, either trail riden,lounged or turned out to run (with me encouraging her to run) every other day for 45 minutes or more. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!
Sue
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LL
Member
Username: frances

Post Number: 695
Registered: 3-2004
Posted on Saturday, Oct 4, 2008 - 3:59 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi Sue,

Has she always done this? If not,has anything new been introduced into her diet? I knew a couple of horses which started eating their own manure after molassed chaff was added to their diet. We wondered if the molasses made the poop unusually delicious.
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Sue Hartzell
New Member
Username: suenzoo

Post Number: 5
Registered: 4-2008
Posted on Saturday, Oct 4, 2008 - 4:28 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks for the reply. I've only had her since June and she was already eating her own feces when I got her. I have no history what so ever on her, she was sold to the slaughter lot in April, I bailed her out, she went through 30 days of QT and then I picked her up. Her salt/minerla lick and the Sr. feed both have molasses in them. She has consumed 3/4th of the block since June. I was wondering if there was anything I can add to her diet to make the feces taste horrible to her. I know for dogs and cats you can use a product called Forbid, but wasn't sure if there was such a product for horses. Maybe I need to try removing her salt/mineral lick and see if I can find a Sr. diet that has less or no molasses in it; I currently use Purina Equine Senior. Any suggestions on a quality Sr. diet with less or without molasses?
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Diane E.
Member
Username: scooter

Post Number: 2926
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Saturday, Oct 4, 2008 - 5:16 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sue my horses went through this one winter except they were eating the cows poop UCK!

Dr.O. said sometimes a lack of protein can cause it too.,however the cows were getting a molasses protein barrel at the time so I don't know which was causing it. I did up their protein and they quit.

It does sound as if your horse may be bored though, that isn't much for exercise or turnout. We had one horse where I used to work that cleaned his stall for us, he ate all of his poop. He didn't get much turnout or hay because he was an easy keeper. Someone bought him and turned him out on pasture and kept him exercised and it never happened again!
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 21484
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Oct 6, 2008 - 7:45 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I think Sue's cause is more basic than just protein as there is a fair amount of alfalfa in her diet. I think the horse is trying to make up for the lack of volume. Sue I would recommend you increase the pounds of forage. To maintain condition you could substitute for one of the higher quality hays a stemmier hay.
DrO
PS Sue in order to get more and quicker answers you should post your questions in a New Discussion rather than at the bottom of someone else's. If you need help with this check out: Help & Information on Using This Site » Welcome to The Horseman's Advisor.
DrO
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