View Full Version : Help! They're desparate for something green!

Feb. 6, 2010, 10:47 PM
We have 2 ft of snow on the ground and my boys were actually eating the pine needles today!

They're gettting free choice orchardgrass hay, 2 1/2 lbs triple crown low starch 2x daily, 2 lbs. alfalfa pellets 2x daily and 1/4 cup of BOSS at night.

They're desparate for something green. Should I swap out the pellets for soaked alfalfa cubes? DH will not be happy about that, as he has to do evening feed (and I'm lucky he can tell them apart), but he'll just have to suck it up.

I was hoping to pick up some alfalfa hay this weekend, but the storm prevented that.

Feb. 6, 2010, 11:30 PM
Despite a very well-balanced diet, my crew goes through phases of nibbling on tree bark or the tiny twig branches of one bush in the field - sometimes even when there is grass out there! I think it's part boredom and part exploring different "tastes." As long as no one gets sick from it we don't worry too much. The worst part for us is the fact that they can't seem to nibble on the pines without getting covered in sap, which is not fun to get off!

Feb. 7, 2010, 12:23 PM
I wouldn't change anything. Sounds like they are more bored than anything. Green doesn't always equal healthy.

Maybe they would enjoy a barrel or ball to play with?

Feb. 7, 2010, 12:46 PM
pine needles taste good! and if they are green, are full of vitamin C.

are you feeding a vitamin/mineral balancer? ( not sure if your pellets are providing enough?)

Sometimes they do want something chewey and succulent though. I feed field carrots when there is no green grass, and when those run out in January, I use beet pulp until the pasture is green again in a couple of months.

Feb. 7, 2010, 02:37 PM
Throw them each a little flake of alfalfa :)

Feb. 7, 2010, 03:16 PM
Carrots are good. Sometimes I think they just want something fresh! A couple of large bags of carrots from the grocery store might give them some relief from the winter doldrums.


Feb. 7, 2010, 04:24 PM
Has anybody tried sprouting some oats or grass seed?

Feb. 7, 2010, 05:59 PM
My donks always go for the pine trees this time of year, I have some very ugly trees from the girls decimating them. Oh well. The vet said it was from a lack of fresh greens even tho their hay should do it it doesn't. They chew worse when there is a lot of snow and can't get to whatever green is still on teh ground.

Feb. 8, 2010, 02:05 PM
Sam has been "grazing" on last year's grass as it appears through the snow.
Looks dead & tasteless to me, but seems to keep him happy.
You could do what my across-the-road neighbor/horse-spoiler has been doing.
She haunts the local grocery for their marked down produce and feeds him a daily snack:
a feedpan full of cut up carrots, apples, squash, spinach and Archway molasses cookies.
Pampered much?

Feb. 8, 2010, 05:02 PM
How about cabbages? Cheap, green and crunchy. Don't know if a horse would eat one, but my bunny loves them.

Feb. 9, 2010, 05:09 PM
They don't like cabbage. :( I was giving them a fresh apple every day, I get them free from work, but I ran out over the weekend. Bringing some more home today.

EqTrainer... I'd love to throw them a flake of alfalfa, but can't get any right now... everyone is snowed in.

Maybe I can swing by one of the big box stores on the way home today (finally made it to work) and pick up some fresh romaine and spinach for them, although everythng seems to be picked clean after the storm. Hopefully I can stock up this weekend. Its cold enough in the barn that the stuff will keep for a week out there.

Glad to know the pine needles won't hurt them. They only seem to like the ones with the really long needles. Eating the bark too.. so maybe they just taste better in winter.

Altitude Rider
Feb. 9, 2010, 05:22 PM
Sweet potatoes are a great crunchy snack for the horses. Sometimes the are really super cheap too, less than carrots and they also store well at cool temps.

good source of vitamins and you can toss them onto their grain and/or just give as treats. Not green but a good change.

Feb. 9, 2010, 07:25 PM
I haven't done it this year, but in past years I've left a small maple tree trunk and a bough from a pine or spruce in my mare's paddock. She gnaws on the maple bark and eats the needles from the bough.

DOES anyone know -- is there any veterinary reason not to give a horse a pine or spruce bough?

Feb. 9, 2010, 09:57 PM
My horses go through this every year, too, right around Feb/March. They get high quality feed, vitamins and plenty of t/o hay be there is something about trees that they suddenly crave. I give them a log to play with.