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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb. 21, 2009

    Default Horse licking metal?

    My 11 year old Oldenburg mare has always had an odd barn habit of licking the metal pipe coral while she's eating. She'll take a bite of food, chew and swallow and then lick the metal bar a couple times. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 30, 2007
    Hollowed out volcano in the South Pacific.


    Nothing abnormal. Giraffes do it too. Not sure what the purpose is but I see it often.
    Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 11, 2002
    The Cliffs of Insanity


    Mine do it too... particularly after given a treat.

    \"For all those men who say, \"Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free,\" here\'s an update for you: Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it\'s not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage.\"-

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 16, 2003
    Staunton, VA, USA

    Default Its called Pica

    and is sometimes thought to indicate a mineral deficiency.
    It's my belief that they like the taste and thus lick.
    But you could try giving a mineral supplement with copper in it and see if that stops the behavior, in theory the copper is what the horse is seeking.
    Melyni (PhD) PAS, Dipl. ACAN.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 25, 2005
    The Land of the Frozen


    Well, one of mine does it and I'm really not sure how she could have a mineral deficiency given the excellent diet plus vitamin/mineral supplement she's been on forever. I use feedxl and hay analysis. According to my analysis, she is well over 100% on everything, and her copper is 148% of recommended daily intake.

    She also has free access to loose minerals and loose salt. She licks those ocassionally but not that often.

    She only licks the metal pipe panel gate after she eats - never at any other time.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 22, 2008
    Outside Ocala FL - Horse Capital of the World


    My two older horses do that, and they didn't start until they got older, and it appears that they are trying to get the food that is stuck in their teeth/cheeks out that way - since at their ages, they have some spaces in their back teeth that cannot be corrected anymore by the equine dentist.

    They lick the wall in their stalls, so it is part metal, part wood, and sometimes they do it on the backside of their feed tubs instead of the wall. I have also seen them lick the metal mesh stall door. And only when they eat or have been given a treat.
    There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2007
    Illinois, USA


    I know quite a few horses that will do that. My mare usually NEEDS to lick SOMETHING after she's had a tasty snack. Either she'll lick the side of her little feed pan, or if I just handfed her a treat, she'll lick my palm with this glazed over look on her face like, "Awwww yeahhh."

    I wouldn't worry about it. Horses are weird sometimes.
    Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 18, 2006
    SE VA


    Mine does the same thing while he's eating, he'll lick the wood wall, metal gate, his bucket, whatever is in licking range. If he eats something and my jacket is in licking range, even better.
    "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse..." ~Revelation 19:11

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 13, 2009


    My horse does it too, always licks metal while eating.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb. 6, 2003


    Licking metal after they eat supposedly "enhances" the taste of what they just ate/chewed. Stimulates more saliva or something which makes more taste...IIRC.
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