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Protecting trees from horse teeth?

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  • Protecting trees from horse teeth?

    I have a row of large cedar trees in my pasture; they make nice shade in the summer and provide shelter in the winter (even though the horses have access to stalls they like to go stand under the trees when it snows). Every spring I have to cut a few dead branches off because they reach up and chew on them...no big deal. Well, this winter they've started stripping bark off the trunks and I'm afraid it's going to kill the trees.

    The obvious solution is to put a fence around the trees but that isn't an option right now with the ground frozen sold. I'm thinking of wrapping the trunks with blue tarps, which will look ridiculous...any better ideas?

  • #2
    Chicken wire (netting).

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    • #3
      Ditto chicken wire - the smaller 3/4" size overlapped generously with staples every 6" up the overlap - as high as you can go.
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      • #4
        They are missing someting their diet

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        • #5
          Soap. Ivory dish washing liquid.

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          • #6
            Third vote for chicken wire with staples.
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            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by Donna D View Post
              They are missing someting their diet
              Green grass maybe? Seriously, if you have any thoughts about WHAT they might be missing that would cause them to crave cedar (yuck) I'd be interested in checking into it. But I think it's likely they are just bored.

              Thanks for the chicken wire suggestion - I'll give that a try!

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              • #8
                Do you have hay 24/7, salt 24/7, and min/via 24/7? I've had 100's of horses and we have 180 acres of pastures all with trees never have I had even 1 horse chew on them. I think they chew either because their bored and have no forage or they lack something in their diet.
                Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.

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                • #9
                  eating trees

                  There is also a plastic netting like fencing that we have used. I have used the chicken wire but it can get tight on the tree and I also worry about the rough ends and horses possibly rubbing their eyes. The plastic looks like snow fencing and is easy to handle. I just tie with together with bailing twine. It is lightweight and relatively cheap.

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                  • #10
                    I use the black deer fencing. Chicken wire makes me a bit leary - I picture my guys rubbing their manes or cutting their eyes on it. (I know it probably won't happen, but I like to stay away from sharp edges in my horse pens as much as possible - because we all know that if they can hurt themselves, they will...)
                    "When life gives you scurvy, make lemonade."

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                    • #11
                      I just posted almost the exact question in Horse Care, wondering if we were deficient in something (mineral, whatever).

                      We have cedars lining our drive and in the horse pasture and just recently noticed the bark being stripped along the trunk near the ground. The one tree is stripped from my waste down, and I'm thinking probably doesnt' stand a chance of survival at this point.

                      We have them on a vit/mineral product designed to be fed with white salt, which we had been doing, and free choice hay, plus their meals. I put mineral blocks out last night b/c I was really confused about the trees, and both blocks were 1/2 gone this morning. Anyway, apparently that doesn't mean much more than they liked the taste and are piggies.

                      We are going to try to save the trees that have been nibbled as opposed to devoured, and I'm switching to a different product vit/min and will be providing the minerals free choice from now on as well (assuming I can find the non-tasty variety).

                      My gelding has picked one of the many trees as his. He guards it, licks it, cherishes it. He will not let the mares near it and goes so far as to sleep next to it so they can't steal a lick. Must taste very very good.
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                      • #12
                        orange plastic fencing

                        http://lawn-and-garden.hardwarestore...ce-100203.aspx

                        No wire to get caught up in or gouge eyes out.
                        Crayola posse ~ Lazer Lemon yellow
                        Take time to give...it is too short a day to be selfish. - Ben Franklin

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                        • #13
                          I think the Orange snow fencing is the way to go.

                          I would wrap it around the trunk a couple of times, just to make sure they can't get their little noses in the squares.

                          And if they are lacking vitamins etc I would get something like Ranvet's Complete Vitamin & Mineral Supplement http://www.ranvet.com.au/complete.htm

                          It comes in a 4 kg bucket and "Each kg contains:
                          Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Calcium, Choline, Cobalt, Copper, Fluoride, Iodine, Inositol, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc.

                          Recommended Daily Intake:
                          2 year olds in training......90g
                          Horses on high grain diet....90g
                          Horses in work....60g
                          horses being spelled....30g
                          Show Horses....30g
                          Show Ponies....30g

                          Our horses have it in every hard feed they have, along with Apple Cider Vinegar, to help with prevents cold, infections etc etc.

                          And if you can't get Ranvet, we use the Tuff Rock Conditioner Plus as well. www.tuffrock.net

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                          • #14
                            I used the black plastic netting and plastic ties and started mine on No Wood Chew ( at least I think that is the name of the product) it is a supplement. I have great hay and feed, and mineral/salt block. I am convinced mine are bored...their rider went off to college.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by county View Post
                              Do you have hay 24/7, salt 24/7, and min/via 24/7? I've had 100's of horses and we have 180 acres of pastures all with trees never have I had even 1 horse chew on them. I think they chew either because their bored and have no forage or they lack something in their diet.
                              We have salt licks and min/via licks in all our pastures, and the horses have access to alfalfa hay 24/7. They still like to chew on the trees. We have had chicken wire around most of the trees in all the pastures.

                              I think they do it because they get bored and not a lack of diet.

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                              • #16
                                I don't have mature trees in my pasture (too open here for that) but my trainer uses offcuts of old carpet to protect hers from deer. No idea if it would work against horse teeth though. She uses the stuff with the hessin backing.
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                                • #17
                                  I have a horse that I board who began chewing trees and wooden fencing last summer. He had never been a wood chewer before, and got worse as we progressed into winter, and progressed to the point of being chronic.

                                  he had hay 24/7, a himilayan salt block, free choice minerals, loose salt free choice, lived out 24/7 in a herd situation in a wooded setting. I could not figure out why he suddenly began to chew.

                                  turned out the b/m at the time was feeding him more than he could handle and not telling me. he became chronically mildly laminitic and began suffering from ulcers.... but the symptoms were so subtle, it was only the chewing that alerted me that something was wrong. I removed the sugars from his diet, tended to his ulcers and he hasn't chewed wood since. He now again, is boarded in a wooded setting, out 24/7 and never chews.
                                  Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.

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                                  • #18
                                    It takes A LOT to kill a cedar. When my critters rub/chew the lower branches, I just look at as less pruning I have to do.

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                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Thanks for the suggestions!

                                      I had a chance to watch them on Sunday and it seems to be one mare doing most of the damage. She is out of work for the first time in I don't know how long, so I'm sure she's bored. Interestingly, I have never seen her go near the salt block but assumed she must be using it. Maybe not? I'll pick up some loose salt and see if she shows any interest in that.

                                      I ended up getting a bright orange plastic snow fence because I could just imagine someone getting a tooth caught in the wire; I figured the plastic will tear easily if they get caught on it. I wrapped it around the tree twice and then tied it all together with twine. Not exactly pretty, but the mare didn't smell like an air freshener when she came in tonight so I think it did the job.

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