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Solutions for a dunker

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  • Solutions for a dunker

    OK, it's not enough I now have the Worlds Most Beautiful & Talented horse here at 2 Dogs (I may be a bit prejuduiced).

    He is a dunker.
    Anyone here have some suggestions for dealing with the mess his water bucket is?
    I scoop out soaked hay 3X daily and dump&rinse completely every 2 or 3 days.

    With frigid temps approaching I'd like to hear any other ideas for keeping his water bucket relatively clean.
    The bucket is a heated one, so hanging a 2nd bucket won't work as that one would freeze.

    And what is that foamy scum that floats on top?
    Horse spit?
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015

  • #2
    I had a dunker - and I know...what a mess! I don't think the horse minds the slime at all, in fact mine used to look at me with that "Hey, where're you goin' with my soup??" when I dumped it out.

    I hung two buckets, both heated - and used one of those power strips because my outlets were scarce. One bucket was his 'dunker' bucket, and the other one he used mostly for drinking. Mostly Both got emptied and cleaned daily. The extra water he got by dunking was good for him.

    P.S. I'm so very happy for you- followed your story from the beginning.


    • #3
      Are his teeth flated regularly?
      If he has some points, that would make him a worse dunker.
      How about trying to feed him wetted food?

      We had one, he was ancient and he dunked before we got him out of a bad situation, where he was chased away from a big bale he could not eat from anyway without teeth.
      He was on his last leg and the only way he had been surviving is by stealing a mouthful here and there and dunking it.
      When we realized he was dunking, we started feeding him his alfalfa in a new muckbucket with water on the bottom few inches and he loved it.
      We had to trade muckbuckets every day, feeding in a new one and rinsing the old one.
      You could try that, have two buckets for him and trade them regularly for a fresh, clean one.

      I would not mind a dunker, because at least you know he is getting some water in him.


      • #4
        I had a mare that dunked her hay. ALWAYS. The way I looked at it:
        1. Dunkers just like their hay that way.
        2. it's good for them... you know they are taking in water and are not likely to choke.
        3. I'd rather deal with a hay dunker than a poop-in-the-water-bucket horse.

        So just hang 2 heated buckets, and let it be. It's easier.
        Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles


        • Original Poster

          So The People vote I add a 2nd heated bucket?
          Actually I could relocate the one from the vacant stall, but I was looking for something more creative (i.e. cheaper) - along the lines of Bluey's muckbucket feedpan.

          BTW Bluey: he is just 14 and I'm sure his teeth are in great shape as he was rehabbed/vet-checked before I got him. He has no problem Hoovering down the mix of pellets & oats I feed.
          *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
          Steppin' Out 1988-2004
          Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
          Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


          • #6


            • #7
              Bodie is a dunker. At my current barn he just dunks in his waterer They are sure to clean it out each day(they are pretty good about this but I do worry) and he is not too popular because he is so messy. His favorite would be a muck sized bucket and he would stand there dunking away, with that glazed look in his eyes! It may have been frozen this morning so I am not sure what he does in that case! I live two hours away so I am not able to be involved!


              Rerider/Haydunker Clique

              RIP Barbaro, you were my hero!


              • #8
                I have several of these. The short answer is... let 'em dunk. I know, I know, it's a pain in the, er, bucket. But I have been told by various old school vets and horsemen that a dunker rarely colics. They keep themselves nicely hydrated and it seems to keep them from being bored.

                There are much worse habits. Plus I have no idea how you could break them of the habit without depriving them of water, which we all already know is so not an option. The second bucket rarely works - they just make twice the mess!

                You will learn to live with it. I did!

                The above post is an opinion, just an opinion. If it were a real live fact it would include supporting links to websites full of people who already agreed with me.



                • Original Poster

                  LLDM: I have no intention of stopping him dunking, he can have at it forever as far as I'm concerned.

                  I used to love listening to my horses chew their hay, now I love listening to his equivalent - kind of like the Wash Cycle on a toploader...

                  But I am at heart a lazy horsekeeper, and just wondered if anyone had a Magic Wand to deal with the cleanup.
                  *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
                  Steppin' Out 1988-2004
                  Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
                  Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015


                  • #10
                    Clean the bucket daily.

                    Ignore the dunking, it's not unhealthy as has been mentioned.
                    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                    Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                    • #11
                      Dunking is good. I have a few of them here too.

                      I scoop out soaked hay 3X daily and dump&rinse completely every 2 or 3 days.

                      I clean the buckets every day, not "every 2 or 3 days" so it's no big deal.

                      I have a separate wheelbarrow for this. I go along and dump the buckets into that and clean as needed as I go. Dunkers and non dunkers get clean buckets every day.


                      • #12
                        Add a second bucket, closer to the hay if possible, to encourage him to use only one for dunking.

                        Patrick has a tall barrel for his water, and a low tub next to his hay for dunking. It gets gross but I'm thrilled that he's drinking extra!
                        ... and Patrick


                        • #13
                          We let ours dunk. If they run out of hay in their stalls over night, guess what, they eat what is sliming around in the buckets! We scrub and rinse the buckets every day when we do the stalls and fill them clean at supper time. They do not dunk in their outside water buckets. I certainly wouldn't scrub the buckets out 3xday! They LIKE it slimy and green and gross. Just start them clean every night and be happy they are getting all that extra water.
                          Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.


                          • #14
                            My mare is a dunker and the two buckets system works - she will only dunk in one bucket and keep the other cleanfor drinking.
                            Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
                              LLDM: I have no intention of stopping him dunking, he can have at it forever as far as I'm concerned.

                              I used to love listening to my horses chew their hay, now I love listening to his equivalent - kind of like the Wash Cycle on a toploader...

                              But I am at heart a lazy horsekeeper, and just wondered if anyone had a Magic Wand to deal with the cleanup.
                              A lot of "furreniers" dunk their hay. It's cultural.
                              I have 2 buckets. One is used for dunking and is a little lower than the one used for drinking. But after the drinking bucket is empty, he drinks from the dunking bucket. I dump and change buckets each day. He does not dunk in the trough in the pasture as his hay is not near it.
                              My vet who has lived in the Arabic countries says that many european horses dunk. And apparently so do the Australians?

                              Dentist does his teeth every year and just did them last week so it's not a tooth issue, he just likes his hay wet.


                              • #16
                                I have a dunker, he is now 22. I just dump his bucket, scrub and rinse and refill.
                                I guess since I do that to all their buckets every day, I don't think much about the fact his has more green stuff in it.

                                I will say, my other horses if they sneak into his stall before I dump his bucket, think they have come upon horse manna, and love to eat his leftover soaked, dunked hay! Yuck, but I am not a horse.

                                I don't use the two bucket method, I think when I did, he just dunked in both.
                                save lives...spay/neuter/geld


                                • #17
                                  My mare dunks, and is just about the worst/messiest I have ever seen. She has a 12x12 stall with an automatic waterer as well as a 5 gallon bucket. She also has a 14x36 paddock attached to her stall with a 70 gallon stock tank. She dunks everywhere! She will drag an entire flake of hay out into her paddock and put half of it in the stock tank, so the water gets disgusting. I try to at least keep the auto waterer and the 5 gallon bucket cleaned daily.

                                  She did colic 3x in the first 3 months I owned her, at some point she figured this out for herself.
                                  On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                                  • #18
                                    My boy is a dunker. He will take a huge mouthful and submerge his muzzle in the bucket, past his nostrils, and then happily munches on his drowned hay. I could watch his little ritual for hours. Yeah his buckets are a pain to clean, but its comforting to know that he is getting plenty of water.
                                    Proud mother to Matt, a 18 year-old TB gelding.



                                    • #19
                                      A lot of people place their hay by the water buckets so their horses will dunk. I think it's healthy.


                                      • #20
                                        I never heard of this!

                                        Mine are just the opposite. If they accidentally drop hay in their water buckets, they won't drink the water. Fortunately they're not in their stalls very often. They'd go all night w/o drinking *icky* water.

                                        "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." -Groucho Marx