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Wood Chewing PLEASE HELP

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  • Wood Chewing PLEASE HELP

    Hi all! I'm here out of pure desperation... I have an 11 year old OTTB. I have had her since she was 3yrs old. She recently-on and off for 2 years-developed the horrible habit of wood chewing. She has cribbed as long as I've had her but the wood chewing is new. At the barn she started this at, the wood was treated and several horses there chewed. The new farm where I am has natural wood and she's eating the barn. The farm owner is a nice older woman but I think she's losing patience with my horse and I. I have tried the chew stop that goes on the fence and barn, the chew stop suppliment, multi vitamin/suppliment, 3 different types of cribbing/chewing muzzles, increased and different hay, increased feedings, increased activity, had her teeth checked, tried to free lease her to someone looking for a project hunter/jumper that could provide her a better fencing option, etc...I am tapped out of ideas. If I don't fix this problem-ASAP-I'm going to have to do the unthinkable (have her put down)... If ANYONE has ANY ideas, PLEASE SEND THEM MY WAY!!! I WILL TRY ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING. I love this horse with all of my heart and if I owned my own farm, things would be fine. I can not find a farm that has turnout with hotwire fencing, that I can afford. I have 2 horses so anything over ~$200/month is out of my price range. She's MAINLY chewing the BARN. Thanks for any help you can give!!!

  • #2
    Hmm...you've tried the Quitt supplement, and no luck? That and this spray http://www.thefind.com/query.php?que...nti+Chew+Spray
    really helped with one of my horses.

    Where are you located? I'm sort of surprised that you haven't been able to locate a reasonable price for board at a farm with hotwire.

    I hope you get some suggestions that will work for your mare!


    • Original Poster

      I live in Laurel (PG County) and my horses are boarded in Highland, MD (Howard County)


      • #4
        Get permission from BO to ask a handy carpenter friend or hire one to get some strips of metal sheeting and apply to all exposed wooden edges so there is nothing to chew in the stall. Depending on the type of stall you may be able to buy the pre made metal edging that will fit down over which makes a neater job.

        For outside, ask the BO if you can install electric and get someone to help to run electric in such a way as it prevents chewing.

        You may find getting these jobs done at your expense will be much less expensive than moving . For starters I'd suggest having a chat with the BO and letting her know that you are prepared to put some money into solving the problem. She may have some ideas as well.
        Last edited by egontoast; Jan. 30, 2010, 06:24 AM.


        • #5
          For the metal sheeting you will need a "Break" a device that bends the metal. Most sheet metal workers have one.

          A cheaper do it your self solution is to buy rolls of "Rat Wire" the kind w/ the tiny square holes. You can roll it out and bend it to meet your need and tack on youself w/ appropriate sized fence staples. Much less noticable and you can put up where ever needed.

          Also agree w/ buying the electric fence tape run along inside the paddock fence line and attach to a solar box.
          There is new tape out that does not require a ground rod and super easy to install... Good luck


          • #6
            how is it a muzzle didn't work?
            Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


            • #7
              Irish spring soap and birdseye peppers...


              • Original Poster

                It is not possible for me to put the metal up b/c it's 16 acres of 3 board fencing and a barn. I do not have a lot of money nor time to do a project like that myself, as I'm a new mommy. The electric fencing would be a great do-it-yourself project for us, again with it being 16 acres and 3 board fencing and the barn being the main problem-not an option we can use. The previous farm we were at, the owner there did put up hot wire fencing for me and that didn't even completely work. Somehow she's get around it and still chews-just not as often or would just go down to the next board or even the posts. Where I board, the woman has a bucket for each horse in the barn so they all have a special spot to eat 2x a day. I can't figure a way to keep just my horse out of the barn to prevent her from eating it. She's not kept in a stall-she's on 24hr turnout with the barn serving as basically an as-needed shelter. Incase it was boredom, I purchased Jolly Balls, LikIts and Uncle Jimmy's hanging balls... the other horses LOVED them... My horse-NO INTEREST at all. The muzzles not working---I don't know how she does it but she pushes her face as far forward in the halter as she can so that her lips are on the muzzle, then somehow she manipulates it so that she can get 1-yes that's right, just 1-tooth thru the bars and then she gets to chewing. I've tried this cribbing muzzle...
                http://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail.h...f-da15d8834218 and she broke out the 2 center bars-God only knows how! I've used this grazing muzzle where she got 1 tooth on the rubber and stretched the hole larger to get teeth through...
                And I've used this chewing muzzle.
                I'm not sure how she even got her teeth close enough to it b/c theres a good 4 inches between the end of her mouth and the bars but she's chewed the rubber coating off of it and has been able to reach the wood through it, also.

                I tried lastnight to combine the chewing and cribbing muzzle but with that being done she can't access her hay so I couldn't leave it on her that way.

                I think I've answered everyone's questions. Hopefully with a little more information you all can help me. THANKS AGAIN!!!


                • #9
                  24/7 turnout?

                  Have you looked for pasture board only? I ended up doing that with a mare that had the same problem for only $250/mo. I was initially worried about the fencing - no hot wire - but she tended to stick close to the herd, so no problems occurred. This situation gave her no opportunity to chew on anything except grass and dirt. Pasture had a run-in shed.



                  • #10
                    It may be a longshot, but have you tried to scope or treat her for ulcers? Given that she is a cribber already, it could be that she has untreated ulcers. Beyond that, you could try applying a variety of spicy and/or bitter concoctions to the wood to try and deter the chewing. Best of luck!
                    Riding: The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground. - Author Unknown


                    • #11
                      Would the property owner let you section off an area (using electric fence) just for your horse inside that 16 acre pasture? Fence off a little lot for your mare in such a way that she couldn't get to the wooden fence or barn to chew on them?


                      • Original Poster

                        She's already on 24 hr turnout. I don't think the owner will allow me to do that b/c she won't be able to feed 2x a day-not that I think my horses need that much grain but she insists.

                        I read a post last night where someones horse had IR and they stopped feeding sweet things and the problem was fixed... WHAT IS IR? Maybe that's the problem with my horse???


                        • #13
                          Cheap fixes.

                          Mineral, she might have a deficiency. This can be true on 'good' food. Free choice helps.

                          A pre, probiotics for her stomach.

                          Put a board out for her with molasses on it, put it in a favorite place between two posts. Maybe you can direct her habit to one area. Paint the rest with something less tasty. Blood meal for gardens is cheap and generally herbivores hate the smell.
                          Good luck, it is a tough situation.


                          • #14
                            IR is insulin resistance. There are a lot of threads on it on here. I also found the website www.equinemedsurg.com to have some useful information and probably easier to get the basic info rather than navigating through all the threads. Good luck!


                            • Original Poster

                              Ok I feel like I'm getting some great info here!!! Thanks everyone!!! This IR condition, I would assume is like being a human diabetic? And I assume I'd need a blood test to determine this? Thanks so much everyone!!!!!!!


                              • #16
                                Important question. Is she getting hay? And what kind of feed? I would switch to a high fiber, low NSC feed, if feed is necessary at all and make sure she has hay. Sometimes they will chew wood if they don't have enough fiber in their ration. I'm originally from Maryland, and the grass is dormant this time of year. If she has been without hay and existing on what little grass is left and grain, she could very well have an ulcer.

                                If she has a certain spot in the barn she goes to, try Vicks VapoRub


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by TookAChanceGotADream View Post

                                  I read a post last night where someones horse had IR and they stopped feeding sweet things and the problem was fixed... WHAT IS IR? Maybe that's the problem with my horse???
                                  that was me and that was going to me my next question...

                                  if you can (as you have nothing to loose at this point), remove all sugar from her diet (molasses, corn, etc). For my horse, even his hay was too rich for him, he needed stemmy rough hay to eat, and beet pulp for roughage.

                                  once I removed the sugars from my horse's diet, it was light a light was switched, he just 'stopped' eating wood. and previously he too was eating the barn, the jumps, the fences, the trees... he ate more wood than he did anything else. The day this really sunk in for me was when I turned him out on fresh summer grass (he was dry lotted mostly), instead of eating fresh green grass with his buddies, he ate the wooden fences. Not a blade of grass. THAT was the breaking point for me and I knew it had to be nutrition based.

                                  if your horse is breaking through muzzles, she must be desperate for something.

                                  I feel your pain, and I was nearly at having to put my own down because of wood chewing. I wish you all the luck in the world.
                                  Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


                                  • #18
                                    If you rule out any of the aforementined medical conditions, or, if you want to try it anyway -- Cribox manufactured by Hydrophane. It is the only anti-cribbing and chewing stuff that I have found that works. I had an OTTB that ate wood like a beaver, except that which I glopped over with the Cribox. It stays on a long time.

                                    Good luck.
                                    "We, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit." JFK


                                    • Original Poster


                                      Ok, so it's been about a week...

                                      1. I have again treated the barn and all exposed fencing with Chew Stop-Yes that was time consuming and expensive but who cares?
                                      2. I've started her on Quitt again
                                      3. Switched her off of sweet feed to pelletted, fight fiber food-and a lot less of it!
                                      4. Added in approx. 2 pounds of beet pulp into her ration-Couldn't find it without molassis so I've been rinsing it a few times to try to get the sugar out of it.
                                      5. She continues to wear her midevil looking muzzle
                                      6. Added a 50 pound salt block
                                      7. Added a large mineral block
                                      8. Added more hay to the field-even though the farm owner is not happy about it-I think she takes this problem as a person attack b/c she called me to let me know she "gives plenty of hay and your horse doesn't need any more."
                                      9. I TRIED to get the f.o. to allow me to put my horses in the smaller field so that I could have more control over HER food-making sure that no other horses are eating her food- but again I think the f.o. saw this as an attack on her horse care skills and will not allow me to do this.
                                      10. I did call 2 vets, a specialist and 2 rescues. They gave much the same recommendations and the vet said to call or email with updates and he will try to come up with more ideas. I asked about bloodwork and scoping-he said he'd GLADLY do it, but thought I'd be wasting my money since bloodwork might not tell us anything and the estimate to treat ulcers medically would be $1200/month-I can't afford that- so he said I could try all of the dietary changes and while that may take longer to do the trick, it would help if she had ulcers.

                                      If Southern States is open tomorrow-as we just got 3 feet of snow here in MD, I have to go invest in some more Chew Stop b/c I'm sure there isn't enough on the barn and fencing from all of our wet weather and get more mineral blocks b/c the horses are devouring them.

                                      THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR HELP!!! So far, so good. I will post more updates as things work-or dont.


                                      • #20
                                        I'm not a fan of mineral blocks. Better to give a ration balancer or vitamin/mineral supplement to her feed. You can bag it up for BO to make it easier. Some horses will just tear through a mineral block and it's not usually the one who actually needs it. Salt block yes. I would also sprinkle some free salt around the base of the salt block holder. Maybe add some salt to her feed, if she's not getting a lot of feed.

                                        We've tried it all for our OTTB. He's a "I'm bored, come play with me, and if you don't, I'll chew on your fence, right outside your window" kind of guy. Just had him on a course of antibiotics, which really ramped up his chewing. Changed his feed to TC senior (more fiber, less NSC) and added probiotics. I'm seeing a lot less chewing. Of course, he's also rather occupied with the brand new round bale in the pasture, so we will see.