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Making a horse eat his grain more slowly?

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  • Making a horse eat his grain more slowly?

    My horse has choked on his grain twice in the last month because he gulped it down too fast. Is there a type of grain feeder that would make him slow down his consumption? I also saw the suggestion to put rocks in his feeder to slow him down. How big should these rocks be? I don't want him to choke on rocks, either!

    What do you guys think? Does anyone else have this problem?
    Originally posted by tidy rabbit
    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community.

  • #2
    I would thoroughly soak his food beforehand from now on. The stones work really well also. You want very smooth stones that are larger than your fist. Three or so, your horse will have to pick around them instead of grabbing a huge mouthful.


    • #3
      I had a horse persistently choke.

      1-he was a cribber and had a dry esophogus. After I put a cribbing collar on him, he would have saliva in his esophogus to help lubricate the food.

      2-I also soaked his feed in water for some time until the inflammation in his esophogus went down (if it is swollen, the chances for choke are much greater due to a smaller passageway for food). You may also want to put him on some injectable corticosteroids (like dexamethasone) for a few days.

      3-Try putting a salt block broken up into 2 pieces in the horse's feed dish. I worry about rocks and the horse ingesting pebbles.

      Good luck! I haven't had a choke incident *knocks on wood* since doing this treatment (about 2 years--it was happening VERY regularly--almost every day)!
      'Like' my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Calla...946873?sk=wall


      • #4
        If you use rocks make sure that they are big (fist sized) and smooth (like out of a stream).

        Also, use a large, flat feeder. This spreads the feed out and makes it impossible for the horse to "dig deep" into feed, as it could in a bucket.

        Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raça, Uma Paixão


        • #5
          - make a mush if he'll eat it
          - rocks as mentioned - size DOES matter
          - wiiiiiiiiide feeder so the food is thinly spread.

          Even go do far as a large rubber "soaking" bucket like this one
          bigger if you can find bigger (I'd actually love to know if they come bigger!)
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


          • #6
            Sometimes I think the large rocks just make them more frantic and work against you. I would feed any/all grain meals very well soaked, that will be your best preventative. A lot of people say their horses object to soaked food. I soak feed for every single horse on this farm at every single meal (30+) and they all eat it. They may object a time or two but they get over it.
            Blogging about daily life on the retirement farm: http://paradigmfarms.blogspot.com/
            Paradigm Farms on Facebook


            • #7
              I know it might seem obvious make be sure his teeth are in good shape. Discomfort due to sharpness can cause bolting of feed. If they are comfortable the experience can be more pleasant.


              • #8
                Really I think soaking the feed into mush is your best bet, but if that doesn't work, I used to board at a barn with a horse that bolted its feed. They had a rather ingenius solution. They put this:


                In the horse's stall, and fed its grain in there. Just tossed the grain in so it scattered over the entire bottom, and so the horse couldn't take big mouthfuls at a time.
                Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!


                • #9
                  These are cool, a bit pricey though:


                  I have a pony that will choke on pellets also, but have had very good luck with feeding extruded feeds, they don't seem to "stick" like the pellets do.


                  • #10


                    • #11
                      I second the salt block and feed on the ground instead of a hanging bucket. I also agree with the poster about the textured feed over pellets.


                      • #12
                        I moved my gelding to a ground feeding pan and started adding water to the pellets. It really slowed him down, and I like that he licks the bowl, so he gets all his supplements. It also reduced his pawing, which was a huge issue at feeding time. (He's 23, has done it forever, nothng seemed to work to stop it, so.... )