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Help, my 5 month old is cribbing :(

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  • Help, my 5 month old is cribbing :(

    I'm so surprised and not happy about this. I went out tonight to feed them in the field and saw him crib on a fence post. Absolutely nothing has changed for him. He's not weaned, he's with the same horses in the same (big) field. He's been out a lot (mostly 24/7 lately since the weather has been so good).
    He's a very oral busy foal, but who isn't? Neither parents crib. Is there any going back?
    I know ulcers may be a guess, although I don't know why he'd get them with nothing different going on. Has anyone dealt with this?
    We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.
    www.dleestudio.com

  • #2
    I would definitely have him checked for ulcers as it is not unusual in unweaned foals and it does tend to cause excessive oral behaviour including cribbing. Ulcers are not only caused by stress. I would get it checked before it becomes a habit...

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm not usually one to jump on the ulcers bandwagon, but in this case I'd consider it. I have seen healthy, totally non-stressed foals have terrible ulcers. Not saying it's necessarily the case, but it's definitely a possibility. Run it by your vet. Then, put up a strand of electric on the fence in his paddock.

      Then console yourself. I hate cribbers but some of the best horses I've ever had performance-wise have been cribbers.

      Comment


      • #4
        I think I'd just start him on Ulcergard asap. Horses get stressed over things that we might not either know about or think should be stressful.

        I'd probably get blood pulled too. If he's fighting a low grade infection or something, you'd want to know sooner rather than later
        ______________________________
        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

        Comment


        • #5
          I personally would consider this to be an emergency. Maybe not have the vet come out tonight emergency but definitely tomorrow. Babies go down hill so quickly. Jingles.
          McDowell Racing Stables

          Home Away From Home

          Comment


          • #6
            Laurie, you have a good point. I took the OP's post to mean that the foal was otherwise acting totally normal, but either way I think having the vet out sooner rather than later is good advice.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks you all. Yes, he's acting normal in every other way. A vet was already coming out in the morning for another horse, so that is good. Is it hard on a five month old to be scoped? I've never had one done.
              We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.
              www.dleestudio.com

              Comment


              • #8
                I am guessing he won't be scoped as that requires fasting which would be dangerous for a foal. Most likely just bloodwork and gastrogard.
                McDowell Racing Stables

                Home Away From Home

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Ah ok.
                  We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.
                  www.dleestudio.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I agree. Your vet will probably do bloodwork and a course of Gastrogard. If it's an ulcer, the meds will help to clear it up. He should start to feel better pretty quickly if it is the case. Good luck.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Well, nobody (two vets) seem too upset by this (except me). I will put him on some ulcer med and see if that helps. He feels and looks great. Sigh.
                      We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.
                      www.dleestudio.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I wouldn't bother to scope. I'd do a course of Gastrogard and then put him on Tractgard as a preventive.

                        Originally posted by DLee View Post
                        Thanks you all. Yes, he's acting normal in every other way. A vet was already coming out in the morning for another horse, so that is good. Is it hard on a five month old to be scoped? I've never had one done.
                        Mary Lou
                        http://www.homeagainfarm.com

                        https://www.facebook.com/HomeAgainFarmHanoverians

                        Member OMGiH I loff my mares clique

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Nothing to add, but I bred a filly who had turn-out her whole life, neither parents cribbed, etc. She wasn't cribbing as a foal but she WAS very oral and would chew the bark off of the pine trees. She went to be started u/s as a late 2 yr old and came back as a cribber. Never stopped.

                          So it does happen...this was before there was a connection with ulcers. I often wonder what would have happened if she's been treated as a foal.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I had a foal that started to crib while still with his mom, and we did the GastroGuard treatment with no success. I think some horses are born cribbers and that's all there is.... He is now going under saddle and doing very well, but he still cribs when he gets bored and has the opportunity.
                            Siegi Belz
                            www.stalleuropa.com
                            2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
                            Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Thank you so much for your replies and stories, I really appreciate it. My first thought was that I had failed somehow, and I couldn't figure out what I did wrong. Neither of the other two foals from this mare have cribbed.
                              I do have a cribber on the farm, he is almost never near this colt. But he is occasionally, and I know they say they don't 'learn.. but it does make one wonder.

                              I will treat him for ulcers just in case. Probably a good thing I wasn't planning on selling him anyway.
                              We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.
                              www.dleestudio.com

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                My own horse started cribbing at about 8 months of age, post weaning. He had the ideal life, 24/7 turnout in a huge pasture with same-age buddies and low carb-type feed (progressive). I had him scoped/evaluated and bloodwork done. Nothing found, and he is now six years old and a confirmed cribber. People tend to assume that cribbers have been confined or otherwise poorly managed, but sometimes it just happens. He is very oral, and R-line on mare's side. I hope your baby is fine. It's not a habit to encourage, but there are worse things than cribbing.
                                http://behindthebitblog.com
                                Dressage, riding, sport horse blog
                                BTBbrowbands.com
                                Unique browbands for dressage and hunter riders

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Curious as to how you feed in the field - specifically the grain. We are completely against bucket feeding because the bolder horses tend to get more feed than those that eat slowly. Also some horses that are being bullied tend to eat to fast. This can set up the situation of ulcers. We bring all of our horses regardless of age into stalls to feed them.
                                  When I traveled around to the big farms in Germany that have about 200 weanlings I did notice that the bolder ones were in great shape and bullied the other ones that weren't agressive (who were not as thrifty looking).
                                  I would also say that studies show the foals cannot digest processed feeds prior to 3 months - we wait longer. They just don't have the stomach enzymes to properly digest the grain unless it's a milk replacer. It then ends up in the hind gutt and builds up gas making them incomfortable. This can lead to cribbing. Cribbing creates saliva which helps the gutt.
                                  Summit Sporthorses Ltd. Inc.
                                  "Breeding Competition Partners & Lifelong Friends"

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I completely agree with ise@ssl on this and have actually had a yearling colt at a place where they "raised them together with others". Three months into the colt's stay there, I got a phone call asking me to please pick him up because he was a cribber and they didn't want the other horses exposed to that! Well, turns out he was low man on the totem pole and all youngsters were fed on the fence. He started cribbing on a nearby tree because he never got a chance to get near a feed bucket (he was skinny as a rail!). I brought him home, treated him right and ended up selling him to a very good friend of mine who now competes with him quite successfully. And best of all... he doesn't "crib" anymore!
                                    Siegi Belz
                                    www.stalleuropa.com
                                    2007 KWPN-NA Breeder of the Year
                                    Dutch Warmbloods Made in the U. S. A.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I would be willing to bet he had full access to his dam's grain and never had milk replacer. As ISE said, foals less than 3 months of age can't digest grain - it ferments in the hindgut and leads to indigestion. Cribbing is a way to relieve that pain. Foals should never be allowed to eat Mum's grain. He may have been cribbing for a while that you haven't noticed if this is true.
                                      Tranquility Farm - Proud breeder of Born in the USA Sport Horses, and Cob-sized Warmbloods
                                      Now apparently completely invisible!

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        I kept him from her grain as long as possible, hanging it high, until he was too tall. I have never fed him separately until about a month ago. I'd say he was between 2-3 months before he ever had any grain at all, and then it was mouthfuls she would allow him.
                                        He is the only foal, but turned out with two other mares as well as his mom. He's never really had to fight for hay as he eats from mom's pile.
                                        We're spending our money on horses and bourbon. The rest we're just wasting.
                                        www.dleestudio.com

                                        Comment

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