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Gelding eating droppings!!

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Trish

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My 6 yr old gelding started eating his and the stallion's poop.....
they get fed twice a day (Purina - Miniature and Pony feed + coastal/burmuda hay). Not sure why he started this nasty habit. What do you think is missing in his diet? Or is he doing it out of boredom?

The gelding and stallion share a drylot with a 3 sided shelter which is divided in half to give each their own space when eating.
See the picture, the dry lot is behind them.

Any Ideas or suggestions are welcome.

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Carolyn R

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It is a very natural way for them to try to replenish the bacteria in their gut. You can try to give something like fast track or probios, both forms of probiotics.
 

Minimor

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It can also indicate a mineral deficiency -- or it can be the horse is hungry. Do they clean up their hay early so that there is a long spell without any hat until the next feed?
 

Trish

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Yes, they eat every bit. I feed them each morning around 7:15am before work and 5:15pm when I get home from work. On the weekends we let them in the yard to graze, but during the week they stay in the drylot.
 

CZP1

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I had that problem with my gelding last year. He was on a bagged low starch hay and a quality grain. Baffled, I changed to a baled timothy/orchard mix and started using a slowfeed hay net. So far it has worked.
 

Marsha Cassada

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I second the slow feeder hay bag. If he's bored it will help. If he's hungry, it will take him longer to finish his portion. Do you have a mineral salt block available?
 

Marty

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My horses began to act and look like they were starving on that mini food and I do think its lacking in a lot of ways and one way is that they began to eat dirt.. I'd change it.

I'd also increase the hay and give them a couple rounds of probios. Should help everything.
 

MyMiniGal

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Halo did this once in awhile...was told they do it for several reasons. I've upped her feed portion and have added probiotics, and a bit more hay and I haven't seen her do it since. I feed the Mini Horse and Pony feed, with a balancer vitamin supplement, as with that feed I can feed her more and have her not be so hungry but without added calories and such. She had been in a sweet feed before that and I felt I couldn't add more if it.
 

amysue

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Lots of horses do this for several different reasons. Foals tend to do it to introduce bacteria into their gut. Horses will do this if they have a mineral deficiency. Some horses will do this out of boredom/ starvation. I would try giving your horse a mineral block or adding free choice mineral to his diet. Many older books on horse keeping suggest a salt deficiency and recommend adding a bit of table salt to the ration. If you consult a vet they may be able to help guide you. If you add pro biotics to the ration, you also may want to add pre biotics to ensure their effectiveness in the hind gut. Good Luck.
 

Trish

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Thanks for the ideas and suggestions. He is not starving, that's for sure he has started putting on a bit of weight. They each have a salt block in their shelters and we go thru them often. I did toss some hay out to them at lunch. ( I work close enought to come home daily for lunch). I forgot to mention I pick their droppings each morning after I feed them and in the evenings as well. That's how I can see how much they have deposited and monitor if there seems to be a problem.

At first I thought the birds were coming in and eating the droppings, cause I watched a black bird come down, pick one up and fly off.


I will look at adding probiotics to the feed to see if that will help.
 

jandjmc

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He might be doing it because his digestive system is off. It could be to replenish gut bacteria, boredom, hunger or possibly pain. That is a very long time for your horse to go between feedings, his stomach may hurt from his stomach acid building up with nothing to digest. If your home at lunch anyway, why not try dividing the daily ration into 3 feedings rather than 2? Also, I've had great luck with the slow feeders.
 

HGFarm

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Sounds like he is missing something and maybe not getting enough protein? Try half alfalfa and less feed and see if that doesnt help and also get rid of some of the 'hay belly'?
 

Trish

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They get fed a cup each of feed am and pm, plus hay. I have started tossing them more hay when I come home for lunch. I purchased some suppliments to add to the feed as well. I'm thinking he is bored. But I haven't caught him doing it in the last few days.

I'd rather not start them on alfalfa. I do purchase good quality hay. and the feed is suppose to be better quality being Purenia.
 

HGFarm

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Minis require more protein than their bigger counterparts. Many grass hays just dont have what Minis need without adding a lot of supplements and other feeds to try to make a good balance. Mine are on alfalfa- it seems to keep the weight well distributed throughout the body and over their backs without the big hay bellies. I have never tried the Mini/Pony feed but know others here that quit feeding it just due to their horses not doing that well on it. My youngsters also get the Equine Jr with their alfalfa hay.
 

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