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CZP1

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My 12 year old gelding has just started eating his feces. I noticed this the other day while watching him while I was cutting the grass. Observing him and looking "awh it can't be" "He is doing it. Eating his poop!


So checked with my information guy "google" and come to find out that 1. He is a foal and needs nutrition (not). Needs more excersise. 3. Some sort of vitamin deficiancy 4. He is bored. I am banking on bored!


I need some suggestions on what to do? Going to buy a stall ball that gives out treats as he rolls it around. Start to work him more. Check with the vet and see what they may think. He just started this and has been pastured by himself for the past 4 years with no problems.

Befuttled in Nort Cacalakey!!
 
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targetsmom

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HA - I was going to say about the same thing you found on Google. In my experience most or all horses eat feces. It MIGHT mean any of the above, or it might mean nothing. I think you have the right ideas about boredom and trying to fix that. Of course, it COULD mean there is something lacking in his diet, but his diet might be just fine.
 

CZP1

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He gets a timothy/orchard mix hay (excellent quality $11.99 bail), a low starch grain, Aniflex-GL for joints. Access to a mineral block, wormed on schedule. He is by himself as we only have one horse. Can see and "talk" with other horses that are about 15 ft away from his turnout area. He is worked at least 2x a week but with it being so hot and humid we have only worked lightly. We go for walks daily and he likes his people time too!
 

maggiemae

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Not sure I can help you with what's going on - but my 12yo gelding did this a little while when I first got him. I put him on LBC paste for a couple of weeks and started giving him Lilly of the Dessert stomach soother and he quit. I also feed mine with a slow mesh hay net so that they have hay 24/7 so I'm not sure which one actually helped him. If it was relief from boredom caused by having access to very little hay all the time to pick at or if he wasn't quite digesting his food well enough or if the stomach soother worked. Or,.... maybe he's still doing it at night when I'm not looking.
 

maggiemae

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Not sure I can help you with what's going on - but my 12yo gelding did this a little while when I first got him. I put him on LBC paste for a couple of weeks and started giving him Lilly of the Dessert stomach soother and he quit. I also feed mine with a slow mesh hay net so that they have hay 24/7 so I'm not sure which one actually helped him. If it was relief from boredom caused by having access to very little hay all the time to pick at or if he wasn't quite digesting his food well enough or if the stomach soother worked. Or,.... maybe he's still doing it at night when I'm not looking.
 

HGFarm

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What does his diet consist of? Usually horses being fed pellets or not getting enough fiber, etc... do this. Does he have a couple of salt blocks? A plain and a mineral?
 

Reignmaker Miniatures

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I would bet on boredom and the fact that minis usually can't graze at will. Horses were meant to be eating a bit all the time and our minis spend a large portion of their days with no food so to stave of 'starvation' and put something in their stomach they will resort to eating droppings. While gross to us, it is something most foals do to help the stomach flora thrive and as far as I've ever heard it is harmless except for re-infesting themselves with parasites constantly ( of course that is far less of a problem with a horse who is on a good worming schedule) What works for me and my horses (and will no doubt shock some) is small blocks of birch and poplar(aspen) with the bark on. They prefer the smaller diameter wood (younger wood) up to about 6" but will gnaw on the bark of almost any size/age if thats all they have. It gives them something to do and saves my fences and barns to from them beavering them too. Along with that I offer free choice minerals for a time along with the salt that they always have and their regular diet (timothy mix hay/grass and a ration balancer) It seems to do the trick for us.
 

chandab

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What works for me and my horses (and will no doubt shock some) is small blocks of birch and poplar(aspen) with the bark on. They prefer the smaller diameter wood (younger wood) up to about 6" but will gnaw on the bark of almost any size/age if thats all they have. It gives them something to do and saves my fences and barns to from them beavering them too.
I have a paper birch tree that needs trimming, that might give them something to do when they get bored.
 

JMS Miniatures

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It sounds like he is getting what he needs. Since he is by himself it does sound like it could be boredom. I would look into getting a slow feeder hay net that way it would give him several more hours to eat hay, and I would also introduce him to some toys.
 

mshasta88

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I started reading this and immediately though back to one of my pre vet classes. I remember horses being classified has hind gut fermenters which means that these organisms have to go through a process called Caecotrophy and therefore pass unused nutrients. By eating their feces, the lost nutrients can be better digested the second time around.

I’m not a vet yet and I’m no expert but this might be what’s going on.

Maybe you should look at what he is eating the first time around to see if you can supplement him with missing nutrients, or you could just be ok with him eating poop. All of mine do it, even my horses that get used almost every day.
 

Reignmaker Miniatures

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I have a paper birch tree that needs trimming, that might give them something to do when they get bored.
Mine prefer birch when I can offer it. Its sweeter (in fact the sap can be made into syrup like maple but is not as sweet) but mine will eat the bark off any deciduous tree including willow if they get the opportunity. I have to say tho not all horses will do it. My BIL and SILs horses have shown no inclination to chew the poplar blocks they've been given at all. I suggested they try birch first and once they are confirmed tree munchers then try others. Of course one would sure want to make sure that the tree was non toxic and that they were kept from chewing trees that you don't want to see stripped of their bark.
 

jandjmc

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I have a 26 year old mare that I notice does this periodically. I've noticed it seems to related to: times I've cut back hay (she is an air fern and gets quite plump), times she seems to be bored and times she has stomach discomfort. Management strategies I've used : using a slow feeder to feed hay; feed more frequently, turn out with other horses and giving a probiotic paste. Combined these strategies have worked well. She also likes limbs trimmed from trees to snack on.
 

CZP1

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Lots of good suggestions. He gets TCLite pellets, Safe Starch Hay (Triple Crown chopped hay) night time feed, when he is outside gets the same as evening feed but I add some straight baled hay (1/4) flake Timothy/Orchard mixed. He has a mineral lick outside and one inside his stall. He has a jolly ball he could care less about. He is also on a dry lot as he is an air fern also. I did buy a "Likit" toy think for his stall and he bit it so hard w/his teeth and took a chunk out. He had teeth done in the spring.

I think the slowfeeder will be the ticket here. Any suggestions on what brand to buy? I did a Lil Beginnings search on the topic also, so have some ideas. I might put some big rocks in his feed bucket too to slow the grain eating down too.
 

Marty

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He wants a friend. Get him a friend. Another boy mini. Problem solved. (wink)
 

minimomNC

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Now Chris, are you sure your not looking for a great reason to add another horse? LOL Cause if you are just call me, I can fix you up. Seriously, I do think its probably boredom if he has just started this habit. You have had him for years, always feed him good and he starts this now. Yep he needs a friend.
 

jandjmc

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I don't mean to gang up on you but the best solution is 1 to a dozen additional minis as friends........... (He, he, heh, he, sorry, couldn't resist). The Nibble net has worked well for me, It is very well made and relatively easy to use. It holds up better than the small holed, hay nets. Best of luck
 

Reignmaker Miniatures

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I also feed with slow feed nets and believe it might help if he had company. But... I have to say my horses live in a group (no one is alone now that I sold the last stallion) and I still have a couple that occasionally start this so adding horses isn't a sure cure (of course if you want to add I would be the last one to discourage that and I'm sure your guy would love a friend or 2 ;) )
 

CZP1

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Hey Karen! Wish I could add another one! I will call you when I can. I am going to get one of the slowfeeder nets.
 

Marty

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Ok here's another take on the subject:

My QH gelding has lived alone in his own field all his life because he is very dangerous around other horses; so he is treated as a stallion. He loves to be fence friends with the minis and enjoys them that way, but when they go over the hill and he can't see them, he has a fit. He does get very bored and will stand by the fence and just stare and actually that's sad to watch. That's where I come in. I give him ME. Even if its just a hoof cleaning or a bag of carrots or a complete grooming regimine, he appreciates everything I do for him no matter how large or small it is. It gives him something to look forward to other than just being turned out for the day to wander around and graze. Maybe your guy wants more attention from you? Try changing his schedule around or take him for walks and mix his day up for a while and see what happens. I think horses get depressed more than we realize. Good luck.
 

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