Wood chewing — bad habit #3

by horselover2


Chewing can often be one of the most destructive habits.  When a horse chews, the barn ends up looking like it is not used for housing horses. Instead, the barn looks like it is used for housing giant termites.

This is especially true if the horse is housed in a barn where the stalls are made of wood.  Horses will literally chew through a board if given an adequate amount of time.  By chewing, a horse can damage its teeth, cause harm to the lungs by inhaling wood chips, cause intestinal damage from the splintering wood, or acquire infections in its mouth.   In addition, chewing can make the barn look terrible and can become costly when the stall boards have to constantly be replaced. 

Whether the horse is chewing due to boredom or a nutritional deficiency, there are a couple of ways that an owner can prevent their horse from chewing.  Although preventing a horse from chewing can cost a bit of money, but in the long run, it will cost much less than having to continuously rebuild the barn. 

Tips to prevent chewing:

* Supplement the horse’s feed with Quitt, Nix-It or another “No- Chew” supplement.  Many of these supplements come with a guarantee that they will work.

*  Provide the horse with salt licks, a stall buddy, or stall toys. 

*  If possible, allow the horse more turn-out or pasture time. Exercise can break the boredom.  Grazing is a natural behavior for a horse.  If the horse is not able to graze, they may turn to chewing instead.

*  Provide the horse with adequate forage such as costal, jigs, timothy, or alfalfa hay.

*  Paint the horse’s stall with a chew deterrent such as No-Chew or Chew Stop. This will often have to be used with an additional prevention because the substance will wear off and a determined horse will continue chewing once the foul taste is gone. 

*  Wrap the stall boards with a mesh wire, cover the top of the boards with metal sheeting, or cover the boards with vinyl sheeting. Vinyl material will not work; many horses will rip it off and continue chewing.

*   If none of the above options will work, the horse may have to be muzzled.  The muzzle will allow the horse to eat or drink, but will not allow chewing. 

Although more than one of the previously mentioned deterrents may have to be used to stop the chewing completely, it can be done.