Items

Forums
Barn Beavers
 By Winniefield Park   •   7th Mar 2016   •   1,387 views   •   0 comments


If youíve ever admired the decorative scallops in wooden fences and stall partitions, or noticed cleverly de-barked rings around trees in a pasture, youíll be witnessing the work of barn beavers. A barn beaver isnít a huge rodent with large front teeth and a flat tail that swim in ponds, but rather a horse, that for one reason or another decides to chew any wooden object it comes across, from hedges to fences. In veterinary medicine, this is called lignophagia.

Barn beavers can be a hazard to themselves, the property they live on and other horses. The reasons barn beavers exist boil down to three basic issues: nutritional deficiencies, stress, and habit.

Horses are programmed to spend a lot of time chewing. An average horse spends over half of its life eating. Its small stomach must receive relatively small amounts of food over long periods of time for its digestive system to function well. Deprived of the chance to satisfy the need to graze and chew grass or other suitable fodder, a horse will turn to other things, like its stall door, or the nearest tree. Horses that are kept in small spaces like a stall or paddock, and not provided with adequate fodder and exercise are most prone to becoming barn beavers.

Related Cribbing - Annoying, Destructive, and Dangerous [Video]

Sometimes, there is plenty of food available, but it is lacking in some sort of nutrient. When this happens horses can develop something called pica or geophagia, and start sampling all sorts of things to satisfy the nutritional deficiency. In addition to wood, horses may lick soil, chew or lick wood, tack or gear such as blankets, eat manure (coprophagia) or chew any other surface or item it comes across. Fences and trees may seem like a natural source to turn to for the nutrients the horse needs.

Once a horse becomes a barn beaver, the habit can be hard to break even if the original reason they started is long past. They may also learn the habit from other horses.

Barn beavers can cause a lot of damage - damage that can effect other horses who are contained behind weakened fences and splintered stall boards. And in addition to the property damage that can result when barn beavers go to work, the behavior can have dire consequences for the horse. If a horse ingests enough wood chips colic can occur. Splinters can cause problems if they become embedded in the horseís mouth and digestive system. And, there is a chance a horse could sample a type of wood that is toxic, although anyone who manages a stable should already be aware of any toxic trees and make sure they are not within reach of a curious or hungry horse.

So, if you see that your horse is showing signs of becoming a barn beaver, what should you do? First of all, make sure your horse, if at all possible, gets lots of turnout time. Lots of small meals of hay is better than one big one that is eaten quickly, leaving the horse wondering what to do next. Ideally, we should try to accommodate a horseís need for all day grazing and movement. Horses need a source of salt, either mixed into their feed, or provided free choice. Water too is important so your horse can digest all it eats properly. Any nutritional deficiencies can easily be discovered with a blood sample. This saves over or under-supplementing and possibly creating other imbalances.

As a last resort, for a habitual chewer, there are bitter sprays and potions you can smear on fences and other surfaces. But, the best solution is to find the root cause. Even small changes to your horseís routine or nutrition can make barn beavers disappear for good.
Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  Winniefield Park
 More News by Winniefield Park
Gaza Riders Back in the Saddle After COVID Lockdown
11th Jul 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
The COVID19 lockdown meant many of us werenít able to ride, or were not able to ride as we normally would. Like many organizations around the world, the Palestine Equestrian Federation placed restrictions on the types of activitie ...
Kentucky Derby Horse Drugging Probe Ongoing
10th Jul 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Bob Baffert, trainer of five Kentucky Derby winning horses is going for a sixth win. But, his efforts are shadowed by reports of horses in his care are again testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. Details are sparse as ...
RavenSide Stud TBS Home of Multiple Top Ranked Horses
5th Jul 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
RSS Break Even and RSS Identity Thief are both top ranked horses belonging to the same stables. RavenSide Stud TBS was established in 2017 and is ranked at 113 with 49,459,023 PB in earnings. Currently, there are three stallions s ...
Horse Dismounts Police in Protest Turned Ugly
4th Jul 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
During a peaceful protest that turned ugly in London, UK a police horse bolted after being pelted with debris by violent demonstrators. Flares, bottles and sticks flew as the crowd was pushed back by mounted police officers. One o ...
Horse That Survived Kentucky Horse Shooting Foals Healthy Pinto
3rd Jul 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
You might remember a story from early last winter about twenty horses in Eastern Kentucky that were shot and killed. The few survivors were taken to Kentucky Humane Societyís Willow Hope Farm to regain their health and eventually ...
Stop Petting Wild Horses
29th Jun 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Beach-goers to the Outer Banks are being asked to stay clear of the wild horses that live there after a photo of a woman appearing to pat a wild horse has surfaced. This is not an isolated incident as tourists visit the well known ...
Funny Horse Fruit Taste Test
28th Jun 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Some horses eat anything and will eat everything from anchovies to zucchini. And some are extremely picky and act like youíve poisoned them if you put anything but hay and grain in front of their noses. Have you ever tried a taste ...
Jim Gaffigan Horse Comedy
27th Jun 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Jim Gaffigan pokes fun at the Triple Crown, from the costumes and pageantry, to owners, jockeys and trainers. He then takes a humorous trek through the horse world, exploring horse breeds, horse people, horseshoes, riding and the ...
  View All News by Winniefield Park
 
©2002 - 2020   PonyBox LLC Create Account Advertise Terms Privacy Contact Us
150 Members Online 267,506 Registered Members 2,737 News Articles 11,631,255 Unique News Article Views 276,734,486 Website Views