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Why Oh Why Do Horses Eat Their Poop?


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#1 soquile1

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 03:21 PM

My colt eats his poop. There I said it. You hardly have to clean his pen as he is a recycler to the end. I think he is keeping up with the times and going "green"! He get fed grass hay 2x a day, a scoop of grain 2x a day and vitamin supplements. He is by no way starving and he has toys to play with when he gets bored. Any reason why he does this? He will not only do this in his pen but when turned out he will eat what others have left behind.

#2 manesntails

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 03:28 PM

I'll bet if he has free choice hay it will stop. As long as you're worming every 6-8 weeks he's probably doing it because his stomach's telling him to eat and put something in there. And boredom.

Horse's stomachs are small for their size. Small stomach but lots of intestine. They naturally graze 18-20 hrs. a day. I'd be cutting his feed back and giving him more hay to keep something other than poop in his belly.








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#3 spotz58

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 03:34 PM

Our senior stallion does that. It's rare to find a whole "apple" anywhere in his reach. Most foals outgrow this, but I think some form a strong habit. Supposedly foals eat their dam's poop to get gut bacteria, which seems quite logical to me. But why don't they stop; why eat their own? Lack of fiber is a suspect, as is lack of gut bacteria, and lack of minerals. I don't think anything has been PROVEN to be the cause, though. We have spent a bundle with the vet trying to find out why our guy does this, to no avail. He gets lots of a variety of hays daily, beet pulp, oats, and Gro-Strong block, and our vet is sure there is nothing missing. All test results are normal. There is a product on the market (sorry, can't recall the name) that is supposed to stop them, but it didn't work for us.

#4 jnr_equine89

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 03:42 PM

QUOTE (spotz58 @ Nov 20 2008, 12:34 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Lack of fiber is a suspect, as is lack of gut bacteria, and lack of minerals. I don't think anything has been PROVEN to be the cause, though. We have spent a bundle with the vet trying to find out why our guy does this, to no avail. He gets lots of a variety of hays daily, beet pulp, oats, and Gro-Strong block, and our vet is sure there is nothing missing. All test results are normal. There is a product on the market (sorry, can't recall the name) that is supposed to stop them, but it didn't work for us.



that's what i thought .. cos my dogs are always in the horses pen .. DOGGY SMORGASBORD!! We sold a mare that was in the pen next to my gelding.. we put him in that old one.. and he started eating the poo that was left in it.. he won't eat his own.. but if it's someone elses.. there he goes eatin-away.. ahahah.. vet suggested we put him on beet pulp.. and he knocked it off.. but sometimes he gets a wild hair up his butt and goes straight for her old poo in the pasture. i think he might miss her.. aha

Edited by jnr_equine89, 20 November 2008 - 03:43 PM.


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#5 Rockinrider

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 03:45 PM

Is he alone in the pasture/paddock? Very often horses will eat their poop when an intestinal bacterial unbalance is present. It can even stop colic. Wormers can cause such an unbalance to happen. Is he alone in the pasture/paddock? If he was with other horses and he did have an unbalance normally he would more than likely eat the poop of the other horse/horses and not his own. Try probiotics. It should help.

A little calf manna is a good extra for young horses.

Also, I would check your hay to make sure it is good. Often even good "looking" hay can be lacking nutrition.
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#6 ozland

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 03:50 PM

Yep, probiotics will almost ALWAYS stop that!

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#7 soquile1

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 04:04 PM

QUOTE (Rockinrider @ Nov 20 2008, 01:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Is he alone in the pasture/paddock? Very often horses will eat their poop when an intestinal bacterial unbalance is present. It can even stop colic. Wormers can cause such an unbalance to happen. Is he alone in the pasture/paddock? If he was with other horses and he did have an unbalance normally he would more than likely eat the poop of the other horse/horses and not his own. Try probiotics. It should help.

A little calf manna is a good extra for young horses.

Also, I would check your hay to make sure it is good. Often even good "looking" hay can be lacking nutrition.


He is in a stall by himself, but has horses on either side. Horse climb on the panels so he can't get to others poopoo by sticking his head through the fence.

QUOTE (ozland @ Nov 20 2008, 01:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yep, probiotics will almost ALWAYS stop that!


I will try that. Thanks!

#8 SpottedTApps

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 04:06 PM

QUOTE (ozland @ Nov 20 2008, 03:50 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Yep, probiotics will almost ALWAYS stop that!


unless it's Roy. Roy who is a mystery. Roy who has been on probiotics for 6 months now. Roy who has been pulled from all forms of alfalfa. Roy who has been on beet pulp. Roy who continues to be colicy at random times. Roy who continues to have the runs at random times. Roy who's fecal comes back clean. Roy who's bloodwork comes back normal. Roy who can't keep weight on to save his life. Roy who eats poop. poor Roy.
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#9 spotz58

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 08:09 PM

For our horse probiotics, prebiotics, yeast, free choice hay, beet pulp, and that product (Forbid) didn't slow him down a bit. He's a chubby bugger though, and never any digestive issues.

#10 sundayslady

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 10:28 AM

YES! This is wild, isn't it? I have a gelding who eats only my pony mare's poo and only right after she drops it when we are on a trail ride! I have had to get off my horse to attempt to drag him away while he gulps down the fresh, warm poo. The kid on him couldn't move him at all and I had a heck of a time getting his head out of it too! Happens every fall. very embarrassing, so I can relate. No idea why.. he's out on pasture, 24/7, plenty to eat, rather fat.
But there must be just something tastey in her hot poo!

Also, the dogs. I love telling people who bring their dogs out that they will go right for it. They always say, "Oh, not my sweet precious". then they are shocked when they hit the poop pile at full force grabbing a mouth full with total delight! :)) I love it. Thinking of selling horse poo at farmers markets, calling it "Tastey Turds" . :)))

#11 PineBarSissy

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 01:37 PM

I have always found that an increase in the amount of hay fed, stops it.
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#12 Zephyr'sMom

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 01:56 PM

Another vote for probiotics. Zephyr ate his own poop 2 winters ago and 1 dose of probios stopped it cold.

QUOTE (SpottedTApps @ Nov 20 2008, 04:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
unless it's Roy. Roy who is a mystery. Roy who has been on probiotics for 6 months now. Roy who has been pulled from all forms of alfalfa. Roy who has been on beet pulp. Roy who continues to be colicy at random times. Roy who continues to have the runs at random times. Roy who's fecal comes back clean. Roy who's bloodwork comes back normal. Roy who can't keep weight on to save his life. Roy who eats poop. poor Roy.


Try getting Roy scoped for ulcers... these are some classic symptoms. Or, if you want to save the $ for the test, just start treating him. You don't HAVE to pay the big $ for Gastrogard, there are a few new treatments that are cheaper... ask around in endurance/racing circles and you'll find out which ones work. I can't remember the one I heard worked, sorry.

#13 Saddle Up or Shut Up

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 02:42 PM

I learned about this last semester in my feed and rations class. This is called Copraphagy (sp?). Animals do this in order to put microbes back into their actuall stomach, since with horses, microbes are not usually found until the small intestine. These microbes allow for further food digestion and are neccesary to get the most out of what they are eating. Probiotics can help this, since that does put microbes into the stomach, I know somebody.. maybe stateline tack used to sell stuff to put in his feed that would make them stop. They say it has very little to do with boredom and more to do with lack of the neccesitys where they need them.
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