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Horses Stripping Bark Off Trees

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#1 ohNine


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Posted 25 September 2009 - 06:04 PM

I'm working on getting my mom to let me fence a little more for my horse, Rev, because what he has right now just isn't enough. The problem is, most of our land is quite thickly wooded, the rest that is not(about 1.5 acres out of the 12 that we have) is our yard. So! I'm planning on fencing at least an acre on which he can hopefully be in most of the time. But like I said, it's heavily wooded and my mom loves her trees. I can clear come underbrush, but no trees are coming down. Mom plans on selling the house eventually and she says the woods around us would be a big selling point, so no trees can go, and she doesn't want them damaged.
She is worried that if I fence this area behind our house Rev will strip the bark off of the trees like she's seen some horses do. I plan on him having hay 24/7 being fed with a slow feeder, but is there anything else I can do to prevent him from chewing off the tree bark?
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#2 ExtraHannah


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Posted 25 September 2009 - 06:10 PM

I've heard of people having that issue as well, but I've never had it with mine. The only tree damage my horses have ever caused is that they will find a small, live, sapling, push it over and use it as a belly scratcher. crazy.gif

I really think that if you provide 24/7 forage, you are unlikely to have a problem. I think it tends to be a boredom issue with horses that scarf up their hay in an hour or happen with horses that get lots of grain and not enough hay.

But then, I certainly could be wrong. There may be some horses that would rather eat bark than hay, but I have trouble picturing it. Maybe if they are missing something else in their diet? With a well rounded diet and plenty of hay, you really shouldn't have an issue. That's just been my experience over the years.

Edited by ExtraHannah, 25 September 2009 - 06:29 PM.

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#3 mtn_penny


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Posted 25 September 2009 - 06:17 PM

kinda depends on why they are chewing the bark. Could be a mineral issue or a boredom issue...

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#4 SpiffyGrl


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Posted 25 September 2009 - 06:21 PM

Yeah. What she ^^ said. Mine do it if they are either bored or are missing minerals. If you're worried about it make sure the horse has plenty to do/eat and get him a mineral block or tub.
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#5 mehpenn


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Posted 25 September 2009 - 06:59 PM

Mine are bark chewers....

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#6 manesntails


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Posted 25 September 2009 - 07:17 PM

My place has lots of trees but no bark chewing going on.

Mine get Sho-glo and a mineral block and don't bother the trees.

You need to thin out the small trees anyhow so the big ones have all the ground they need to stay strong.

The only damage, if you want to call it that, is an occasional place on a wither-high limb where the bark is rubbed smooth from my Hafie itching on it. But no bark is ever chewed or removed completely.

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#7 jackie2925


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Posted 25 September 2009 - 08:42 PM

Our new horse Dottie does it. Have no idea why. She was on about 2 acres with just a couple tree and this is what she did. We have since moved her and the others to the bigger pasture. About 12 acres with plenty of grass and I have found evidence of her bark chewing...

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#8 Margoddess


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Posted 25 September 2009 - 09:48 PM

Deer will chew the bark off of the trees also if forage is inadequate. There is the wrap the base with chicken wire method-In Ky. they will put a fence around a few trees to keep the horses from chewing the bark.

Most horses will not chew trees if they have adequate forage, My old mare will eat oak trees-don't know why-She'll even eat a few oak leaves with a round bale in the pasture...may be it is the minerals.
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#9 HoofsinMotion


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Posted 25 September 2009 - 10:40 PM

None of mine do it, but if I cut limbs down and throw in my burn pile they run right to it and eat every leaf off them, no matter what kind of leaves they are.

Mine have woods between their barn and the top pasture, so they have tons of different kinds they walk through.

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#10 honeygall236



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Posted 25 September 2009 - 10:51 PM

i doubt you will have problems with bark chewing if you hay them 24/7, only reason why mine do it, is because they only get hay in morning and night, so they get bored. Or like stated above, it could be loss of minerals. I dont know of any methods to stop it though, mine ate every tree in our pasture:P
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#11 Willy McCoy

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 01:32 AM

A friend of ours has horses that eat the bark off of her trees. Hers get feed and not much hay. I figured they were getting some fiber.

#12 Alaskandraft


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Posted 26 September 2009 - 02:38 AM

It ll depends on the trees I think. Mine will strip the bark off the birches and lick the bare trunks. Its sap is sweet and its like candy. They also eat the tender young branches of Alders..Question is , what type of trees do you have in your area you are planning to fence???

Onther thing you have to remember you live in Minnesota..Cold country. Just from the horse walking around on the roots will drive the frost down and damage the roots. The trees die from that . We have all of our birches we had in the horse area gone and cut down since they died. The Spruces are doing ok, but we have to continually make sure that the manure is piled near the trees to protect their root system. The roots here are real shallow no matter what the type of tree with little tap roots....




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