As an experienced livestock owner, you may have encountered the perplexing behaviour of your horse nibbling on the wood shavings used for bedding. While it may leave you scratching your head, this peculiar habit is not uncommon among horses.
Wood shavings are commonly used for horse bedding due to their absorbency, cushioning properties and odor-trapping capability. However, some horses chew on these shavings, a habit that can cause their owners concern.
There are several reasons your horse might like to chew wood shavings. Let’s look at why some horses do this and how you can address it.
Reasons Horses Eat Wood Shavings
A few different factors can cause horses to develop unusual behaviours. They include:
- Dietary Imbalance: Horses are natural grazers with digestive systems designed for high-fiber diets. If they are not getting sufficient roughage or their diet lacks essential nutrients, they may start chewing on wood shavings out of boredom or to fulfill their grazing instincts.
- Pica: Like other animals, horses can develop pica, a condition where they consume non-food items. This behaviour may arise from nutritional deficiencies, stress or even learned behaviour. It’s essential to rule out any underlying health issues and address them accordingly.
- Stress or Boredom: Horses are intelligent and social creatures that require mental and physical stimulation. Confinement to their stalls without sufficient exercise or companionship can lead to destructive behaviours like chewing on wood shavings.
To tackle this issue and ensure your horse’s well-being, consider the following steps:
- Evaluate Your Horse’s Diet: Consult a veterinarian or equine nutritionist to review their diet and ensure it meets their nutritional requirements. Providing ample forage, such as hay or pasture, can help fulfill natural grazing needs.
- Enrich Their Environment: Provide your horse with regular turnout, access to pasture, and social interaction with other horses whenever possible. Incorporate toys, treat balls or puzzle feeders to keep them mentally stimulated and engaged.
- Provide High-Quality Bedding: When selecting wood shavings for bedding, choose a reputable supplier like Klassen Wood Co. for high-quality shavings. Our products undergo rigorous processing, ensuring they are free from harmful chemicals or toxins that could pose a risk to your horse.
Premium Wood Shavings in Canada
Whether your horse is eating wood shavings due to a dietary deficiency or out of boredom, we know their well-being is your number one priority. Consult a vet to ensure that there are no underlying health issues, and use Klassen wood shavings for their bedding.