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Foals Eating Dirt

Equine-Reproduction.com Bulletin Board » Pregnant Mare and the Newborn Foal - Volume 1 » Foals Eating Dirt « Previous Next »


Author Message
 

Joanna
Breeding Stock
Username: Joanna

Post Number: 158
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Sunday, August 13, 2006 - 11:00 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

So, I have four foals this year, all of them just over three months old. It seems that they all really like the taste of dirt, because all of them will take bites right off the ground. And I am talking mouthfuls of dirt! It is really starting to concern me, as one foal in particular, Bella, has started coughing quite a lot. Bella will also eat pinecones. I am at a loss as to why these babies would be doing this. They are all nursing still, as I don't wean until four months. There is quality free choice grass hay, as well as fresh water and salt/mineral licks available at all times for the mares and the foals. Also, I feed an alfalfa based grain with complete vitamin and mineral supplements included every night.
Does anyone have any idea what could be causing this? I am really getting concerned, and would like some help.
Thanks
 

Kerri
Weanling
Username: Kerrit

Post Number: 25
Registered: 06-2006
Posted on Monday, August 14, 2006 - 09:11 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Joanna,

My foal is almost 2 months old, she also has a well balanced diet and free choice mineral block but I've witnessed her eating dirt as well. She nurses heartidly and eats a pretty good portion of grain plus I've also seen her licking the mineral block so I certainly don't think it's a mineral deficiency just like you. I don't have any idea why she would be doing this either, but she's very healthy and rambuctious so I haven't been too concerned. It's nice to know I'm not the only one with this "problem" though.
 

Kris Moos
Breeding Stock
Username: Kris

Post Number: 840
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Monday, August 14, 2006 - 10:16 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

i have the same problem, as well as him eating his moms fresh manure...YUCK! He is 4 months old...ANYONE HAVE ANY IDEAS WHY?!?!?!?!?!
 

Jos
Board Administrator
Username: Admin

Post Number: 986
Registered: 10-1999
Posted on Monday, August 14, 2006 - 10:27 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Eating fresh manure is an important part of a foals development, as it populates the gut with the bacteria that are necesary to break down the grass, hay and grain that it eats to a digestible product.

It may seem disgusting, but it's important - if you don't like seeing it... turn the other way!!! :-)
 

Joanna
Breeding Stock
Username: Joanna

Post Number: 159
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Monday, August 14, 2006 - 10:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Should I be concerned? I know that they are swallowing the dirt, and I have seen something about sand colic before. Could eating dirt cause the foals to colic? And does anyone know of anything I can give them to make the dirt pass?
Thanks
 

Michelle Lyons
Weanling
Username: Chelle

Post Number: 25
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Monday, August 14, 2006 - 11:51 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bran Bran will help the dirt pass through you can make it in a mash or just put some on their feed. They do not need alot just alittle and a mash is best
 

Kris Moos
Breeding Stock
Username: Kris

Post Number: 841
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - 11:09 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks JOS!!!! I wondered about that...so I will jsut allow it...is it also normal for a yearling to do it occasionally too for the same reason?
any ideas why full grown horse will eat dirt? the mare to the foal eats dirt, but only from one area! she has salt and mineral blocks and loose free choice at all times. Her thyroid is also enlarged? is she lacking something? (the vet is coming out tomarrow to do a thyroid test on it, it is bigger than a golf ball!!!)
 

Heather Cromwell
Neonate
Username: Paxo28

Post Number: 6
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Sunday, August 20, 2006 - 10:02 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Eating dirt is sometimes thought to be a sign of stomach ulcers possibly, we usualy give malox and Rinidine(sp?) for couple weeks if we see one doing this, we have one mare in particular that her foals do this everyyear and "theroy" is maybe super rich milk? They also tend to be obese babies and she looses alot of weight which makes me think it must be rich milk.

We did have one colic from the dirt and be sure to watch the stools of they are eating dirt. Talk to your vet about the preventive options till they tend to outgrow it.



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