Cribbing, Wood Chewing & Windsucking

Windsucking / Cribbing

Definition: is a compulsive behavior or "stable vice" seen in some horses. It involves the horse grabbing a solid object, such as the stall door or fence rail, with its incisors, arching its neck, pulling against the object, and sucking in air.

Causes

  • Boredom
  • Research is indicating the cause may be due to acidity build up in the horses stomach. Due to feed concentrates

Stomach Acidity

Horses naturally graze for ~16 hours per day. Constant grazing keeps stomach acidity balanced.

Saliva also helps regulate acidity - but saliva is only produced when chewing.

Solutions

A multifaceted approach should be taken -  Cause, and discouraging the behaviour.

  • Ensure adequate daily paddock exercise
  • Avoid constant stabling or yarding.
  • Provide unlimited hay - Ensure it doesnt run out. The horse will self regulate intake after a few days.
  • Social interaction or stable toys.
  • Behaviour - Treat stables and fences with CribX

 

Wood Chewing

Does not involve sucking in air; the horse simply gnaws on wood rails or boards as if they were food

Causes

  • Boredom
  • Possibly deficient in copper or lime

Solutions

  • Ensure constant access to hay.
  • Addition of copper to their diet - Place a piece of copper pipe in the water trough, or Mineral Salt licks.* Check with your vet first.
  • Behaviour - Treat stables or other wood areas with CribX

 

For further information refer to: Why do horses eat dirt, wood, and other indigestible things?