Four years ago we had a problem with Moonshine cribbing. Her bad habit was destroying the wood on her stall doors so I got an idea to cover the wood. This worked initially (see part 2) but eventually a tear developed in the thin aluminum and I worried about her cutting her tongue or face on the sharp metal. Other than that, the concept worked. To improve on the aluminum design, I needed something that would cover the affected area and hold up to a horse frequently licking it and occasionally biting it. While scanning the fabrication aisle at Home Depot, I came across a section of thicker, angled aluminum wide enough to cover the inside top of the stall door. I removed the old, thin aluminum section, clamped the new angled piece in place and drilled holes every foot. I then screwed the new section in place and made sure all edges were smooth. I’m a little behind on posting about this but the benefit of that is that I now know if this solution works. I’m happy to report that after a year of Moonshine licking and biting that stall door the new section is still in place, there are no sharp pieces or tears and Moonshine hasn’t suffered any injury. Total investment was about $8 and a half-hour of time. Now that winter has returned and the horses are spending more time in the barn, I plan on adding this protection bar on the other stall door (each outside stall has two doors) and even though our other horses aren’t big wood chewers, I’d like the whole barn to match. The horses that occupied the barn before we moved here wore the stall door tops down so I’ll need to replace those but hopefully this will be the last time.
If you let it go, horses who chew wood can do a lot of damage. Here are a few pictures I took at a historic barn at the Biltmore Estate near Asheville, North Carolina showing extensive damage to a stall door top and on the walls.
Do you have a wood chewer/cribber? What works for you?
About 6 months ago I posted a note discussing the wood-chewing habits of my dear Moonshine (Protecting Wooden Stall Doors – Part 1). We thought she was bored while in her stall overnight figuring that would explain why she like munching on her main stall door. So in November I went about fabricating an aluminum door cover to make it harder for her to destroy the door with her teeth. I was initially concerned she might bite through the aluminum, causing sharp edges that might cut her tongue or mouth. Six months later, that still hasn’t happened. The aluminum trim is pretty attractive still and hasn’t been damaged by my horse at all. Although at first she liked to lick it after eating her oats, she doesn’t seem to do that anymore. In fact, she doesn’t seem to chew on wood anymore. I mentioned this recently in the post titled Wood chewing habit update. It seems that since we changed to a different feed – Purina Strategy – Moonshine stopped chewing wood. From what people have been telling me, it seems like the feed store sweet oats we had been feeding her were lacking something she wanted/needed. Strategy provides it. Prior to Strategy we tried Purina Omolene 100 and that seemed to work, too.
I don’t plan on removing the aluminum shield I made but at this point I don’t think I’ll be making one for the other door. If you have a chewer and changing feed doesn’t work for you, in addition to trying some horse stall toys, a stall door cover/shield might help protect your barn and your horse until you have the problem licked.
As I’ve mentioned before, Moonshine has a wood-chewing habit. She’ll nibble on our fence, especially after a meal or a snack and then she’d latch on and suck in air. Weird. One theory on why she was doing this was that maybe she was bored. Our horses spend several hours a day in a stall in the barn, after all. So we got her some horse toys, which she entirely ignored. We cut down on how much time she was in the barn and nothing changed. Eventually I had to protect her stall door with some stainless steel just to keep her from chewing on it. That worked really well (I’ll post an update about that soon) but she was still chewing on our wood fence. Another reason horses chew wood is because they’re lacking in minerals. Some horses will even eat dirt, though I haven’t ever seen her doing that. But I think we may have found the cause for Moonshine’s bad habit. For about a month now we’ve been feeding our horses Purina Strategy. For about $12 per 50 pound bag, it’s more expensive than the local feed store’s sweet oat blend but we had a coupon from the last Purina Horse Owner’s Workshop and decided to give it a try. Purina doesn’t pay us anything (we’re not connected with them in any way) so this is our honest observation. Since we started Moonshine on Strategy, I haven’t noticed her chewing wood. She’ll still lick it some but I don’t see her chewing or sucking air anymore. Purina claims Strategy provides all the necessary nutrients pleasure horses need and maybe our local feed store’s blend was missing some things. There have been some other benefits but I’ll cover those in another post.
I’ll keep an eye on her but at the moment, it seems we’ve mostly licked (haha!) this bad horse habit. If your horse has a similar habit, I suggest trying some changes to its feed mix to make sure it’s consuming a good blend of minerals.
Moonshine is a wood chewer. I think she gets bored and enjoys chewing. I often see her licking the stall doors, the fence, and even the steel gates and every once in a while she seems to take a little nibble. She has plenty of salt licks and we’re working on getting her some horse toys to give her tongue something to do when she’s in the barn (I’ll post about that soon) but for now I needed to protect the wooden doors in her stall. Not only is she slowly destroying them, I’m also afraid she might ingest some wood or at the very least get a splinter in her tongue. There are some products out there to help with this problem such as bitter tasting liquids and steel door coverings. But I had an idea about making a stainless steel or aluminum cover myself for the top piece of wood she’s working on the most. So for part one of this experiment, today I spent a few hours shaping aluminum flashing and securing it to one of her doors to see if it helps. If it works I’ll do a more detailed write-up. I did some preliminary testing to make sure the flashing wasn’t easily torn or cut and made sure to smooth edges and corners and secure all edges.