Why Does My Horse Eat Poop? (Correct answer)

So why do horses eat poop? Horses are meant to eat – to graze – all day long every single day. Horses that are bored or hungry may try to satisfy these feelings by either eating their poop or cribbing on wood. Eating manure may also be a sign of a nutrient deficiency.

Why do horses sometimes eat their own poop?

  • Isolation: Studies have shown that dogs who are kept alone in kennels or basements are more likely to eat poop than those dogs who live close to their people.
  • Restrictive confinement: Spending too much time confined in a small space can cause the problem.
  • Anxiety: Often a result of a person using punishment or harsh methods during house training.

How do I get my horse to stop eating poop?

Since horses may eat manure because they need more long-stem roughage, owners can try to prevent the behavior by either keeping grass hay in front of their horses at all times or allowing them to graze on pasture.

Is it normal for a horse to eat poop?

Technically called coprophagy, eating manure is a normal, but transient, stage of a horse’s natural development. Foals will eat manure, usually fresh from their dam, from about 5 days old. The amount of manure eaten is quite small, and often follows the foal pawing the fresh manure.

How long does it take a horse to poop after eating?

It can take as little as 30 to 60 minutes for food to pass through the small intestine, as most digesta moves at a rate of approximately 30cm per minute.

What is horse EMND?

Equine motor neuron disease (EMND) typically occurs in older horses that have been vitamin E deficient for >18 months. EMND affects lower motor neurons, interfering with neurological input into muscles. Affected horses display muscle atrophy, weakness, and weight loss.

Why do horses sniff poop?

This is called a Flehman response and it’s believed that this helps concentrate the scent on the vomeronasal organ. All sexes do this, but it’s most commonly seen in stallions sniffing manure, possibly to process the reproductive status of a mare. Flehman comes from a German word, meaning to bear the upper teeth.

Why do horses poop in balls?

Horse manure should be a pile of roughly spherical shaped droppings. These are formed by the last portion of the large intestine squeezing the contents into ball-like shapes as it extracts water. If there is too much water and it is runny, this can indicate a health problem.

What is a good probiotic for horses?

Probios® Powder. Probios Powder is a probiotic supplement for horses and dogs that contains guaranteed levels of Lactobacillus plantarum, Enterococcus faecium, Lactobacillus casei, and Lactobacillus acidophilus. Probios is the world’s most widely recognized, researched, and used brand of DFM (direct-fed microbial).

How many droppings should a horse do in 24 hours?

The average horse passes manure anywhere from 4 to 12+ times a day.

Can a horse poop with colic?

These horses may distend in the belly, looking bigger and rounder than usual and they may or may not pass manure. However, be aware that a horse with severe and serious colic can still pass manure as the problem in the gut may be well forward of the rectum; the transit time from mouth to manure can be days.

How much does a horse poop per day?

On average, a horse produces 0.5 ounce of feces and 0.3 fluid ounce of urine per pound of body weight every day. A 1,000-pound horse produces about 31 pounds of feces and 2.4 gallons of urine daily, which totals around 51 pounds of total raw waste per day (Figure 1).

What causes vitamin E deficiency in horses?

If horses are only turned out in a poor pasture or subsist on a diet of mostly dried hay, however, they can become vitamin E deficient. After hay and grasses are cut any vitamin E in the plants will degrade, and older hay has less of this critical vitamin than freshly cut hay.

What causes EDM in horses?

Equine neuroaxonal dystrophy (eNAD) and equine degenerative myeloencephalopathy (EDM) result from abnormalities of specific neurons in the brainstem and spinal cord. Affected horses are often uncoordinated, display gait abnormalities, and are unsure where to place their feet.

How does vitamin E help horses?

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as an important antioxidant for horses. It helps maintain a healthy immune system and supports normal nerve and muscle function. Horses need vitamin E in their diet because they cannot synthesize it endogenously in their body.

4 Reasons Why Horses Eat Poop – And What You Can Do About It!

Excrement eating by animals (such as dogs and horses) is considered repulsive by humans, regardless of whether the poop is their own or another animal’s feces. Coprophagy (kopros comes from the Greek for excrement, and phagein comes from the Greek for eating) is not the same as pica, which is the act of eating dirt, twigs, sand, and other non-nutritional materials.


The dung from their mother’s (the mare’s) or their own is consumed by some foals from the time they are born until approximately the time they are 2 months old. Veterinarians might come up with a multitude of explanations for why this happens. Foals may be consuming dung to obtain “good bacteria” that will aid in their digestion; they may be ingesting parasite eggs to help their immune system develop; or they may just be experimenting with what they like and don’t like to eat at this time. According to some veterinarians, you should give a probiotic to your filly or colt’s diet to assist them in developing healthy bacteria.

Why They Are Eating It?

So, what is it about feces that horses find so appealing? Horses are designed to eat — to graze – throughout the day, every day of the year. Due to the fact that our horses are domesticated, we often confine them to stalls that enable them to roam around and lay down, but do not offer them with the huge outside space they require to wander about and graze freely. Horses that are bored or hungry may attempt to alleviate their boredom or hunger by eating their own feces or cribbing against wood.

How Do You Stop It?

So, what can you do to put a stop to this behavior? In the first instance, consult with an equine nutritionist or a veterinarian who specializes in this area to establish which nutrients, if any, are lacking in your horse’s diet (minerals, vitamins, proteins, or something else). By going through this procedure, you will be able to assess whether or not your horse’s present diet is enough or whether or not it requires adjustment. The age and activity level of your horse, as well as its current nutrition, will all be taken into consideration throughout this procedure.

  • It is important to note that, in addition to a diet of grass and hay, a horse’s diet must be supplemented with grain and the required nutritional supplements. Keep an eye on your horse’s worming routine to ensure proper care. Establish and maintain a timetable in collaboration with your veterinarian. Additionally, you should have an equine dentist examine and float your horse’s teeth at least once or twice a year. Floating entails using a rasp to file down the surfaces of the teeth, resulting in flat surfaces on the teeth. A thoroughly ground meal helps the horse to extract the maximum amount of nutrients from their diet. A dental examination will also establish whether your horse requires any teeth to be removed as a result of the examination. Maintain a mineral salt block in your horse’s stall at all times, as well as in the corral or pasture where they spend the most of their time. Salinity blocks are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they are created from several sorts of minerals. There are little salt blocks that can be hung in your horse’s stall and huge salt blocks that can be placed on the ground in the pasture or corral
  • Both are effective. Maintain the cleanliness of your horse’s stables, run-outs, corrals, arenas, and any other areas where he spends time. It is necessary to clean the stalls on a daily basis. Keeping muck buckets and pitchforks with tightly aligned tines on available at all times is also a good idea, especially in high-traffic areas like the grooming stall, adjacent stalls, and in a corner of the arena, corral, or pasture
  • Always make sure your horse has access to hay. Even just putting hay in a hay net immediately outside your horse’s stall door will aid in feeding and allow your horse to view what is going on in their immediate surroundings. Feed horses multiple times during the day, not just twice a day as is recommended by the manufacturer. For the sake of ensuring that horses have food in their digestive system at all times, it is preferable to feed them many times throughout the day. At all times, your horse must have access to fresh drinking water. It is critical to check your horse’s water supply multiple times a day to ensure that they have not pooped in their bucket, that the water is not muddy, that they have enough water, and that the water is not frozen
  • This is especially crucial in the winter. In order to keep your horse on a schedule, feed, train, and turn out at the same times each day. For the same reason that prisoners need to get out of jail, horses kept in stalls need to get out on pasture and receive lots of exercise. When your horse is confined in a stall for an extended period of time, he may display behaviors like as weaving (moving from side to side) or eating excrement as a consequence of the stress. Physical activity, outside grazing, and consuming a well-balanced diet are all proven to minimize coprophagy.


Once it has been confirmed that your horse’s diet is lacking in certain nutrients, common additions to his diet include multi-vitamin and/or mineral supplements, as well as fortified grain. The veterinarian may recommend that they include a probiotic in their diet to assist them in re-establishing a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in their digestive tract.

Overweight Horses

Attaching a “slow feeder” to a horse’s halter will help to alleviate the problem of overweight horses who consume excrement.

This enables them to consume food, but at a somewhat slower rate. If your horse is underweight or overweight, appears sluggish, or behaves in ways that are out of the ordinary for them, you should take them to a veterinarian for an examination.


Besides being gross, horse coprophagy is usually caused by something being absent from your horse’s diet, as well as stress or boredom on your horse’s part. If you are suffering from this condition, you should get treatment as soon as possible. The sooner you can put an end to your horse’s feces eating, the sooner they will be able to return to being a healthy member of your family. Check out our extensive selection of vitamins, salt blocks, muck buckets and pitchforks, and anything else you need to keep your horse happy and healthy!

9 reasons why horses eat manure – Simone Tuten – Dog and Horse Behaviour Consultant (was Positive Pets)

Horses consume excrement, do they? Disgusting? Abnormal? That is dependent on the situation. Eating dung is technically referred to as coprophagy, and it is a normal, if temporary, step of a horse’s natural growth. Foals will consume dung, which is normally fresh from their dam, from the time they are 5 days old. This behavior is usual until the foal reaches the age of three months, after which eating manure steadily decreases and eventually ceases at the age of nineteen weeks (Waring 2003; Crowell-Davis and Houpt 1985).

In one study, it was shown that foals consumed excrement once every 4.3 hours of observation time during the first two months of life (Crowell-Davis and Houpt 1985).

The amount of dung consumed is fairly little, and it frequently occurs as a result of the foal pawing at new manure.

Examine the reasons why a foal consumes dung, and then examine the reasons why an adult horse consumes manure as well (and what you can do about it).

Why do foals eat manure?

Manure is consumed by horses. Disgusting? Abnormal? Depends on the circumstance. Manure-eating behavior in horses is known scientifically as coprophagy. It is a normal, although fleeting, step of the horse’s developmental process. Starting at around 5 days of age, foals will consume excrement that is normally fresh from their dam. Once the foal reaches three months of age, consuming manure steadily decreases and eventually ceases by the time the foal reaches nineteen weeks of age (Waring 2003; Crowell-Davis and Houpt 1985).

After two months of age, one study discovered that foals consumed dung once per 4.3 hours of observation time (Crowell-Davis and Houpt 1985).

Because the foal paws at the new excrement, just a tiny amount is consumed by the foal each day.

Examine the reasons why a foal consumes dung, and then examine the reasons why an adult horse consumes manure, and so on (and what you can do about it).

2. Learning about safe plants to eat

A foal begins examining foliage by mouthing rather than eating plants from the time it is around one week old (exploratory grazing). Between the ages of 2 and 3 weeks, this behavior begins to diminish abruptly. In the period between 4 and 6 weeks of age, foals begin to exhibit adult-like grazing behavior by picking green vegetation rather than non-green vegetation (weeds) and beginning to avoid harmful plants (Marinier and Alexander 1995, McGreevy 2012, Waring 2003). It has been suggested that the beginning of selective grazing coincides with the onset of the coprophagy stage in the development of a foal (Marinier and Alexander 1995; McGreevy 2012, Mills 2010).

This sort of learning is unique in that it occurs directly through neural connections from the digestive tract to the brain, rather than through cognitive processes, which makes it particularly intriguing (McLean 2001).

3. Obtaining deoxycholic acid

It is thought that a pheromone found in a mare’s excrement promotes the foal to consume the waste material. According to research conducted on rats, it is suspected that the excrement contain deoxycholic acid (Crowell-Davis and Houpt 1985, Crowell-Davis 1986, Mills 2010). Deoxycholic acid helps to maintain digestive system immunity (by protecting against enteritis) and to promote myelination of the nervous system (which is necessary for neurological development). Deoxycholic acid is found in a variety of foods (Crowell-Davis and Houpt 1985, McGreevy 2012).

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Why do adult horses eat manure?

Manure consumption in horses (other than foals), while not uncommon, is regarded to be an aberrant behavior and should be avoided. The most prevalent causes for mature horses to consume dung are an improper diet and nutritional deficiency.

4. Diet low in fibre

Horses eating dung has been related to low-fiber diets, according to research (Waring 2003, Furr and Reed 2008, Geor et al. 2013). horses on a mixed grass/legume hay diet are less likely to consume excrement than horses fed a concentrate diet, according to research (Waring 2003, Elia et al. 2010). Coprophagy in Przewalski horses was abolished when they were given free access to grass (Boyd 1988).

5. Underfed

When food is short, it has been found that free ranging horses would consume old dung (Waring 2003). Mares and foals have been recorded feeding off stallion heaps in similar circumstances (Waring 2003). Domestic horses who are undernourished may resort to consuming excrement (Mills 2010).

6. High starch diet

Horses with a high-starch diet may consume dung despite having plenty of hay available to them. Grain products such as maize, oats, and barley contain starch. Horses’ aggressiveness and coprophagy have been eradicated by replacing a portion of the starch with fat in their diet (Hothersall and Nicol 2009).

7. Feeding frequency

Free-ranging horses feed for between 10 and 18 hours each day, and they seldom spend more than 3 hours without consuming something (Harris et al. 2017). It is estimated that stabled horses spend 8.5 to 12 hours per day engaging in foraging behaviors, which include consuming bedding and dung (Harris et al. 2017, Geor et al. 2013). It is likely that coprophagy in horses is caused by a need to feed more often than is given by the meal schedule. Horses may consume dung for a variety of reasons, including filling their stomachs, passing the time since their previous meal, and lowering their glucose levels (Geor et al.

8. Medical conditions

Horses suffering from medical diseases such as equine motor neuron disease (EMND) have been observed consuming excrement (Geor et al. 2013, Divers et al. 1994). For the most part, the absence of grazing for more than a year, along with poor quality hay, has been recognized as the most significant risk factor for EMD (Divers et al. 1994).

9. Vitamin K deficiency

Several researchers, including Furr and Reed (2008), have suggested that horses eating dung may be an indication of vitamin K insufficiency, particularly when the horse simultaneously has a decreased blood-clotting time.

What to do?

If your horse is eating dung, please consult your veterinarian to rule out medical causes and to discuss your horse’s condition and diet. If your horse is eating manure, please consult an equine nutritionist to ensure the horse’s diet is balanced and contains plenty of hay for the animal. A horse’s regular availability to suitable grass or hay is essential. For horses on a restricted diet that are unable to have continual unlimited access to pasture or hay, contact Meand so that we may explore methods that limit the amount of food your horse consumes while increasing the amount of time your horse spends eating.


Boyd, L. E. (1988) Time budgets of adult Przewalski horses: impacts of sex, reproductive state, and confinement. Journal of Equine Research and Development, vol. Journal of Applied Animal Behaviour Science, volume 21, pages 19-39 S. L. Crowell-Davis’ Developmental Biology was published in 1986. 2(3): 573-590. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Equine Practice, vol. 2, no. 3. Crowell-Davis, S. L., and Houpt, K. A. Crowell-Davis, S. L., and Houpt, K. A. (1985) The influence of age on coprophagy in foals, as well as putative roles Equine Veterinary Journal, volume 17, number 1, pages 17-19.

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Saunders Elsevier is a publishing company.

Review: feeding conserved forage to horses: recent advances and recommendations (Harris et al 2017).

Fradinho et al 2017; Jansson et al 2017; Julliand et al 2017; Luthersson et al 2017; Vervuert et al 2017; Harris et al 2017.


Nicol are co-authors of this paper (2009) The role of diet and feeding in the development of normal and stereotypical behaviors in horses is discussed.


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Alexander are co-authors of this paper (1995) For foals of the domestic horse, coprophagy can be used as a means of learning about their dams’ food preferences.


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(2001), Cognitive abilities as a result of selective pressures on food acquisition are discussed.

Mills, D.


New York: Springer Publishing Company. CAB International is a non-profit organization. Available for purchase on Amazon. Waring, G. H. (2003) Horse Behavior (2nd ed) (2nd ed). Noyes Publications/William Andrew Publishing Available for purchase on Amazon.

Equines Eating Horse Poop – How to Stop It

I’m sure you were appalled when you discovered your pet horse consuming horse feces. I understand how you’re feeling. I was taken aback when I noticed our gorgeous, healthy horse munching, and I mean nibbling. It was more like chomping down on a semi-fresh mound of rotting rotting meat!

My Little Horse Manure Eater

You have to inquire. why? There are a variety of causes for this, but more significantly, I discovered how to stop it quite by mistake, which I will describe below. Taking the time to understand why your horse is eating feces can help you devise a strategy to keep them from doing so in the first place.

Common Reasons Horses Eat Horse Manure

  • Restock the gut with beneficial bacteria
  • Nutritional deficit
  • Boredom
  • And hunger are all possible outcomes. In a way, it’s more like an empty stomach. More on it in a moment.

Let’s take them one by one and see how they go. It is instinctive for foals to consume dung in order to seed their stomach with beneficial bacterial flora that will help in digesting. Horses aren’t the only animals who behave in this manner. Baby bunnies are also guilty of this. This is very normal and healthy behavior, and it will only last a brief period of time. There is nothing that can be done in this situation other than to let the foal to do what nature intended. Even if your horse is an adult, you should administer a dosage or two of a probiotic to help restore the balance of healthy bacteria in the stomach.

Gross by Another Name

Copraphagia is the term used to describe the act of eating feces. Even if your horse does not require probiotics, giving them to them will not be harmful to them. It’s the same as if you were eating yogurt. You may safely provide them to your horse, eliminating the possibility that gut bacteria is the source of copraphagia. It comes in the form of a tube paste, similar to that of a horse wormer. Probiotics for horses are available for purchase at feed stores and big animal veterinary practices.

  1. Simply mix it in with the grain.
  2. This is particularly common in horses who have been stall confined for a long period of time and have begun to acquire vices.
  3. They attempt to cope with the stress by engaging in unusual habits such as cribbing, weaving, and even eating their own horse feces.
  4. Get a pasture with pasture mates and make every effort to find more time to ride with a wide variety of horses and riders.
  5. A horse that is deficient in a required nutrient or mineral may consume horse feces in an attempt to supplement the deficient nutrient or mineral.
  6. Is there a mineralized free-choice salt block on the premises?
  7. Is your horse receiving enough to eat at all times?

Are they a healthy weight? You might be thinking, “My horse is not in a stall, I have previously given probiotics, my horse has a perfectly balanced diet, if anything she is overweight, and yet she still eats her own horse feces!” I understand what you’re thinking.

Horse Poop Eating Mystery Solved

Allow me to share my tale with you. The description in the preceding paragraph is spot on for our mare. In response to our veterinarian’s recommendation, I supplied probiotics. I wormed my way into her heart. She had received all of her vaccinations on time. She was/is on a good balanced diet, is rode on a regular basis, and lives in a small, close-knit herd of horses with lots of opportunity to run around and mingle with the other horses in the group. Despite this, she continued to consume horse feces.

  • I was at a loss for words.
  • I burst out laughing.
  • In fact, she was a little overweight.
  • In the midst of winter, we were hit by a brutally cold wave that was abnormally freezing.
  • Because it was so chilly, I knew they’d need the additional calories to be warm and comfortable.
  • If your horse is consuming dung, be important to get him wormed on a regular basis.
  • I have to keep a close check on her in order to keep her from becoming obese.

This cold snap persisted for a few weeks and was quite uncomfortable.

It was at that point that I realized her nefarious horse dung eating habit had been fully curtailed!

Was it merely because she was hungry that she did it?

Then it dawned on me.

Allow me to explain.

They are grazers, which means that they are designed to eat little amounts of food throughout the day.

The tension that a horse experiences when he has an empty stomach is exacerbated by the production of stomach acid.

She didn’t require any additional calories, but she did require something to fill her empty stomach!

The horses would be happy if they were given four or five modest meals instead of one large one.

What is the solution?

A piggish horse will first overindulge himself.

Once they learn that food will always be there, they become calm and self-regulatory, exactly like wild horses do in their natural environment. If your horse had to pick between horse excrement and hay, I’m confident that he would select the hay every time.

More Equine Topics You May Enjoy

Read on to find out more about the causes and treatment of Equine Founder. Is the safety of your horse in question?

Horses in the Evening

A emotional look at the way horses have influenced the way we live our lives. Horse-related tales. This material is meant to help horse owners better understand and cope with the wide range of diseases and injuries that can arise over the course of horse ownership. It is not intended for use by veterinarians. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian when it comes to the care and treatment of your horse. Return to the top of the page

Coprophagy (Manure Eating) in Horses

Dr. Lydia Gray contributed to this article.

What is it?

The consumption of excrement by foals can be considered a typical behavior, commencing as early as one week of age and ending as late as two months of age, depending on the breed. The majority of specialists think that foals consume dung in order to load their gastrointestinal tract with helpful bacteria or “good bugs” that aid in digestion; nevertheless, another hypothesis indicates that foals consume manure in order to take in parasite eggs and activate their immune system. Others believe that through consuming the excrement of other horses, foals might acquire their own nutritional preferences.

What can be done about it?

Given that horses may consume dung as a means of obtaining more long-stem roughage, owners should attempt to prevent this behavior by either providing their horses with grass hay at all times or allowing them to graze on pasture. Ensure that your diet contains the required daily amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein, and other nutrients by doing a thorough evaluation of your food intake. It is recommended that fortified grains or a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement be given to achieve these requirements.

What else do I need to know?

An amuzzle or “slow feeder” can be used to limit the quantity of fodder a horse can consume while still keeping them occupied with a chewing activity if a horse is overweight or for any other reason should not be allowed full access to grass or hay for any period of time. A veterinarian should be consulted if a horse exhibits any additional behavioral or physical indicators, such as colic, weight loss, or performance concerns, to assess whether or not a medical disease is present. SmartPak strongly advises you to speak with your veterinarian if you have any particular queries about your horse’s health or welfare.

Why Do Horses Eat Feces?

Horses should consume a large number of little meals multiple times each day. They have been known to consume more than the fodder and grain we supply for them. Horses are known to consume strange items, such as wood, which you are surely familiar with.

However, they also enjoy eating own waste, which is formally called as feces. Despite the fact that it is a nasty issue, there are some valid reasons for horses to do this. “Why do horses eat their own feces?” is the issue we shall address in this essay.

Horses Eat Feces as Foals

Numerous types of animals consume their own excrement, which is known as feces eating. In general, horses will only consume their own excrement when they are two to three weeks old. Veterinary doctor and animal nutritionist Dr. David Ramey, DVM, writes on his website, “Eating excrement is supposed to assist in populating their intestines with bacteria that aid in allowing the young animals to digest the coarse grain that they survive on.”

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Feces Eating in Adult Horses

Coprophagy is the term used in science to describe the act of consuming excrement. As horses grow older, their desire to consume excrement diminishes. Adult horses, on the other hand, are not unusual in their consumption of excrement. There are a variety of factors contributing to this. Some reasons will necessitate the consultation of a veterinarian, while others you should be able to resolve on your own.

  • Absence of roughage: Roughage, such as grasses and hays, should account for 80 percent of a horse’s total caloric intake. Horses will consume little meals multiple times during the day. If they do not have enough roughage or do not have access to enough roughage, they may begin to consume their own excrement. Hunger: This goes hand in hand with the first reason for the famine. Horse feces include nutrients that have not been digested. When a horse is famished, it will seek out any source of nourishment that would help him live. When horses are subjected to famine, coprophagy is most likely to develop. While a horse’s diet should consist of 80 percent roughage, the remaining 20 percent must have the appropriate minerals and proteins to prevent nutritional deficiencies (i.e., mineral or protein shortage). They require a variety of nutrients, including water, carbs, proteins, lipids, minerals, and vitamins. To ensure that the hay your horse is eating is high in nutritional value, you may get the hay analyzed for nutritional value before feeding it. If it is lacking in any of these nutrients, you will want to discuss a feed regimen with your veterinarian to supplement the nutrients that are lacking. Senior horses will have varying nutritional requirements. In particular, when they have difficulty consuming tough fodder due to worn-down teeth, this is true. The presence of intestinal parasites might cause the nutrients that your horse consumes to be insufficiently absorbed into their system, resulting in nutritional deficiencies. As a consequence, we have Coprophagy is a condition induced by a lack of nutrients. A horse that has been subjected to Coprophagy for a lengthy period of time for any of the reasons listed above may acquire a habit of eating their own excrement, which is known as stereotypic behavior. If all of the above-mentioned causes have been checked out, this is not a concern. However, a comprehensive parasite control program must be implemented.

Dangers of Horses Eating Feces

Generally speaking, horses ingesting excrement are not harmful. Whenever there is an inadequate parasite and fly control mechanism in place, there is a risk of infection. Horses do not acquire parasites from the consumption of dung, but rather through other means. In the words of Dr. Davey Ramey DVM: “Eating horse dung is normally innocuous (and, reportedly, appetizing for some), but it is one method by which internal parasites are transmitted: indirectly.” Horses do not become infected with parasites after digesting manure.

“An occasional mouthful of dung is generally considered to be safe.” Find out more about ” 5 Ways to Manage Intestinal Parasites in Your Horse” by visiting this page.

Final Thoughts

Horses often consume excrement, which is completely safe to them. Equine feces can include a variety of nutrients that were not absorbed by the horse’s digestive system but were instead passed through it. If you find a horse consuming excrement, you should look into their nutrition and parasite treatment options further. However, while coprophagy is an entirely normal occurrence, you may not want your horse to lick your hands after eating their manure.

Q&A: Manure-Eating in Adult Horses

Even as young horses and ponies, horses and ponies are incredibly curious. For one thing, coprophagy, the fifty-cent word for manure-eating, is prevalent among foals and other young horses, which is why doctors recommend that a deworming program be implemented before weaning begins. Pica is a phrase that expresses an exceptional desire for materials that have little or no nutritional value, such as tree bark or dirt. Coprophagy is a kind of pica. Aside from being bored, older horses will occasionally participate in coprophagy if they are not provided with enough grass to meet their nutritional requirements on a consistent basis.

  1. An idle 1,100-pound (500-kg) horse on a diet consisting exclusively of hay, for example, should be provided with 22 lb (10 kg) of hay per day to fulfill energy needs for weight maintenance if the horse is allowed to stand idle.
  2. Just like humans, horses have distinct metabolic rates, and this guideline should be used as a starting point for determining what is best for your particular horse or horse breeds.
  3. Because the condition of the dung would most likely be too moist for these horses to eat, they frequently resort to wood-chewing rather than manure-eating.
  4. For people on all-forage diets, such as the one described above, vitamins and minerals can be supplemented with a well-fortified supplement, such as Micro-Max (available in the United States) or Gold Pellet (available in Canada) (in Australia).
  5. Equine nutritionists believe that providing proper amounts of vitamins and minerals can alleviate this issue completely.
  6. Thank you for mentioning that all of the horses referenced in your enquiry come from the same feeding program.

I appreciate you bringing this up. Despite the fact that this is intriguing, it is hard for me to tell whether or not this historical common denominator has anything to do with the contemporary behavior of the population.

When Your Horse Eats Poop and Fencing

  • This poop-eating activity, known as coprophagia, is one of those things that makes your skin crawl when you think about it. Just thinking about that gives me the heebie-jeebies! According to current studies, there are several probable explanations for this behavior — but no definitive answers as to why horses enjoy eating excrement.
  • There is also a disorder known as pica, which occurs when horses consume non-food objects such as wood, mud, twigs, bark, and other similar materials. The exact etiology of this is similarly uncertain, however new research suggests that an iron or copper shortage may play a role
  • Nonetheless,

Pica is defined as eating things that are not food, whilst Coprophagia is defined as eating dung.

Reasons why horses eat poop and fences and other non-food items include:

  • The use of antibiotics, because they can alter the native gut flora
  • There does not appear to be any clear evidence that a specific reason for pica and coprophagia in horses can be identified.
  • Coprophagia is observed in foals as early as two to three weeks of age and is considered typical. Who knows why this is happening over again

Wood chewing (pica!) is discouraged by soapy fences. Brush it on and around the wonderful regions of your fence using a super-strong laundry detergent bar soap.

What can you do about pica and coprophagia in horses​​​​?

  • First and foremost, speak with your veterinarian and/or equine nutritionist to rule out any medical concerns that may be present.
  • Slow feeders are an excellent method to keep your horse from becoming bored if you believe he needs more excitement.
  • Ensure that everything is picked – at all times. As a general rule, poop-scooping paddocks and grass pastures is recommended since the worm and parasite life cycle is dependent on horses eating dung and the grass around poop.

How to deal with the “bad breath” if you have a poop-eater in the family.

  • Because we are unable to floss our horses, our alternatives are limited. It is possible to flush out your horse’s mouth with water before tacking him up and riding him with a big syringe (at least 30 cc in volume).

You can also wage war on your horse’s boredom and destructive tendencies by following some of the tips forstall restand forbattling a destructive horse.

  • Pica should be more of a concern than coprophagia, because a puppy chewing wood or foreign materials is similar to a dog eating shoes in terms of danger. It is detrimental to the items, and it may necessitate severe medical care for the horse.
  • In that situation, it is your responsibility to ensure that your horse’s living quarters are pica-proof. Fences are a typical target, and in this instance, hot wire/electric fence is a great option.

Pica is harmful to horses and is detrimental to fences. What have been your personal experiences? Follow the links below for information on boredom-busting toys and chewing deterrents. As an Amazon Associate, I get commissions on qualifying transactions, which means you pay no more for your purchases. You have no idea how much I appreciate all you’ve done for me. Horsemen’s Pride is a phrase that means “horsemen’s pride” in English. Astonishing Graze Treat Play the game ToyShires Horse Treat Dispenser.

tub – 8Oz– paste to discourage chewing is available in two sizes.

Thank you very much!

Eating Manure (in Adult)

Observation What you see is what you get. Your observations should serve as the beginning step for resolving any horse health-related concern.


Despite the fact that it is less prevalent than in foals, dung eating (coprophagy) in adult horses is nonetheless widespread. It is believed to have resulted from a combination of boredom and hunger. According to some views, it might be caused by a lack of sufficient forage or fiber, as well as by other dietary imbalances or nutritional inadequacies. However, none of this has been verified. Horses who are really hungry will consume their own excrement as well as the manure of their herd members.

Adult horses in dry lots that are bored are most likely to exhibit this behavior.

Light coprophagy, when present alone and without additional indicators of sickness or disease, is unlikely to create serious issues, as previously stated.

Code Yellow

Make an appointment with your veterinarian whenever it is most convenient for you.

  • To schedule an appointment with your veterinarian, call him or her whenever it is convenient for you.

Code Green

  • Consult with your veterinarian for useful advice and resources.

It’s possible that you’re also paying attention.

your role

Assess the general health of your horse with the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), as well as the management of your horse. Changes in management should be implemented in an attempt to curtail this practice. Longer stem hay should be fed in greater quantities, and horses should have access to white and mineralized salt blocks as needed. Creating an environment that is engaging, whether via greater activity, turnout, or stimulation from other horses, is essential. Keeping horses alongside, or at least in view of, other people has been shown to improve their psychological and physical well-being.

Skills you may need

You may be required to conduct procedures on your horse at some point.

your vet’s role

You may wish to consult with your veterinarian, who may wish to review your horses and management, and who may offer management adjustments to help reduce this behavior. Questions Your Veterinarian Might Ask You:

  • What kind of stable or management system is in place for the horse
  • Is the horse otherwise eating, drinking, and acting in a typical manner? What kind of feed is currently being given to the horse
  • What is the horse’s Body Condition Score (BCS) and how does it compare to other horses? Is the horse left alone or is he maintained in a group with other horses? Who knows what the outcome of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) will be. Are you able to alter management in order to improve the situation?

Diagnostics Your Vet May Perform

Figuring out the cause of the problem. These are tests or procedures used by your vet to determine what’s wrong.

Diagnoses Your Vet May Consider

The underlying source of the problem. This is a list of diseases or ailments that are causing the observations that you are making.

Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A method of resolving the issue or diagnosing the problem. Identifying and treating the underlying causes of disease or treating the symptoms of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Related References:

Equine Behavior: A Guide for Veterinarians and Equine Scientists, by P. McGreevy, Ph.D. Saunders, 2004. Edinburgh: Saunders. Doug Thal, DVM, Dipl. ABVP is the author of this article.

Why Do Horses Eat Poop? (All You Need to Know!)

In horsemanship, coprophagy refers to horses consuming their own or other horses’ feces. Horses, particularly young horses and foals, are known to consume excrement, despite the fact that it is a highly unpleasant behavior. This can occasionally be a source of concern in adult horses, but it is usually a straightforward treatment. Most of the time, the most prevalent cause for a horse to consume dung is directly tied to the horse’s age. If it is a foal, eating the mare’s excrement is a natural method for it to develop healthy gut flora throughout the weaning process and is not reason for concern.

Even while manure eating is completely typical in foals, it is not necessarily a reason for concern in adult horses if it occurs seldom or on a regular basis.

Our discussion in this post will focus on the factors that lead horses to eat feces and how to quit this little repulsive behavior.

Coprophagy and the Gut

Horses may consume dung for a number of reasons, including for nutrition. It is not unusual to see this in young horses. Because of the undigested fiber, protein, and vitamins in droppings that are enticing to adult horses who are fed a high-grain and low-forage diet, it is common in this population. The most prevalent cause of coprophagy is a nutritional deficit or an imbalance in the microbes of the digestive tract. Manure includes bacteria that can assist horses in increasing the number of microorganisms in their stomach.

Image courtesy of Erdenebayar Bayansan on Pixabay.


Again, the most typical case of horses ingesting excrement occurs in foals, which is a very new phenomenon. Foals consume the feces of their mother, the horse, in order to increase the microbial community in their hindguts and intestines. While transitioning from mother’s milk to roughage, foals will frequently eat excrement to aid in the development of healthy gut flora. They may consume the excrement since it is necessary for intestinal immunocompetence as well as myelination of the neural system in order for them to survive.

This aids the foal in the production of antibodies to combat the antigens.

See also:  What Is The Cheapest Horse To Buy?

This is critical for the foal’s growth since, at this moment, they are still learning as they go, which is critical for their development.

As a result, if you notice a foal consuming excrement, particularly that of its mother, it is not a reason for alarm and is quite natural.


Adult horses that consume dung may be doing it for the same reasons as foals do. It is probable that a horse is getting antibiotics since the bacteria population in his or her gastrointestinal system is quite scarce during this time. A horse may resort to eating dung to help them replace the healthy bacteria that they require for optimal digestion because antibiotics can destroy all bacteria, both good and bad, in the gastrointestinal system. It is therefore very necessary to deliver both prebiotics and probiotics to horses when they are on antibiotics, regardless of whether or not the horse is healthy at the time of administration (source).

The Reasons Behind Coprophagy

In general, if an adult horse that appears to be in good health is eating dung, there is no need to be concerned or concerned about it. It’s possible that your horse is attempting to communicate with you that he requires something other than what you are currently providing him. The likelihood of horses consuming their own excrement decreases if they are offered a nutrient-dense diet that includes lots of access to natural grazing and appropriate roughage in the form of hay. A horse may also consume dung out of boredom or stress, in which case the horse is attempting to communicate with you that it requires more turnout time, more herd or paddock mates, and further excitement and stimulation.

Inappropriate Feed or Malnutrition

Because horses may want the undigested fiber, protein, and vitamins found in dung if fed a high-grain, low-forage diet, as previously indicated, manure-eating may be a result of this diet pattern. Horses require six key elements to thrive: protein, carbs, fat, minerals, vitamins, and water, amongst other things. Commercial feed will normally maintain a balance in the first five, and the horse’s owner or manager should ensure that the horse has access to water. What is vital, though, is that a horse be permitted to graze for a significant percentage of the time during the day.

Modern, stabled horses sometimes do not have enough time to graze, and as a result, they may be deficient in roughage or fiber in their diet, leading them to supplement their diet with their own dung to compensate for the shortage.

Because of the way their digestive system is designed, they must consume food on a constant basis.

If they are unable to graze, they may resort to eating their own feces in order to compensate for the lack of alternative food sources.

Stabled horses should be given ample outdoor time in a pasture and, once stabled, slow-feeder hay nets with sufficient of roughage for them to chew on while in confinement are the most effective ways to address this issue (source).

Overfeeding Top-Quality Hay

Equine manure can be a source of nutrition for horses when they are stabled, but when they are turned out to pasture or field where natural feed and grazing are scarce or non-existent, they may turn to their own manure for a snack because the undigested fiber will appear appetizing to a horse who has nothing else to eat. Although horses should be allowed to graze and be fed high-quality hay when stabled, it is critical to either ensure that their paddocks and fields have adequate grazing or to provide them with slow-feeder hay nets in the pasture if grazing is limited.

The horse requires proper chewing time, and if this is not provided or if they are not receiving enough roughage, they may resort to coprophagy as their only means of obtaining nutrition.

Stress or Hunger

Horses, like so many other mammals, like the comfort and predictability that comes with following a regular schedule. In the absence of a regular schedule for a horse, the resulting stress may result in manure-eating and other undesirable habits, as well as pica, which is the consumption of other non-food things. Horses that are stabled for irregular periods of time or that do not come into contact with specific humans on a regular basis, but rather with a volley of strangers or with limited human contact, tend to exhibit more stress indicators than other horses, and this includes coprophagy, than other horses.

In the absence of a schedule for your horse, they may develop harmful behaviors in order to establish some type of pattern for themselves.

The opposite is true if horses are sent out for grazing in overstocked paddocks with insufficient food.

When stabled, a horse should be permitted to graze for a significant portion of the day and be given access to roughage or hay through a hay net, as is recommended.


Boredom is one of the most prevalent reasons for healthy adult horses to consume dung, according to the ASPCA. Modern stable yards should provide for a significant amount of paddock time during the day, preferably 10 to 12 hours per day for each horse. As herd animals by nature, they require the company of other animals in the paddock and in the herd in order to flourish. Horses that are not exercised and who do not have other horses around them to engage and stimulate them may resort to negative habits in order to alleviate tension and boredom, according to the ASPCA.

A horse who is eating dung, weaving, cribbing, or sucking the wind is only attempting to communicate to you that they are lacking in an essential component of their existence and that they are bored with their current situation (source).

Final Thoughts

Horses are by nature nomadic creatures with a sophisticated digestive tract, which allows them to graze for a significant amount of their day and eat a variety of foods. if they do not have appropriate access to forage, feed, and roughage, they may resort to coprophagy as a means of alleviating boredom, stress, hunger, or nutritional insufficiency, among other things The opposite is true if the horse is still a foal in which case ingesting dung is totally natural and serves as a means for the foal to build up the good gut flora that it will require when it transitions from its mother’s milk to roughage in the future.

Why does my horse eat horse poo?

We receive a lot of calls from concerned horse owners who want to know why their horse has suddenly started eating horse droppings. When they notice that anything is missing from their horse’s nutrition, their first instinct is to wonder what it is. That is possible; but, what you are thinking is most likely not what is happening. The first issue most horse owners ask is whether or not their horse is deficient in particular vitamins or minerals, and whether or not it is’seeking’ these deficiency components by consuming the dung of other horses.

  1. So what is it about the manure that they find so appealing?
  2. If we take the most recent human studies into consideration, we now know that an adult is made up of around 10 trillion human cells (1).
  3. You read it correctly.
  4. If an extraterrestrial arrived from space and examined the makeup of a person, they would characterize us as a multicellular entity composed primarily of bacteria with around 10% human cells.
  5. The function of these bacteria is multifaceted, and we are constantly learning about the many types and strains of microbes, as well as what these germs are actually doing within our bodies.
  6. Consequently, bacteria make up 90 percent of our bodies, and we would actually perish if we didn’t have them to protect us from sickness and death.
  7. (2) Wow, that’s incredible!

Moreover, research indicates that any change in diet will have an impact on the bacteria in the gut, with some diets (such as a highly processed Western junk food diet) driving bacterial patterns that are associated with diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity, whereas other diets (such as a diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables) driving an increase in the type of bacteria that is associated with lean, healthy, and fit people.

  1. If you eat healthfully, you will have a healthy spread of gut microbes.
  2. Some severe inflammatory bowel disorders cause an increase in some strains of bacteria (the “bad” ones) while decreasing the amount of other strains of bacteria (the “good” ones) in the gut of the patient.
  3. A procedure known as faecal transplantation can heal certain patients who have suffered with stomach discomfort, inflammation, and diarrhoea for years and have not found relief with pharmaceuticals.
  4. This is the process through which healthy feces from a healthy donor’s gut, comprising the whole range of good bacteria, is fed through a tube into the colon of a patient suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
  5. Yuck!
  6. So, what does this have to do with horses?
  7. However, it is taking done, and the results have been rather fascinating.
  8. According to current research, it is not known what percentage of a horse is made up of horse cells and what percentage is made up of bacterial cells.

Horses are hindgut fermenters, relying on a giant fermentation tank called the cecum (which is roughly the size of two and a half black water buckets in a big horse) that is teeming with bacteria that break down fiber, produce vitamins, regulate the metabolism, and activate the inherent immunity.

  1. What an incredible piece of information!
  2. Some bacterial strains detected in horse stomachs have been connected to laminitis, colic, and other ailments, according to the most recent studies conducted on the animals (4).
  3. Consequently, if we compare our findings with human research, horses on natural diets that are consistent with what they evolved to consume would most likely have a different pattern of bacterial strains thriving in their stomachs than horses given highly processed feeds and forages.
  4. Coprophagy is the term used to describe this behavior.
  5. While a foal is being delivered, the placenta ruptures, resulting in the newborn’s surroundings no longer being sterile.
  6. It will then take its first suckle from its mother’s teats, where it will pick up even more germs from her skin as it does so.
  7. An infant foal is born with a hyper-permeable intestinal membrane, sometimes known as a “leaky stomach.” This permeability allows large-sized antibodies from the mare’s colostrum to pass through and into the bloodstream.
  8. Since a result, foals are extremely susceptible to infections during their first few days of life, as their ‘leaky intestines’ can allow harmful germs and poisons to enter the bloodstream as well — this is one of the reasons of “joint sick” in foals.

A foal now has to establish a community of good bacteria (with a smaller proportion of bad bacteria – there will always be some around) that will ferment the fiber in forage and feed, generate nutrients and vitamins, and perform other essential functions such as controlling the immune system and metabolism in order to survive and thrive.

That is why we don’t start weaning newborns until they are six months old, and even then it is a very progressive process that takes several months and starts with liquidized meals.

The same may be said about foals in the same way.

It does this by aggressively seeking out and consuming the feces of its mother and other horses over the course of several months.

The foal is primarily dependant on its mother’s milk for the first three months of its life, and by the third month, it has enough gut bacteria to begin to ‘creep’ onto feed and grazing.

In order to develop a community of gut microorganisms that are necessary for digesting fiber, making vitamins, managing its immune system, and metabolism, a foal consumes the feces of other horses.

So, what is it about adult horses that makes them want to consume other horses’ manure?

The ingestion of good bacteria in the proper proportions can help a horse quickly repopulate its hindgut if its hindgut has entered a state of dysbiosis and the balance of good bacteria to bad bacteria has been tipped in the wrong direction.

Warm, fresh dung from a healthy horse that does not have metabolic syndrome, laminitis, colic difficulties, or any other health issues contains hundreds of millions of live bacteria that are beneficial to the horse.

As opposed to other probiotic pills, which contain only one or two types of bacteria.

It is only for a few hours or a day at the most that the vast majority of these bacteria can live outside of the gut.

This was something that wise horsemen of past generations were well aware of.

It was referred to as ‘poo tea’.

For poo tea, a ball of fresh warm manure from a healthy horse with no suspected illnesses or worm burden was placed in muslin (or today’s nylon knee-high stocking) and squeezed into a cup of cold water until the water turned brown, as shown in the picture.

The horse recovered quickly.

It was remarkable to see the change in so many ill horses.

If you are unsure about this ancient tradition, you can always consult with your veterinarian.

Horses have been known to consume the feces of other horses.

You now understand why! You can always find more blogs to read atAppleSaaz.com in 2015. Thunderbrook Equestrian is owned and operated by Dr Deborah Carley. This article may be reproduced in whole or in part, but the original author must be acknowledged in the body of the text.

  1. Defining the Microbiome of the Human. Luke Ursell and colleagues Nutritional Assessments. The British Gut Project, Fecal Bacteriotherapy, and the Equine Intestinal Microbiome are all topics covered in August 2012. Costa, M.C., and colleagues Animal Health and Research Review, June 1012
  2. Genetics is something you should learn. Your Changing Microbiome
  3. Changing Gut Microbiome

The Microbiome of the Human Being is being defined. In the case of Luke Ursell and colleagues, Dietary Supplements and Supplemental Information Fecal Bacteriotherapy; The Equine Intestinal Microbiome; Fecal Bacteriotherapy; The British Gut Project; August 2012; Cota M.C. (and colleagues) AHR Journal, June 1012; Animal Health Research Rev. Genetics is something you should learn about! Your Microbiome Is Changing;

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