Bark stripping

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Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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I’m a little worried for the old willows as Niko is stripping the bark off them, none of the others bother and hopefully if it’s dietary that will sort out as he’s now on the same as Jess. But in the mean time how do I discourage it? There’s always hay available already.
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that’s just 1 little section, but he’s had a go at anything he can reach
 

carthorse

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Jan 6, 2006
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Short of taping them off I don't see that you can stop him, and it may be a personal taste rather than dietary issue in which case he won't stop :(
 
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chunky monkey

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I would guess possibly short of minerals and vitamins. I would say tape off and try and cut some of the higher branches down so that he can strip the bark off some smaller bits rather than main trunk. I would offer a lick in the field. Maybe even cut down some ash branches to bark strip.
 

carthorse

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Please don't go breaking off ash branches. Yes horses love them, but ash die back disease means our ash trees are in trouble and need all the support they can get :(
 

Jessey

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He’s been getting a balancer since arriving, also has a vit/min and salt lick in the field so if it is dietary I would expect it to resolve in time.

There’s quite a lot of freshly downed branches and he’s nibbled a bit on them but still going for the attached ones too. I don’t want to permanently fence the trees off, the other’s love this area for shade, snoozing and scratching, though they will be fenced off soon until it dries up in spring to protect the root system.

I’m wondering if something like crib off spray would be safe for the tree? Just to break the habit, or discourage it at least 😋
 

chunky monkey

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I wouldnt discourage to be honest. Its a natural behaviour in the wild. He may also be using for his teeth.

What about putting in a couple of posts and cutting off a limb and strapping it between the two posts for him to chew on and strip.
 
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Jessey

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I don’t mind him chewing and he has plenty of hedge to chomp and downed branches but I don’t want the willows killed, ring barking will kill the limbs.
 

Trewsers

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Oct 13, 2004
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Could just be a habit and he just enjoys it. I would maybe try something like cribbox. Zi chewed on just about everything for six months when he arrived. Even fence posts, it wasn’t anything to do with being in a stable because he wasn’t! He rarely does it now, and I think it might have just been something to do, whilst trying to fit in with the girls. The cribbox is messy though I ended up with more on me! It was the paste one.
 
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Jessey

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Do horses like marmite? Maybe even something like that could discourage him?
I was trying to think of something natural and harmless that might work, not sure if marmite would be the answer, I know a lot of people who feed it as it can really help with the bugs (its a brewers yeast extract and high in B vits)
 

newforest

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Are his teeth due?
Is he in discomfort.
I only say this because Willow is a natural aspirin pain relief.

Mine is stripping a little section of the base of a tree. They do naturally nibble wood.
 

Jessey

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I doubt his teeth have ever been looked at, it will be done when the vet comes for other stuff but that won’t be for a while due to the whole grass sickness thing. There’s no obvious loose caps or anything. I don’t suspect pain specifically because he chews on plenty of other stuff too and I get that it’s natural behaviour, but I want to discourage it on these trees as I don’t want them killed off.
 

Ale

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I was trying to think of something natural and harmless that might work, not sure if marmite would be the answer, I know a lot of people who feed it as it can really help with the bugs (its a brewers yeast extract and high in B vits)
Maybe not then 😂 vinegar?
 
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Kite_Rider

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Are his teeth due?
Is he in discomfort.
I only say this because Willow is a natural aspirin pain relief.

Mine is stripping a little section of the base of a tree. They do naturally nibble wood.
This is just where I was going newforest, could it be pain related? Or could it be he just likes the taste?
 

chunky monkey

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I know when we had a fallen willow branch off our tree last winter. One of my two striped the bark off it when it was leaning over the fence. Munched all the tips off.
 

Jane&Ziggy

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Ziggy loved willow. We used to have a big willow tree in one corner of the field which was old and gradually falling over. Before my YO finally cut it down he had a whale of a time eating all the branches as they gradually came within his reach.

There is a point that willow bark is a natural analgesic, and I know that Ziggy ate more of it in spring and summer when his laminitis was grumbling. Does Niko eat other bark? If only willow, then I would have thought he might have some pain somewhere. Teeth was the first thing that sprang to mind, though I guess he still has his little baby teeth and it's hard to imagine any problems with them.

Sorry, just a ramble, no help on how to stop him eating them!
 

Jessey

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As I said, he chews on lots of things, including other trees, he’s a 2 year old and everything goes in his mouth given half a chance.
I understand the possible causes what I’m after is ways to discourage it from these specific trees because I don’t want them irreversibly damaged.
 
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