How to make him drink?

Sondra

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Jul 30, 2004
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Can I add anything to my horse's water to encourage him to drink? I'm wondering if diluted apple juice or gatorade might help. He has reduced his overnight consumption from appx. 5 gallons to maybe just 1 gallon and I don't want him to colic. The water is not too cold, the temperature outside is not too cold yet either, and I clean his bucket each day so I don't know what's wrong!
 

galadriel

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I'll give plain salt--more is okay if you don't see any effect, but I wouldn't give more than about 3 tablespoons.

I'll also give Gatorade powder, which mine consider a treat and will lick & lick & lick. And then drink :)

I have provided Gatorade powder when my horses were at unfamiliar facilities and the water tasted strange. However, I always provide at least one container of fresh, plain water.

Apple juice can work as well, as can molasses.

However, given the time of the year, probably the easiest way to encourage a horse to drink is to use a heated bucket.
 

Sondra

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Thanks, I'll try just about anything since I have read what can happen to his digestive system if it dries out. It may sound unappealing, but I am keeping a close watch on his droppings to make sure they are still "moist". Never thought I'd be admitting that in public! The only thing I cannot track is his urine output. Up until two days ago he would always urinate in his stall after I put him up for the night, but before I left the stable. But for the past two days I have not witnessed him urinating.
Thanks for giving me some alternatives.
 

galadriel

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Keeping horses drinking is one of my major paranoias, so I understand your concern. I agree that it's a valid one.

Good luck getting him to drink. A heated water bucket is a good investment for a horse who cuts his drinking way down in cooler weather, and not very expensive.
 

Amie

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It may be the chlorine content in your water has gone up.

Horses can tell even the most subtle changes in chlorine content and this can cause them to stop drinking the clean water you put for them.

I think you can get tester kits but i'm not sure where from.

Ask others on your yard if their horses have stopped drinking, if they have this could be the reason why.

My horse is very particular about what she drinks. She much prefers the disgusting water she gets out of the trough in the field and wasn't drinking at all in the stable. The way i get around this now is to only clean out her stable bucket every 3 days, i just top it up each day. It looks like she is unloved, but she drinks most of her bucket each night now. Oh, and believe me she is loved and it takes a great deal of will power not to clean the bucket!!!

Just an idea
 

Sondra

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Thank you very much for all of the input. Winston drank 1/2 of a 5 gallon bucket overnight --- yeah! (Yes, I named my horse after your very own Winston Churchill)
I would still like to see him drink more so I will take advantage of your advice. Thanks again, I'm trying to keep calm about this -- this being my first horse and all.
 

G.Gracious

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You know what works really well? Cut up bits of apple and put them in the water bucket (like apple bobbing), when your horse tries to get at the apple he will have to choice but to take in some of the water too.
 

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