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View Full Version : Cribbing and haylage - haylage balancer?



now_loves_mares
28-12-09, 09:18 PM
My 5yo TB cribs all the time. She spends plenty time outdoors and is never without forage etc etc. It doesn't really seem to do her any harm but she runs a little leaner than I'd like in winter. I saw an advert for NAF haylage balancer, which said that the higher acid content of haylage can make it worse. As my other mare has RAO I have to feed haylage, and can't store hay anyway as I have no real indoor space. Is this true; has anyone tried the balancer and noticed a difference? (Realising of course that this was advertising copy, not independant research http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif). She is on topspec balancer, alfa, topspec calm and condition cubes and sugar beet as hard feed, plus of course ad lib haylage day and night.

Not sure if it will really work with her anyway as she cribs just as much in summer when out 24/7, but anything is worth a try!

As, an aside I read that stable toys such as trickle feeders are bad for cribbers as it frustrates them, and that horseball type toys are better. This totally makes sense with my mare as she likes instant gratification http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Box_Of_Frogs
28-12-09, 11:30 PM
Excuse my cynicism but to me (personal opinion!) Haylage Balancer is just another way to separate hard working horse owners from their s. Cribbing is established when a horse isn't kept in a natural enough horsey way, ie max time turned out with company and fed a fibre based feed with ad lib forage. What happens when this isn't done is the horse gets indigestion as the stomach walls keep on producing gastric juices ready to deal with the forage that SHOULD be coming through permanently in a trickle feeder like the horse. The unused acid in the stomach can eventually cause belly aches and ulcers. The horse desperately tries to swallow ANYTHING to stop the bellyache and that's where cribbing and wind sucking comes from. At the same time, these stereotypical behaviours cause endorphins to be released into the horse's brain - a horsey feelgood drug. Even if the horse is subsequently kept in excellent conditions, they still enjoy the endorphin release and they continue to do it, although at a much lower level. I'd just carry on doing what you're doing - plenty of turnout, ad lib forage etc etc and quietly accept that your ned will always have a leaning to this behaviour. Bit like me and cream cakes.

clairec1154
29-12-09, 08:44 AM
I feed my old boy (22yr TB x) who is a cribber haylage as it keeps the weight on him much better than hay. If you want to invest in a supplement I would try Settlex rather than a haylage balancer. It is designed to settle stomachs. I found it helped a bit, but to be honest like box_of_frogs said once they have formed the habit it is almost impossible to stop it.

Does she have company in the field?

_HP_
29-12-09, 11:31 AM
I agree with BOF but will add that if your mare is cribbing all the time I would get her checked asap, by the vet for possible ulcers.

now_loves_mares
29-12-09, 02:51 PM
[ QUOTE ]
Excuse my cynicism but to me (personal opinion!) Haylage Balancer is just another way to separate hard working horse owners from their s. Cribbing is established when a horse isn't kept in a natural enough horsey way, ie max time turned out with company and fed a fibre based feed with ad lib forage. What happens when this isn't done is the horse gets indigestion as the stomach walls keep on producing gastric juices ready to deal with the forage that SHOULD be coming through permanently in a trickle feeder like the horse. The unused acid in the stomach can eventually cause belly aches and ulcers. The horse desperately tries to swallow ANYTHING to stop the bellyache and that's where cribbing and wind sucking comes from. At the same time, these stereotypical behaviours cause endorphins to be released into the horse's brain - a horsey feelgood drug. Even if the horse is subsequently kept in excellent conditions, they still enjoy the endorphin release and they continue to do it, although at a much lower level. I'd just carry on doing what you're doing - plenty of turnout, ad lib forage etc etc and quietly accept that your ned will always have a leaning to this behaviour. Bit like me and cream cakes.

[/ QUOTE ]

Hmm I think mine might be an exception. I've owned her since she was 8 months old,and know her history from birth. She has never been without company, turnout or forage pretty much every second of her life!! She is rather more the type that she figured the endorphins as a sort of crack http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/ooo.gif

I've also had her scoped for ulcers and the vet was quite impressed as she had one of the cleanest stomach linings he'd seen - she's a fraud basically http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

I agree with the cynicism - just wanted to make sure I wasn't ignoring something that could help. Luckily she's not on livery so it's only my wood she destroys!

Oh LOL at the cream cakes, for me it's red wine http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif

teddyt
29-12-09, 04:51 PM
How was she weaned? The weaning process can cause ulcers. As can feeding cereals to foals (or youngsters), before, during or after weaning.

She may have had ulcers as a foal, developed cribbing to ease discomfort and now does it due to the endorphin release even though the original cause has ceased.

I personally agree with boxoffrogs, the balancer is advertised to play on owners emotions. I also think it contains something (cant remember what!) that aims to lower the ph in the stomach. This has actually been researched elsewhere and has been shown to be counter-productive because the stomach then produces more acid to raise the ph again.