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Myth: “Giving horses a lump of rock salt may induce crib-biting”

Truth: No scientific evidence to back this up

Registered nutritionist Teresa Hollands says: “From a nutritional point of view, there is no reason why this should be true.”

Professor Christine Nichol, a professor of animal welfare, says: “Having studied crib-biting a lot, I wouldn’t have thought that rock salt would be an original cause of the behaviour.

“Once a horse has started crib-biting, the behaviour becomes increasingly distant from whatever originally caused it, and an established crib-biter can be induced to crib-bite by feeding almost anything.

“We have increasing evidence that crib-biting is linked to nutritional factors, rather than boredom or stress, but I think it’s unlikely that rock salt would be an original cause.”

  • This formed part of a feature in Horse & Hound’s feeding special (13 October, ’05)

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