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What do folks do to get moisture into horses that dont like to drink in the winter? I have one that just doesnt care to drink when it is cold out, she has started to colic twice in 2 weeks.

Todd NE WY says 2017-01-07 22:03:45 (CST)

What are you feeding? Maybe add in a warm mash of some type of grain. Helps 2 ways gets some water in them and warms them from the inside out. I have sung it's praises before but I am a complete believer in my propane fired tank heater. It keeps the water warmer than any electric one I have tried. We have been zero or below for basically the last 2 weeks, mostly-10 to 15 at night a few down to -20. The horses have consistently drank the same amount each day even with the cold, I think it makes a big difference when the water is slightly warmer.


2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2017-01-07 23:49:46 (CST)

Are they drinking from a tank or pond that is frozen and you chop ice?

Best thing for stock is tank heater that keeps the water from freezing and keeps it at a temperature that isn't ice cold on the horse teeth or mouth.Especially these old critters that have worn teeth or some dental problems. The expense of one vet called for colic can run a stock tank heater all winter.. For sure, it is way less expensive than losing a horse due to colic

Other things to do is is give them a paste electrolyte that makes them thirsty, if graining add some loose salt to the grain, if you can make a salty water solution, sprinkle it on the hay.

If it is one horse in particular, have it's mouth check for cracked teeth ,absesses, or any problems that cold water might cause pain.
Lack of water intake is the single most cause of colic in horses during the winter

I can remember when we were filling the hay barn above the dairy cows, we would scatter loose salt across the hay bales as we built them up.

2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2017-01-08 09:12:57 (CST)

Todd and Vince wrote it, the temperature of the water may help,also the availability of minerals, especially salt. One of my horses likes to dunk mouthfuls of hay into water, so I always fill his bucket with water as soon as he has finished his oats. This way he doesn't even have to walk over to the stock tank, but dunk his hay right there where I feed him. He had a bad colic last year after eating some sweet feed, which I don't give him anymore, but it certainly would have to be soaked. By the way, that night I walked him over 11 miles, had the vet twice, and finally we took him on a one hour ride to a vet clinic. Upon arriving , when we opened the trailer, there was a big pile right behind him, so it seems lengthy trailer rides may help in case of colic, too.

2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

NoraWI says 2017-01-08 09:53:24 (CST)

Warm the water. If it's only one or two horses, carry a bucket of warm water from the house. Mine eat and drink in the barn in winter so I have an electric tank heater. Makes a lot of difference. I don't grain them either. Never had one colic. A good quality hay is good enough... actually too good, so I intersperse some stemmy first crop with it so they have something to chew on for a long time but don't get fat. But I am sure to give them a good balanced mineral/salt mixture and a bit of kelp for minerals and vitamins. Keeps them healthy.

2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Barb Lee says 2017-01-08 10:33:11 (CST)

My old horse lives on soaked timothy/alfalfa cubes. It takes quite a bit of water to soften the cubes. Mid day, all three horses get a small feed of soaked cubes with salt added, about two tablespoons in roughly two pounds of (dry) cubes. Salt consumption and thirst are directly related. They all have heated water buckets. Water consumption from the buckets is quite comparable to warm weather consumption. Also, if feeding a low protein hay, some protein should be added to the feed, as it is necessary for fiber digestion. So too low protein may lead to impaction colic.

2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

BrianL says 2017-01-08 17:09:15 (CST)

All are good suggestions. I might also add, make sure the water in the trough is clean and fresh. I know that on days when we've thoroughly cleaned out their watering tank, our gang drinks more than usual which is a good thing during winter. I've dealt with colic in the dead of winter, so anything you can do to avoid that is worth any effort.

2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Billy Foster says 2017-01-09 05:41:57 (CST)

Thanks for the responses guys…and gal
I have a propane fired stock tank heater and in the past I only worried about keeping the water open, I wasn’t too concerned about the temperature. I typically feed just hay with a little ear corn. The issue I am having is with one mule, all this started after we got a big storm and I don’t think she came out of the barn to drink for close to a day. She coliced the day after the storm. I got her through it and what seems to be working is wetting down her hay with salty water and keeping a bucket of warm water in her stall. I tried putting her back on dry hay a week later and she started colicing again. She, and the other horses, are turned out overnight as well. I am now running the tank heater a bit more to warm the water.
It sounds like I am doing what I can. I really appreciate the advice


2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2017-01-09 11:24:08 (CST)

You might check it's teeth Billy. I had a mule like that and it had s=d tooth broke off . After I had it pulled, it did ok. Must have hurt like heck when something cold hit it.

2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Ralph in N.E.Oh says 2017-01-11 21:47:36 (CST)

My horses, like many of you all, have a salt block free choice, but when I get one that doesn't seem to be drinking enough, I throw a handful of loose salt in with their speltz. They will lick it up for a day or so, then leave most of it in their feedbox. Once they start leaving it, I quit feeding it. This will usually keep them drinking quite well. I do agree with the rest that offer the suggestion of warm water in winter. Mine are given water from a stock tank kept thawed with a stock tank heater. They drink better than when I used to just break the ice open for them.

2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Barb Lee says 2017-01-12 13:32:23 (CST)

One thing to think about with getting adequate salt into the animals to stimulate water consumption. Grass (hay) is a real potassium accumulator and will take up much more than it needs for its own metabolic processes. Salt is the only mineral (or combination of minerals) that is proven to produce a craving in animals when deficient. However, excessive potassium will fool the body into thinking it has enough sodium and will shut off the craving for salt, thereby reducing intake when offered free choice. If you know your hay is fertilized with potassium - INCLUDING lots of animal manure - it's a good idea to make an effort to introduce it directly into the feed. 2 ounces per saddle horse per day is about right.

2 years ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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