It is no surprise that ponies on a restricted diet resort to eating their bedding. Wood shavings are often suggested as an inedible bedding material, to discourage such behaviour. However, recent research suggests shavings may not be as unpalatable as generally supposed.
In fact, horses and ponies on a severely restricted diet may actually consume considerable quantities of wood shavings, as research conducted at Liverpool University Veterinary School demonstrated.
Figures obtained during the study suggested that at least half of the animals had been supplementing their diet from an alternative “non-feed” source. Almost half (5/12) appeared to have consumed over 1kg of wood shavings a day.
Although some ponies had eaten negligible amounts of shavings, others appeared to have eaten more than 3kg a day.
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