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Toxic behavior- feeding time

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Last activity 2021-12-06 12:05 PM
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   General Discussion -> Barrel Talk
Reg. May 2009
Posted 2021-12-05 9:12 AM
Subject: Toxic behavior- feeding time

Warrior Mom

Posts: 4229

I have 4 horses. My barn is set up where they each share a fence line in their runs. When I come out to feed morning and at night... they all turn into complete nightmares... running at each other... kicking the fence . Lunging at one another like it's going to be a fight to the death for a meal. They all have 24/7 access to a full Hay net in their stalls so they are never without food per say... its awful. I dread feeding time lately. I have the youngest tied right now because she charged the fence when I went to open to come in with her feed bucket.. I swatted her pretty hard in the mouth and she turned and tried to double barrel at me. She didn't get to eat .. she's still tied until I calm down. I know she picked that up from the others kicking at each other at feed time. The older horses know better than to cross me when I come in but they are still nasty to each other. I'm not even sure what I can do. Changing up my stalls and runs isn't an option. I have 1 other pen on the side that's separate from the barn and I put the most toxic one out there but it changes! I remove the worst offender and another will just take his place. I have a good mind to just quit feeding them hard feed all together for a while and only giving hay so they have nothing to fight about. But not sure that'd work for them. 2 are used a lot and the filly gets worked 3 to 4 times a week. Only 1 is pretty much retired and he isn't he one who starts all this.. he's quiet and doesn't want any trouble.  After I pour feed everyone is happy and quiet and there's no drama until next feeding lol! Any tips? Or solutions?? 

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Reg. Jan 2009
Posted 2021-12-05 12:08 PM
Subject: RE: Toxic behavior- feeding time

Location: South Dakota

A good long stock whip, and remind them, that you are the boss mare. They all need to make room, when mama comes to feed. Be consistent about it, anytime, you are around them, they need to acknowledge, and move for you. Things happen, even when you have law and order, and when there isn't, it could get dangerous. 

Another thought, tie them all up, before you feed, and do your thing in peace and quiet, as they learn to wait. 

Best of luck with them! 

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Reg. May 2004
Posted 2021-12-05 1:46 PM
Subject: RE: Toxic behavior- feeding time

Military family

Keeper of the King Snake

Posts: 7083
Location: Dubach, LA

Yep. I tie their smart little a**es up and make them watch me take my time pouring feed out. Then I'd untie them slowly, one at the time, starting with the next CE one first. If anybody pulled on my he would be tied up again.

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lonely va barrelxr
Reg. Apr 2005
Posted 2021-12-05 4:35 PM
Subject: RE: Toxic behavior- feeding time

Reaching for the stars....

Posts: 12601

I have one who is the Alien at feed time - and with hooves flying. Way back when she was younger she would run off anyone she ate with or near. I became the monster lady with buckets. I did that for months - threw buckets at her to back her off. I climbed the fence many times and chased her, sometimes stilll throwing buckets. She still makes plenty of noise, kicks out with one back, and bucks in place. But if I stop and call her name she stops still and looks at me until I release her. I also did the hay only approach for any time I had no choice but to put another horse in with her. It works remarkably well with her. Seems to be anticipation of the bucket feed that makes her crazy. 

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Reg. May 2009
Posted 2021-12-05 6:18 PM
Subject: RE: Toxic behavior- feeding time

Warrior Mom

Posts: 4229

Your story reminds me of when my rooster came at me the first time.. experienced chicken people told me to run at him while hollering and making a ruckus till he runs from you scared .. being the alpha in the chicken pen lol! 

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Reg. Oct 2013
Posted 2021-12-05 9:01 PM
Subject: RE: Toxic behavior- feeding time

I just read the headlines

Posts: 4433

Positive Reinforcement training, but you MUST learn how to do it right. Most people don't understand it. It's not bribing. It's proven scientifically to be highly effective. 

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Reg. Apr 2015
Posted 2021-12-06 12:05 PM
Subject: RE: Toxic behavior- feeding time


Posts: 203
Location: Montgomery TX

oh girl - I had one of these and he was awful!  I used a lunge whip to keep him off me, he would charge, bite at me, whirl and double barrel kick at me.  you name it, it was in his aresenal - and started working to teach him back up (cuz he would crowd/rush the food tub), wait and eat.  A couple weeks of consistency and he was like a new animal.  now ALL my horses are taught back up (out of my space), wait and eat - no lunge whip required.  And they don't get fed til they are acting respectful. i make them "wait" until they are standing quietly before I realease them to "eat".  I won't lie, it was crazy at first, but now it is a blessing and feeding time is an enjoyable time.

if you have multiple horses acting out - maybe tie them in the beginning as you start to work on things one at a time.


Good luck!!  not only is it stressful and intimidating, it also can be a dangerous situation and we certainly don't want any one getting hurt, horses or people - but you know that!  


Edited by bten 2021-12-06 1:33 PM
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