What Makes a Horse Eat His Own Manure?

Horse eating from grass field.
Horse eating from grass field. (Image: Design Pics/Design Pics/Getty Images)

The ingestion of feces is called coprophagia, and horses are known to engage in it. This behavior may become a cause of veterinary concern and a health risk to the horse and other nearby horses.

Improving Digestion

Foals often eat their mother's manure as a way to introduce necessary bacteria into their colon for digestive purposes. Similarly, an adult horse may be attempting to improve its colonic immunity or digestive tract.

Age as a Factor

It is considered normal for foals at 2 to 5 months of age to eat their own feces, for the reasons detailed above. However, an adult horse eating its own feces is a cause for concern, particularly because it may indicate an unbalanced diet.

Possible Causes

A lack of roughage or protein in food or any type of unbalanced diet can lead to equine coprophagia. Boredom or lack of exercise may also be a cause for the behavior.

Similar Behaviors

Coprophagia is a behavioral problem that is closely related to pica, a condition in which the animal ingests dirt or gravel, and which also often indicates a dietary imbalance.


A veterinarian should be contacted if an adult horse is seen repeatedly engaging in coprophagia. He or she will carefully analyze the horse's diet and make recommendations for dietary improvement.

Related Searches


Promoted By Zergnet


You May Also Like

Related Searches

Check It Out

How to Make an Elevated Dog Feeder

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!