Why do Horses eat their beds?

Horses are, by nature, designed to live on a diet of low quality grassland. This means that they need to consume huge quantities of grass and forage in order to survive and meet their nutritional demands. Wild horses will spend around 16 hours a day grazing.

Most horses in Ireland live inside for a large portion of the day, especially during the winter months. Most yards provide rationed hay which is often consumed within a few hours, thus leaving the horse with nothing to eat for a large majority of the day. A horse, when given the choice, will rarely go for more than two hours without eating and will never go over three hours. It's easy to see why many horses are compelled to eat their straw beds!

One way to solve the problem of bed eating is to turn out the horse more often and allow them access to grass. Another option is to provide adlib hay (constant access to hay). Small holed haynets are brilliant for slowing down greedy horses!

Horses tend to eat their beds out of hunger and/or boredom. Understanding horse behaviour and habits is the first step in correcting any unwanted habits. Although eating their straw bed isn't detrimental to a horses health, it is a practice that can be curbed and corrected.


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