Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Foal or Newborn, Eating Manure

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

    Consumption of manure is a common and normal behavior in foals. It is thought to help establish a population of normal microbes in the equine gut, necessary for proper digestion, and especially around the time of the transition from milk to forage.

    It could be a concern if the foal is eating manure from horses that have not been properly de-wormed. It also could be more common in foals that lack adequate feed, and it is more common in foals kept in dry lot situations.


    Assess your foal’s general health paying particular attention to their attitude and appetite. Monitor the foal for any other signs of illness or abnormalities, and for normal growth and development. As long as the foal is active and nursing vigorously, this observation should not cause concern. However, when in doubt, contact your vet with your findings and concerns.


    If your vet is concerned about the foal’s health as it relates to manure consumption, evaluation starts with a physical exam, and assessment of management. Fecal testing may suggest a parasite problem, but is not always reliable in foals.

    Helpful Terms & Topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


    We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.