What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Foal or Newborn, Eating Manure


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.

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    Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

your role


What To Do

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.

your vet's role

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.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Is your mare's general health good?
  • When was your mare last dewormed, and what was used?
  • Does your foal seem normal otherwise?
  • Is the foal showing any signs of abdominal pain (colic)?
  • Does the foal appear bright, alert and responsive?
  • Does your foal have diarrhea?

further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP