Over the past five years, vet Stephen Ashdown has written many articles, spoken on equine matters and contributed widely to horse magazines.

Here he reproduces in the form of questions and answers about 100 topics, all of them common problems which afflict horses.

To access Topics click on Vet Advice Menu.

Magpies are Pecking at my Horse
Q My 30-Year old Mare kept coming in from the field with small wounds on her, not big enough to be done by another horse.

Imagine my horror when I saw my mare lying in the field, where she sleeps very soundly, with magpies pecking at her.She has now had wounds to the bulbs of her heels, under her tail and, most recently, to the whorl of her star. Have you heard of this happening before and is there anything I can do to prevent them doing this to her?

A As you know, magpies can be quite aggressive and assertive birds. Horses and other animals will tolerate birds giving them a peck, particularly if it is to help get rid of ticks and other parasites.

However, this situation does sound like it is getting out of hand. It may be that if your old horse did not sleep so well and had a bit more liveliness she would not allow the birds to get away with this so much. You could try giving your horse a 'pick-up' product. Alternatively, try keeping your mare with other horses that will not tolerate the magpie problems.


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