Copper

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Meg Z, May 30, 2006.

  1. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    Copper is toxic, yes.
    There can also be copper deficiencies, yes.

    So, it has recently been pointed out out to me that the area we live in is copper deficient along with the selenium. The person who brought this to my attention told me that I was risking a deficiency by provided feed and minerals that did not have added copper.

    I told this person that I had read that as little as 10ppm in minerals has killed lambs. Her reply was to keep the minerals away from the lambs, and only allow access to the adults. Now, since the lambs are half the size of their mothers at six weeks old, that's not practical.

    I want neither toxicity nor deficiency. I do make the assumption that defeciency would be treatable, at least more so than toxicity. How do I find a balance?

    The TSC here sells sheep/goat feed with 'no less than 20ppm copper' and sheep minerals with up 20ppm. I've been buying elsewhere, on special order. Should I?

    Meg
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    It's really a question for a local vet as they'd be up to speed what you need locally. Can't say I've heard of such low ppm's being a problem. Mollasas in feed would give you more than that.
     

  3. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    Ross, my vet is an equine vet. There aren't many sheep around here. What would you consider 'high' ppm for copper in a feed? I have no real basis to judge any amount, so have been going the 'NO copper' route.

    I knew you'd be the one to respond :) ...at least the first one!
    MEg
     
  4. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    It's a real shot in the dark as to what is too much or if you're sheep are deficient. I wouldn't worry about molassas, which is high (1000ppm+ if my tired brain is remembering right) but more difficult to digest/absorb but a cattle mineral block with that much as a suppliment is toxic. I don't worry about added copper below 50ppm here, after talking to my vet. My vet also kept sheep but had to get rid of them as they were suffering from copper poisoning. Not that his limit was wrong but it was wrong for his ground which had a history of hog manure being spread on it. Hog manure is high in copper and grass absorbs it very well making the forage crops high!!! So its not just whats safe and whats not, some copper is hard to digest, and you may have more than you think, especially if you buy hay. I always say no supplimental copper added to feed, but my limit is that 50ppm or less.
     
  5. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    Thanks, Ross, that gives me something to think about. At least I know this property hasn't had any stock other than a couple pleasure horses and a chicken or two on it for 50 years!

    Now I at least have a starting place...thanks.

    Meg