'free choice' mineral feeding

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by len, Mar 2, 2004.

  1. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    central Ontario
    since I changed to grass hay mid-winter, my sheep are eating mineral like it is candy. The tag on the bag says to offer it 'free choice', then says 'limit intake to 10 grams per head per day'. Hmmm...
    What do other folks do?
    thanks,
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I'm just glad if mine eat any. Crazy things are terrible at eating the stuff, and I've tried every type available here. If they are eating too much maybe they really need more salt? Do you use blocks or loose? We've just started using Smartlic tubs and they do seem to be making a difference. Frisky-er lambs and the older stock seems a bit more alert. They are using quite a bit but I'm going to give a it a fair trial. For the purist these tubs do contain feather meal, and I already agree it's a stupid ingrediant. Even sawdust would be better! Although I have caught a few sheep plucking feathers off the ducks and chickens.
     

  3. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    yes, I had trouble finding mineral they would eat too until I tried this stuff. Made by Land O' Lakes, smells great and sheep love it. $C20 per 25 kilogram bag. From memory about equal parts calcium and phosphorous (about 12% each) and also contains sodium which the tag says is equivalent to about 14% salt. I use loose salt but if the mineral is available they will not eat much salt. My small bales of clover hay were salted when I put them in the barn but the big round bales of grass hay I am feeding now were not salted of course so the sheep may be needing more salt but I'm surprised they go after the mineral first.
    If I feed it free choice, 120 sheep will eat a bag a week...if I limit feed it, the latecomers do not get any.
    Think I'll give Land O' Lakes a call and see what they say.
    thanks
     
  4. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    For a time they'd eat either Land O lakes or Shur Gain if I alternated it. Did Land O lakes have anything to say yet?
     
  5. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    yes, Land O' Lakes thought it was salt they were after. They suggested mixing equal parts of salt and mineral together in order to satisfy the salt craving and reduce the mineral intake. So I'm trying that...will let you know how it works.

    I tried Agrico sheep mineral last year, sheep wouldn't touch it, offered it to the cattle and even they weren't crazy about it.