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agmantoo
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Answer this. My cattle are 100% grass fed. They have never had other feed, no grain, no prepared feed. Your article states that the animals have to be trained to eat salt. My animals have salt feeders in the pasture to where it is accessible free choice. Why do they consume the salt? My cattle also eat dirt, why? Deer on the farm will not eat salt directly, they do eat the dirt where salt may have spilled. How did the deer develop the habit? Mice will chew a wooden handle from a tool to get the salt from a persons sweat that used the tool. I do not believe the article has any basis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good points.. as well as I disagree with the statement that they have to be "trained". It seems most animals will eat salt if it's available. I think I wondered more about the cattle that were not fed salt being just as productive and healthy as the ones that were. All the cattle farmers I've been in contact with had salt available in one form or another. But, the article did make me think about farming back before there were salt blocks. I mean, how much is the benefit compared to the cost/trouble. Just thinking out loud (so to speak).
 

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Retired farmer-rancher
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Agmantoo is right on. And deer on my farm will seek out the cattle salt and utilize it as well. They will eat the dirt where a block of salt once sat, if the block is gone. According to "The Stockman's Handbook", by M.E. Ensminger, cattle with salt deficiency will display a craving for salt by chewing wood and licking dirt. Also lack of appetite, rough coat and appearance , decreased efficiency of feed utilization, and decrease in milk production.
 

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I couldn't get into the link so unfortunately don't know what it says but I feed salt blocks because Kykuyu grass doesn't take up saline so it needs to be supplemented. Interestingly both the cattle and sheep will go for long periods where they don't touch them then, as a mob, will hoe into them for several weeks before leaving them alone again. I haven't taken much notice of what triggers this but suspect it may be the availability of other grasses.
No training has ever been done - they know what it is and use it according to need. And don't ever leave a salt block anywhere near pigs - they don't lick it, they eat it and that's a no-no for pigs.

Cheers,
Ronnie
 

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If animals did not require salt in their natural(wild) state, then why were/are all types of animals so attracted to naturally occuring salt licks?? I wouldn't put much stock in that gentlemans ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well it sounds like it unanimous that everyone disagrees with the article. It was good to hear the feedback and thoughts of everyone. Sounds like salt is the way to go! Thanks!
 

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Make sure you provide a mineral mix(loose is best), not just salt. Loose mineral will have salt in it and you won't need to provide it elsewhere. Selenium, copper, etc are extremely important also, so a mineral mix is the way to go. It needs to be provided free-choice.
 

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A trace mineral supplement is also good for your soil via the cows manure. It helps the microlife as well as earthworms, all of which makes helthier pasture.
 

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For milk production, you need 1/2 oz of salt for every 10 lbs of milk you are aiming to produce.

Cows no not need to be trained to eat it. Toss out a block of salt to a herd that has never seen it.

Just stay out of their way when they find it.
 

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Cattle need salt and mineral.
 
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