Mineral Deficiences and Livestock (& Humans Also)

Discussion in 'Cattle' started by Ken Scharabok, Oct 12, 2003.

  1. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    If you subscribe to Countryside and Small Stock Journal, be sure to read the letter on page 14-15, "Lack of minerals may be our downfall". The gist of the letter is mineral deficiences are the cause of many of the illnesses in both man and livestock.

    Some examples During WW-II the rejection rate for Southern draftees was much higher than those from the North. This was attributed to a general lack of calcium in their diet. The area which roughly includes the states along the western U.S./Canadian border and around the Great Lakes were known as "The Goiter Belt", due to a lack of iodine in the soil. This is the primary reason iodine is added to table salt. Some Gulf Coast states have soils deficient in selenium. In New Zealand rock salt is spread on pastures. Animals eating dirt or unusual things is usually a sign of a raging mineral deficiency.

    Some years ago I told Jd (former editor of CS&SSJ) of a story I had heard where deer in England were observed catching and eating rabbits. He challanged me to prove it and I did find a reference in his extensive library of deer being observed catching and eating fish. On the England story, I believed then, and still do, the deer were seeking calcium. It is not beyond reason they started by eating rabbit skeletons and then associated the skeletons with the live rabbits. It only takes one to start a pattern.

    Trace minerals can be provided to livestock in block salt or added to mixed feed*. For humans there are one-a-day vitamin and mineral tablets. As I noted in another post, if a bottle calf isn't doing well, consider adding a crushed up child's multi-vitamin and mineral tablet to the milk replacer.

    *That's one of the reasons I have square baled hay finely chopped and mixed with ground/chrushed corn, dried molasses, salt and pasture minerals for my weaned calves.

    When you have soil tests done on your fields, pastures or garden, pay the extra to have the trace mineral analysis done also. Almost all soil in the U.S. now needs supplemental calcium (crushed limestone) and may need more than just NPK also.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     
  2. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Ken, I will look for the article. I attended a seminar put on by a vet from Saskatchewan and that was the topic. The sad thing is that the people that beleive in it do it and keep reseaching and those that don't just refuse to change. It's gotten worse up here because since BSE, the price of cattle has dropped dramatically so people are cutting costs and others beleive that they can sell their cattle as BSE Free because they haven't put anything into them. With mineral, our calving goes well and our calves seem healthier and so are the horses. My first experience with trace minerals was when we imported cattle from Colorado, late in the year and we found out at calving time that the area they originated was selenium deficient.
     

  3. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    When I buy a load of new cattle I leave them in the corral for a couple of days to settle down. In it they have free access to a trace mineral salt block. Some spend a lot of time at the block. Perhaps they were salt deficient, but I suspect there was also a mineral deficiency there as well.

    Received an e-mail from someone asking why their dogs were eating dirt - as in leaving a hole much like deer leave in the ground to get at a dissolved salt block. I adviser her to take the dogs to a vet and have them tested for a mineral deficiency. I suggested they also give them a candy-like childrens' multi-vitamin and mineral tablet a day (such as the Flintstone ones). They didn't update me on what they did.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     
  4. wr

    wr Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    We always keep new cattle in and always keep mineral available but because of import/export laws they came up so darned close to calving that trace selenium wasn't enough for the calves. I recall that episode as being one of the worst times in the time I'd been involved in cattle. Deficient horses will also eat dirt. Trace mineral problems are bad at best but if you're in an extremely cold climate, it seems to magnify the problem.
     
  5. Gary

    Gary Member

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    Alot of TM salt blocks for cattle are 96% salt so you really need to check out the ingredigents.I give the loose salt with
    kelp mixed with it for micro nutrients they wouldn't otherwise get
     
  6. mysticokra

    mysticokra Well-Known Member

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    Allan Nation has gleaned the experience of Gordon Hazard into his book "Pasture Profits with Stocker Cattle". There were several "mineral ideas" that seemed important.

    1). Hunchbacks on older cows indicates low calcium or low selenium.

    2). Animals low in selenium will scour. Strung out manure indicates low selenium.

    3). Dung on the tail indicates worms.

    4). Manure on each side of the butt indicates coccidiosis.

    5). Lack of minerals can make animals wild and crazy.

    6). Animals licking each other indicates a lack of sodium.

    7). Animals developing an unusually large head indicates the need for cobalt.

    8). A brown tinge to black hair indicates a lack of copper.


    These are just a few of the goodies in the book. It's one of the few places I have found such practical experience gathered into one place.
     
  7. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Does anyone remember Joel Salatin's mix of loose salt, kelp and DE? I'm pretty sure the ratio is 3/2/1; respectively, but don't remember by weight or volume. He also provides Shaklee Basic H in their drinking water. The Salatins do not worm their cattle, but then they do have a closed herd so many not be bringing in problems.
     
  8. Gary

    Gary Member

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    I'll ask Joel at the next VICFA meeting.In our beef cattle herd
    in the last 30 years we have never wormed or had to give
    antibiotics,we raise our own replacement hefiers and only go
    outside the herd for bulls.Plenty of good pasture thats not over grazed,a good mineral fed free choice and a plentiful supply
    of good clean fresh water (something thats often overlooked)
    are a receipe for healthy and profitable beef cattle herd.Also I've found that the quality of hay is not nearly as important as
    giving them all they can eat in the winter.We also constantly
    cull our herd of any problem cows that don't fit it into our management program.We have had brood cows that were productiive into their late teens
     
  9. Jena

    Jena Well-Known Member

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    I do not use trace mineral blocks. They are mostly salt and the minerals in them are not as easily absorbed by the animals. For salt, I buy salt blocks.

    For mineral, I buy a quality mineral mix, which varies by season and pasture. I have fescue pasture, so I use a fescue mix during grazing season. In fly season, I use the stuff with fly larvae inhibitor. In winter I use plain old mineral with vitamin ADE.

    Check with your vet or feed store (I usually like vet's advice best, they aren't selling anything) to see what is the right mineral for your area, but don't depend on those trace mineral blocks to provide what your cattle need.

    Jena
     
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  10. SHELBY

    SHELBY Well-Known Member

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    does anyone know where I could get this book?
     
  11. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Allan Nation is editor of Stockman Grass Farmer and has written six books I know of Farm Fresh Direct Marketing Meats & Milk; Knowledge Rich Ranching; Pasture Profits With Stocker Cattle, Paddock Shift Changing views on grassland farming; Grass Farmers and Quality Pastures How to creat it, manage it and profit from it. All are available from their book store at 800-748-9808. A bit pricy as they are limited runs.

    Ken S. in WC TN