Vitamins and minerals

Choosing the proper mineral supplement for sheep will be terribly tricky. Sheep require macro and micro (trace) minerals and you would like to grasp what minerals are deficient (or excess) in your area and in your feedstuffs. Mineral supplements vary from trace mineralized salt (TMS) fortified with selenium to finish mineral mixes containing all of the macro and micro minerals needed by sheep.

In general, TMS fortified with selenium is all that’s needed during the spring and summer when sheep are grazing high quality pastures containing a lot of than 20 p.c clover. Complete mineral mixes are recommended when grazing low quality roughages, beginning four weeks before breeding, during breeding, and during late gestation and early lactation.

Studies have clearly shown that selenium supplementation for pregnant ewes via a mineral mix is superior to selenium injections in late gestation. When high grain diets, sure various feeds, or silage are fed to sheep, further calcium is required within the diet.

The most important minerals are calcium, phosphorus, salt (NaCl), and selenium.

Sources of calcium and phosphorus

Source % Calcium % Phosphorus
 Bonemeal 24 12
 Dicalcium Phosphate 25 18.5
 Limestone 38 0
 Sodium Phosphate 0 22
 Alfalfa leaf meal 2.88 0.34
 Dried kelp 2.72 0.31
 Trace mineral mix 14-18 8-10

It has been scientifically proven that animals are unable to work out the proper balance and amount of minerals required when fed free selection. Some animals might consume additional of what they are doing not want, whereas others might not consume enough (or any), even if they are required. It’s thus counseled, that minerals be thoroughly blended with the ration wherever possible to ensure proper supplementation. But if this is not doable, minerals will be mixed with loose salt.

Granular or “loose” styles of minerals are most well-liked to blocks. Blocks are onerous on the teeth and consumption could be less. Mineral feeders ought to be stuffed with contemporary mineral, placed in readily available areas and shielded from the weather. Sporadic feeding of minerals could cause animals to “binge”. Coccidiostats and antibiotics will be incorporated into mineral mixes.

Sheep ought to not be fed commercial feeds and mineral mixes that have been formulated for different animal species as a result of these product contain copper. Sheep cannot tolerate excess copper in their diets. Excess copper is stored in the liver and can cause a toxic reaction, ensuing within the death of the sheep.

Copper nutrition is difficult, involving interactions with alternative minerals. Producers should not provide supplemental copper to their sheep unless a deficiency has been documented via laboratory tests.

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