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The Importance of Free Choice Mineral Feeding In Ruminants

by Jeff Hunter

Cattle, Sheep and Goats depend on free choice mineral for much of their nutrition during the grazing season. During the summer grazing period free choice mineral provides necessary minerals and sometimes vitamins. Most producers are aware of the need to feed free choice mineral, however many have asked ‘why is it needed’?

Free Choice Mineral feeding is unique to ruminant livestock (and horses) because they are grazing animals. Free Choice Mineral should be fed year-around, however it is of particular importance during the grazing/maintenance period. Free Choice Mineral is often the only supplemental nutrition during the grazing season which often coincides with the maintenance stage of production.

Characterists of a good free choice mineral are...

Feeding Free Choice Mineral is necessary. Some of the reasons are as follows. During the grazing season and other times when concentrate is not fed, free choice mineral becomes the sole source of supplemental minerals. Forage has a variable mineral content and nutritional value. Early grazed forage is high in water content, thus it has a low mineral content. This early forage has several mineral deficiencies; an example is the low magnesium level of pasture which causes grass tetany. Mineral consumption varies according to forage and feed quality. When feed quality is low, animals will consume more mineral to meet their nutritional needs. When concentrates are fed and forage quality is higher, animals will eat less free choice mineral. Mineral feeders should always be full and never run empty.

Free choice mineral Discounts

Discounted Prices For Pallet Quantities Purchased In May and June. Save $1.50/bag

2:1 Beef Mineral, 2:1 Beef Mineral High Magnesium, and

2:1 Beef Mineral w/ Altosid (48 bags/pallet)

Sheep Mineral, Sheep Mineral w/ Deccox, and Sheep Mineral w/Vitamins (48 bags/pallet)

Sheep Mineral w/ Rabon and No Phosphorous Sheep Mineral (24 bags/pallet)

Goat Mineral and Goat Mineral w/ Deccox (24 bags/pallet)

Order a pallet And receive $1.50/bag discount Go Back to Articles