When Should I Use Blocks Or Loose Minerals?

A look at how to decide when to use block vs. loose minerals for your livestock

Posted by Brooke Loeffler on Jul 31, 2023 6:27:05 PM

Pros to Both Block and Loose Minerals

Both mineral forms have advantages depending upon your particular livestock operation. Some prefer the convenience of blocks, while others enjoy the increased intake with loose minerals. Let’s look at some questions you can ask yourself to help inform your mineral choices.

Boredom Behaviors

Are your animals displaying signs of boredom? Boredom can cause animals to engage in repetitious and sometimes harmful habits like cribbing, property destruction, self-biting, etc. Try throwing out a couple extra blocks to keep destructive, bored behavior at bay and your animals will occupy themselves licking away. Offering salt mineral blocks is a nutritious and tasty way to provide enrichment.

Pecking Order

Are your animals competing for access to their minerals? Time to try some loose minerals. Offering loose minerals in more spacious feeders gives access to animals who are lower in the pecking order. If you have a mineral bully in the group, pour out loose minerals in multiple locations so they can’t deny access to others.

Season/Time of Year

Are your animals’ bodies working extra hard or going through added stress? Animals need more electrolytes during certain times of year. Offering loose minerals during these times ensures they can replenish minerals more easily. 

  • Heightened activity: calving, breeding, lactation, before and after long rides (for horses)
  • Weather stress: hot summer and cold winter months (remember licking mineral blocks can be uncomfortable during sub-freezing conditions)

Lot/Pasture Size

Is the size of your lot/pasture affecting how many minerals your animals are eating? Your animals should not have to go searching to receive the minerals they need. For larger areas, provide multiple mineral stations and try a combination of blocks and loose to see what they prefer. If it looks like your animals are over-consuming, move their mineral sources a little farther away from watering and resting areas. If it looks like your animals are under-consuming, place the minerals closer to watering and resting areas.

When should I use blocks or loose minerals

Other Helpful Mineral Tips

Taste Is Everything

If your animals are not consuming enough minerals, one of the simplest fixes is to switch to a more palatable mix. Some mineral supplements include heavy doses of minerals mixed with a small amount of salt. These heavy minerals can taste bitter to your livestock, so switching to a higher ratio of salt to minerals will encourage them to ingest more.

Watch For Pica

Pica is an eating disorder where animals will chew on or lick non-food substances, such as: stones, dirt, wood, plaster, etc. If you notice these behaviors on your farm, it is most likely a sign of mineral deficiencies, namely salt. Consult your vet/nutritionist and try using a higher salt to mineral mix and offer loose minerals if you notice pica behaviors in your animals.

Delicious Mineral Supplements From Redmond

Redmond Minerals has supported healthy farms across the country for over 50 years. We know that working with animal’s instinctive salt cravings is the best way to encourage mineral intake.

Redmond blocks and loose minerals

Our ancient mineral deposit contains a delicious, natural balance of salts and over 60 trace minerals that animals love. When offered a choice between low salt/heavy mineral mixes and Redmond Minerals, animals choose our supplements every time!

Livestock loose mineralsRedmond Block Minerals

With a wide range of compressed blocks, natural rocks, and loose minerals, we can help you find the exact mix to boost animal health and increase profitability. Click on the links below to find exactly what you and your animals need to have a productive and healthy season! 

Give Redmond Minerals a call at 866-709-3192 try our minerals!

© 2023 Redmond Minerals Inc.

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