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horses keep eating the sheep minerals


bcnewe2
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I have 2 horses living with the sheep. They are wonderful horses, very good with the sheep. Problem is that I can't keep enough minerals out there for the sheep cause every time I turn around the horses have eaten it all. They will push the sheep right off the stand. I can see the mineral feeder from the office so I see how much those horses have their nose it it.

 

Anyone else run into this issue. We could go through about 50 lbs a week and there are only 12 sheep here at the moment. I've taken to rashining it out, every couple days I refill it instead of when it's empty. It has been empty everytime I go out there.

 

Last trip to the feedstore I noticed there was a mineral block for sheep. I've always fed loose, heard blocks will chip teeth so was hesitant to try it.

Ideas?

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it's a start. I'd be filling it up way to often even if I could keep the horses out of it. But it does give me ideas. Something to block their big ol heads from getting in while letting the sheep access it.

With in a month or so I'll have 70 sheep or more, I need something bigger. But I forget, 1 of the horses is leaving next month too. So guess it'll cut down the horses consumption by 1/2. I think it's the sweet that attracts them. I'm not much of a horse person although I've learned allot over this winter, do they need some type minerals for themselves? These guys get a bit of alfalfa and all the grass hay they could want. We also add DE to our minerals. It's not really my idea but landlords. I'm just not sure the DE does enough to warrent the hassle of adding it to anything.

 

Thanks, I'm brainstorming now!

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I was just going to mention that some commercial mineral mixes smell like they have molasses in them (e.g., TSC's Dumor minerals). I'd be willing to bet that's why the horses are sucking them down. When I've had to use the sweet-smelling minerals my sheep go through it much faster than when I use the custom made stuff that isn't sweetened. While I believe it's important for sheep to get enough minerals, I wonder at the practice of adding something sweet, since it seems to me that would just encourage them to overindulge.

 

J.

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I think the last few bags were dumor. I will look for something else. Maybe try a different feed store.

Thanks I'm pretty sure I agree. I left a bag in my car for a while. Even I thought it smelled good!

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Horses would probably like a mineral salt block. That might cut down on some of their mineral-snarfing.

 

What about putting the mineral in an enclosure that allows the sheep to walk under the fencing, but it's too tall for the horses to reach over? Some farmers out in the valley, here, put some sort of calf supplement in a feeder that the calves can walk into, but there are bars/rails at cow-chest height, so the mama cows can't get in to eat the calves' rations.

 

~ Gloria

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I was going to suggest what Gloria does- put the minerals in a small area with a door small enough for the sheep to get in, but not the horses. Could even just be some panels and t-posts across a corner of the pasture.

 

The horses should have access to horse minerals- I like to use loose rather than blocks. PUT THE HORSE MINERALS IN A FEEDER ABOVE SHEEP LEVEL! Horse minerals have a level of copper in them that is good for horses, but too high for sheep. I mounted mineral feeder on a top fence rail so my horses can get to it, but it's above sheep level.

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Ahhhhhh

See I was thinking in the right direction. I figured the horses were missing something. They have no horse minerals. I manage this place for a friend. They are her horses, she provides the feed and directions for me to follow. I've mentioned this issue to her several times, she's never came back with the proper information about them needing their own minerals. I will see about getting them a mineral feeder that I can place out of the sheep's reach (which won't be easy) and that might just stop the whole sheep mineral stealing.

 

Thanks guys, glad I asked!

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Yup, mineral granules or blocks are what I consider a necessity for horses. I like blocks if your area is prone to rain or wind, but whatever works. As Ben (aka Nick) said, though, keep the horse mineral above sheep reach. (There are all sorts of plastic or metal feeders one can hook to a fence, for horse mineral.) To each species their own goodies! :)

 

Good luck sorting it all out.

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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It's gonna have to be a high fence. I used to have a llama, the sheep would steal his grain. Never could get it high enough for him to still reach it while the sheep didn't. Had one ol girl that I swear could climb the fence to get to his grain. But I think the horses are taller than the llama was.

Thanks again guys.

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No horses = no problems. Seems like an easy fix to me :rolleyes:

 

Most mineral mixtures use a salt as the attractant and limiter. There's a very fast biofeedback loop that both demands and limits the intake of sodium. You've probably experienced it yourself: you simply must have a potato chip RIGHT NOW and then after a few (or a few bags, depending on how you're wired) you start to feel like just more more would make you sick.

 

A good mineral is formulated so that when a sheep has eaten enough salt to satisfy its need for sodium, it has also taken in the right amounts of calcium, phosphorus, cobalt, iodine, selenium, and all the other necessary trace minerals. Putting something sweet in as an attractant will almost certainly lead to over-consumption. Good for TSC, not so good for your pocketbook, and potentially problematic for your sheep.

 

Another footnote on mineral feeding: ideally, you should put out enough mineral to last a day or two, but never let the sheep actually run out. Store the mineral in a way that limits its exposure to light, air, and of course, water. Oxidation is your enemy.

 

And you're right to avoid sheep blocks. They are either too hard and will cause tooth problems, or they are soft and sweet and will break the bank.

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So seems like I'm really using the wrong mineral mix. I agree, good for TSC not so much for my pocket! I"m goign to have to try a different store cause they only offer one brand.

 

Love your answer for horse problem but they're here for a while longer, then I think one is leaving but the other one might be my buddy for quite some time.

 

I used to use loose salt along with minerals. They did eat both but after a few years I began to wonder why I was offering them seprate when the minerals already had salt in them.

 

Now that we're on the subject.

LEt's talk about DE.

Owner of the place was having me mix 50/50 DE with the minerals. I couldn't get it out fast enough cause IMO the sheep were eating to much of the mix trying to get enough minerals but getting DE in high amounts too.

I did some experimenting....personaly I don't think adding DE to the minerals is doing a darn thing, owner is still not convinced. So I add about a 1/4 ratio now. Seems like they aren't scarfing it down as quick as they did and yes we still have worm issues, did with a bunch of DE added, hasn't changed with taking it out!

 

I love DE for pest control in a barn or anywhere there's a fly issue but have never seen any improvements in feeding direct.

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