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Salt blocks or mineral blocks?

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OhHorsePee

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I have a trace mineral block. An acquaintance told me to just use salt blocks. Which is better with the minis?

Also, a friend is wanting to get a mini and her hubby was wandering on if a high tension electrified fence was good for these guys. Pros/cons? We had wandered ourselves about adding pasture with this fencing.

Thank you

Fran
 

Robin_C

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The best of both worlds is to offer both! They are very inexpensive and your horse will enjoy the variety. If I HAD to choose between one or the other, I would supply a WHITE salt block or loose white salt. This is the more important of the two. However, offering free choice minerals is a good idea as well, either in loose form or a block. Be careful about which mineral block you purchase as some have ingredients that were not meant for horses. Ensure that the block is safe for equines before you purchase.

Robin C
 

Minimor

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Whether it's salt block or mineral block, if you're meaning the 50 lb. blocks that are same as what people put out for their cattle, we don't use them at all. We used to use them (usually the blue cobalt salt blocks) but our horses were not using them at all. We now buy mineral blocks that are specifically made for horses. They are more porous, and so easier for the horses to chew on. Horses are not efficient at licking (as cattle are) & therefore may not get enough salt/mineral from a dense block. These ones we use, being porous, are easy for the horses to chew on. They'll bite off the corners, and even bite into the middle of the block. They do cost more, but to me they are worth the extra money because I know the horses are getting the minerals & salt that they need.
 

chandab

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I ordered loose plain white salt last time I got salt. When I got home it was loose trace mineral, which my horses don't seem to care for. They'll eat it, but they aren't too fond of it. Speaking of which, I need to put some out today, they are all out.
 

RAPfrosty

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I like to have both but at the moment I only have the salt because the store didn't have anymore mineral.
 

Debby - LB

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Already good answers about the salt so I'll address the high tensile -this is just my opinion and since I had it I feel I can give it.

High Tensile is not suitable for big horses and for minis unless you want to electrify it or better yet put a extended run of hot wire out to keep them from it, it's not for minis either.

I was talked into using it years and years ago with my big horses, one plus is they cannot get their legs caught in it like field fence. But it is very dangerous and is after having it in my opinion a second to barbed wire.

We had 4 strand and it was still here when my first minis arrived. I used high tensile and electric rope. Some paddocks were only 2 strands of electric rope -the big horses respected the electric they knew if it was off and would eventually reach through it but otherwise never touched the fence.

What I found was, miniatures are much more tenacious they'll try the fence everyday and if they find a cold spot or opening they are outa there, they actually walk through the fence head under and step over. SO all high tensil is gone from here.

A note about what I said about they can't get their legs caught in it -that's only true if it stays in place. If and insulator should break this wire's so heavy it falls down and yes they can get their legs caught between the runs of wire and it is extremely devastating if this happens.
 
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Lisa-Ruff N Tuff Minis

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Robin c wrote on here once aboutthe white salt blocks until then I had always used the trace minerals block. Now i have the trace mineral in there turn out and the white ones in there stalls I can tell you I go thru the white ones so quickly they love them and I even brought some to Nationals last year.. everyone laughed at me as I set them up in there stalls but I tell you what they were half way gone when i packed up to leave.
 

capall beag

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I use both a 50lb block of each, my horses love them!! They lick them and do fine at it!! I noticed when I first put them in, my horses had been neglected prior to me getting them, they would grind it down with their teeth, they couldn't get enough of it! Poor things!! They must have been in dire need of some salt!!
 

OhHorsePee

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Mine do have access to both, but he was going off saying I was "spending more than I have to" and then was saying "you only need one." They are not expensive at all. The more I think about it the more peed I get!

So if high tensil is out, what is the best type of fences for the little guys?

Thanks

Fran

edited to say, I knew high tensil wire WITHOUT electric was a bad idea. Had taken lots of dead deer off from the other farm before.
 
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Robin_C

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Salt is the ONE mineral that horses seek and know when they need it. That's why it's important to provide plain white salt (or iodized salt). That way the horse can choose the salt without being forced to eat the minerals.

Most nutritional research indicates that horses do not select for specific minerals (though I know there is a lot of argument against this amongst horse owners). They most likely eat a mineral block because it tastes good and as a side benefit they get the minerals the goodies contain (also most mineral blocks do contain some degree of salt, but NOT ALL of them do). Because the mineral block or loose minerals often ends up being a hit or miss affair, I top dress a mineral supplement every night so I know they are getting their daily requirements. If a horse isn't drinking well, I top dress iodized table salt as well.

Like Lisa indicated, what usually happens when you offer both plain white salt and a mineral source (either loose or in a block) free choice, the white salt will disappear much more quickly. This is an essential ingredient in your horse's diet plan, so please be sure your horse has a source for salt at all times.

Robin C
 

bpotze

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We use loose salt and loose mineral for all of ours. Got these handy little double holders that go in each stall; put the mineral in one and salt in the other. Right now they seem to going through more mineral than salt.
 

SILVER

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We had been offering the three blocks. White, blue and brown (mineral) We are selenium deficient here as well, and when I visited a friend they had an odd ball salt block out and lo and behold it was a selenium block. Thanks to them we now have a selenium block out which I hope turns out to be useful for them and us.

Interesting that Robin C says they don't go for what it is they are needing. I had heard it that they do. That is a good thing to know as well, because we have the variety pack I will never know whether they are getting the right one. Oh dear what to do eh!!! Good luck anyhow.
 

Minimor

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I have to add--iniatially when we changed to these Equest mineral blocks & I saw how the horses went for them, I thought that they were simply eating them because they tasted good. We had a known iodine deficiency at the time, and these blocks aren't real high in iodine. Therefore, to boost their iodine levels we started top dressing kelp on everyone's grain. After a week or so on the kelp, the horses quit eating so much of the Equest. I mean, they cut way back on the Equest. They were on kelp for, I think, 5 or 6 months, then we discontinued it.

3 days after we quit the kelp, they went back to devouring their Equest blocks--the change was quite amazing. So, I bought another bag of kelp & went back to supplementing with that, and again the horses cut back on the Equest. The next time the kelp was discontinued, consumption of the blocks did not rise greatly, so I figure the horses had finally gotten back on track where minerals were concerned.

The only exception was late this past spring when we got in a shipment of quite poor hay--we had no choice but to feed it for about a month, and after about 10 days the horses were absolutely eating their blocks again. They were eating them up almost faster than I could put them out. When we got a load of better hay in, it took only about 2 weeks for consumption of the mineral blocks to cut back again.

There's nothing too scientific about this, but it makes me believe that horses do know when they need certain minerals....not saying they know specifically which mineral they need, but there's a craving there for something other than just salt. If our horses were eating their new mineral blocks just because the blocks taste good, or because the horses were bored, consumption would not be affected by the kelp nor by the quality of the feed.

I should add that I have tried putting out tubs of plain loose salt, in case the horses want salt & no mineral--none of them touch it.
 

Margaret

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I have both.. A 12-12 mineral block only (no salt added) from Purina, that I can hang on a fence...And a seperate salt block. They visit them both at seperate times and seem to know which one they want. I think this method is best as they dont have to OD on one to get the other.
 

Robin_C

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Interesting that Robin C says they don't go for what it is they are needing. I had heard it that they do.
Don't think of it as what I said, but rather what most of the nutritional research shows. I am not a nutritionist by education -- more of a "hobbyist". Here is a link to an excellent article about minerals. I can cite a half dozen more, but most of you would find that pretty boring


My Horse Needs Minerals, But Which Ones?

There may be lots of anecdotal information about horses seeking out specific minerals, but it is not substantiated in the scientific literature. The only two minerals sought out with any degree of accuracy by the equine are salt (90%, meaning out of 100 head, 90 horses will meet salt needs if available free choice) and potassium (75-80%).

The following is an excerpt from the above cited article and pretty much reflects the information from the other half-dozen articles and book passages I could offer:

The actual free choice intake of the mineral supplement will depend on a number of factors. Some factors that affect voluntary consumption are: the forms of the product, loose or block, where you place it and certainly the taste. In horses, salt consumption was higher for horses fed a loose salt vs. block salt. It is reasonable to expect a slightly reduced intake of a mineral block vs. a loose mineral product. One possible exception is a soft mineral block which may be consumed in much larger amounts. Where you place the mineral is also important. You need to have the mineral in a location where the horses spend time. In addition to where you placed the mineral, adding something to enhance the flavor may stimulate intake. The addition of 20% salt caused an increase in daily intake as did adding 20% dried molasses. These additions, plus location of the mineral, resulted in an average daily intake of 50 grams of mineral per horse. When plain mineral was fed, intakes were below the level required to meet the horse's mineral needs. Remember, if the horses are not eating it, don't assume they don't need the supplementation. Horses are horses, not nutritionists, and expecting them to select and consume the correct amount of mineral is expecting too much.

Robin C
 

Vicky Texas

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Haha, EITHER after paying out over $700.00 in Vet bills in the last two months.

Please be careful. We learned a expenisive lesson on this one. But thankfully

our foals will be okay. Once we get the salt out of their systems.

I like everyone thought they were great, all horses needed one. Hum.. I put one in the stalls with them. I put one in each of foaling stalls. Well our filly Lacey and her dam Mystic did not pay much attention to it. Thank You Lord.

Unfortuntly our tiny filly and our colt did. We have been battling Diarrhea in our

barn with the colt for 2 months. We kept taking him to the Vet, ran test after test and after test. Nothing, nope, could not find the cause. Well, I had bought them one at a time. I know his stall was the first one to get one. Then I saw the filly licking it, so I bought her one. Funny, they were about a month old each when they got their salt blocks. Well, the filly starts diarrhea. I called the vet and told him. We started all the treatments. We have been going over everything to try to figure out why two foals had diarrhea. The third filly is fine, no problems. We continued our quest in WHY??

Well, after 2 months of searching we found our problem. It is the salt block. Seems these two babies are licking on it, then instead of nursing, which is what I thought they would do. They turned to the water. Well, they becamed obessed with the salt and water. The filly was drinking so much water, that her dam was drying up. I had to strip her bag of all the hard milk. I finally was able to get her milk back. But it took a while, and I had to do several days of bottle feeding.

I learned the bladder can only hold so much water and then it went into the intestines. Which caused them to have diarrhea. I comfirmed this with our Vet. He said this is it. This is why the diarrhea looks like water. They are on water over load. Way to much salt in their bodies. He told me, with the new feeds out there. They have salt in them. Unless you are pastureing your horses, they don't need the extra salt, meaning he told me unless I was not graining them. We removed the salt blocks. Our foals have been healthy, playing babies, except the diarrhea. The third filly Lacey No problems. Our Vet felt once we get the salt cleared from them, they will be fine, and go back to normal poop.

So please be careful with salt blocks, especially with the foals. Please make sure they are not becoming obessed with them. Our foals will be okay, Thank You Lord.

Please no flames. Its been a long two months trying to find why two of our babies have had diarrhea. Its been a costly two months. It was so hard to have tell my dad that $1 something salt block cost $700 + dollars. But the most important thing is our babies will be okay. With med's and care they will be okay.

Just be careful

Vicky
 
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Robin_C

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Unfortuntly our tiny filly and our colt did. We have been battling Diarrhea in ourbarn with the colt for 2 months
Sorry that you had to experience this in your foals, but you've made such a wonderful point by sharing with us. Salt overindulgence can be a serious problem, as you found out first hand. This can occur in mature horses (though is unusual), not just in foals. One of the benefits of feeding loose salt -- you can really see how much their intake is. Suffice it to say that if you find any of your horses, babies or adults, gorging on salt, it can be top-dressed at 1 tbsp per day for a mini to meet their daily needs instead of offered free choice. Remember that anything in excess can be harmful.

Vicky, your experience makes a good case for placing all free choice salt and mineral sources out of reach of foals until they are at least a month old, then monitor their intake. We use the foal feeders in the mare/foal stalls instead of the small black split feeders. The foal feeders fit over a 2" board and can be easily moved up or down along the stall wall according to need.

Robin C
 

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