Importance of Salt Lick to Cattle and How to Use It

Alt: = "salt lick blocks"


Mineral salt licks are forms of drugs that are required on the farm all the time and are subject to abuse as a result of careless handling. Mineral salt licks are basically salts plus other trace elements added together into formulated compound and pressed into blocks. The licks should be made available to animals in the pens free choice and addition, provided clean water in the water trough always.  Salt licks readily provide cattle with mineral salts to maintain growth, productivity and metabolism. Besides, the salt licks are kept on the farm for animals use all the time, they are different from the conventional feed source, as such should be handled with care. Salt licks blocks once damaged should be thrown away. 

Characteristics of Salt licks

The trace elements in salt licks are very stable when handled as recommended and are released upon being licked by the castle. Salt licks easily absorb moisture from the air, especially when there is high humidity. And the block can give way and break down with pressure arising from mishandling. Such licks once broken becomes a waste and off less use except it is reconstituted and made available in bowls.

Importance of Mineral Salts Licks to Cattle

Salt lick is important to cattle because it does the following to cattle and other livestock:

  • Improves productivity
  • Prevents miscarriage and abortion
  • Calms or tames cattle
  • Gives strength
  • Increases appetite

1. Improve Productivity of Cattle

Cattle especially cows need salt to maintain fertility stability. Salt or sodium deficiency leads to infertility and affects the productivity of cattle and other livestock. So to avoid the risk of having unproductive herds, supply them with salt licks.

2. Prevent Miscarriage and Abortion in Cows

Miscarriage and abortion are some symptoms of salt deficiency in cows. Mineral salt improves productivity and metabolism of  pregnant and lactating cows, therefore loss of salt can lead to loss of pregnancy. Each pregnant and lactating cow requires 28g of saltlick per day.

3. Calm or Tame Cattle

Restlessness in cattle is sometimes as a result of shortage of salt nutrient. So sure your cattle are always calm or to tame them when restless, try giving them salt to lick. The first thing to do to figure out why your cattle are restless is to give them salt. If, they didn’t calm down, then know it may be other reasons. Even when their restlessness is a result of other reasons, to solve those problems, you may need to use salt licks to calm the fray nerves of the cattle for them to allow you touch them. 

4. Strength

Sodium chloride strengthens the bones of cattle. When there is shortage of it, you may notice the cattle having imbalance posture or movement. Salt is a primary source of sodium chloride, to prevent your cattle from being weak or to remedy the situation when it occurs, give your cattle salt to lick. 

5. Appetizer

Salt is an appetizer to cattle; it makes them to eat regularly and normally. When there is lack of salt in there body, they may loss appetite to eat, or begin to it what they are not supposed to eat, like licking wall, eating wood, metal, sand, or eating poisonous plants, of they are in the pastures, grazing field or bush.

How to Use Salt Licks on the Farm

Salt licks are to be licked by the animal free choice and not added to feed. Better still, on the advice of feed trainer can be added into feed based on his advised ratio analysis. 

Give each pregnant and lactating cow about 28g of salt lick in a day. In addition to 28g of salt lick, make sure the cow get about 28g of combined mineral containing calcium, phosphorus and trace elements.

Salt licks blocks once damaged should be thrown away. 

Best Form of Storage fro Salt licks

It is desirable to place salt licks on wooden platform to protect it against dampness. It also provides base ventilation for the salt. Always place blocks some distance away from the walls.

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