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Educate me on loose salt vs block (and minerals)

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  • Educate me on loose salt vs block (and minerals)

    I'm thinking about getting a salt block for my horse's stall (there is one in the pasture). I've heard people say that loose salt is better. Why (if you can tell they lick the block). I know they aren't cows.

    What salt/minerals do you feed and how do you feed them? Where do you get them? Just curious...
    DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

  • #2
    If your horse really does lick it, it is probably fine. The problems arise when they either (a) don't get enough because their smooth tongues aren't made for it or (b) get frustrated and start biting big chunks off.

    That having been said, we usually go with salt blocks in the pastures in the summer. It's too hard to give loose salt without having it blow away or get wet or get trampled. We choose to use plain white salt blocks. We still do feed free-choice minerals but it isn't available all the time. We will bring pans out to the fields every so often.

    ETA: when I do use loose salt, I just get a 50 lb. bag from Costco. Nothing horsy about it. Can't help with minerals because we are between suppliers, haven't found what I want.
    Last edited by JoZ; Jun. 11, 2009, 03:00 PM. Reason: Added better answer
    Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.
    Starman

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    • #3
      I always was told the horse's tongue is too soft and he can't lick enough from a block to satisfy his needs. My vet told me to add a small handful of salt daily to his grain. I use normal iodized table salt and a small handful thrown in his grain. He licks it right up so I know his salt intake is fine.
      He has a mineral block as well but it shows little use.

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      • #4
        Lot's of educational info here...

        I'm going through the same thing. I really wanted to feed loose because I heard it is hard for them when you get the wrong type of block.

        Problem with block is many horse folk buy blocks that are STOCK BLOCKS...ie, made for cattle and such.

        Horses can't lick those ones (don't have the rough tongue that a cow does)

        BUT - they do make BLOCKS FOR HORSES ONLY. I ended up buying that - and it's a mineral/salt one (red colored)

        The loose minerals/salt idea is great, but for me, it's too expensive, and it is a little harder to manage (blow away, get wet, etc)

        Find out alot more here:
        http://www.horsethink.com/Articles/H...t%20Blocks.htm
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
        www.elainehickman.com
        **Morgans Do It All**

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        • #5
          My main issue with salt blocks is that I have one mare who will chew it down in 2 days out of sheer boredom and one who won't touch it. Therefore, to get the right amount into them, I just add it as a supp (loose salt) to their handful of grain.
          A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

          Might be a reason, never an excuse...

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Regarding minerals specifically--doesn't it seem like the minerals should be figured out in the grain portion (assuming you are feeding a manufactured product as opposed to straight oats or beet pulp or something).

            Do horses need iodized salt or is non-iodized fine for them?
            DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/

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            • #7
              Originally posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
              Regarding minerals specifically--doesn't it seem like the minerals should be figured out in the grain portion (assuming you are feeding a manufactured product as opposed to straight oats or beet pulp or something).
              They would only be getting the correct average amount of minerals, if you're feeding the amount suggested on the bag. Many times a horse needs only a fraction of the grain "recommended" on the bag, so possibly is being shorted on certain minerals. I depends on the grass or hay he's getting also.

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              • #8
                I started feeding loose salt when my mare started biting chunks off her block (although I think she was doing it out of boredom). I have known a couple horses who are OBSESSIVE about their salt blocks & will lick and lick and lick until they wear themselves out.

                Horses can also step on salt blocks and dislodge sharp pieces (which they can choke on or step on), and get hung up on wire holders if you have them off the ground.

                I choose to give loose salt with feeds and leave a block outside year round (have to protect it in the winter from the snow!). I think that gives the horses as much as they ever wanted.
                "For some people it's not enough to just be a horse's bum, you have to be sea biscuit's bum" -anon.
                Nes' Farm Blog ~ DesigNes.ca
                Need You Now Equine

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                • #9
                  For those that feed it with the grain (so essentially, forcing the salt into the horse)....how do you know what the right amount is?

                  Is the notion that the horse "knows" how much it needs true? If so, I'd almost be afraid to add it to the daily grain ration for fear of not knowing exactly what the horses' body needs.

                  Maybe I'll just get a big bag of salt at CostCo and find a little "feeder tray" that I've seen that hooks on a pipe fence. The Dynamite stuff was so expensive!
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  Equine & Pet Portrait Artist
                  www.elainehickman.com
                  **Morgans Do It All**

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                  • #10
                    My vet advised me to give about a tablespoon daily.

                    If you are in an iodine deficient area, you can use the iodized. If you're not, use non-iodized.
                    A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                    Might be a reason, never an excuse...

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                    • #11
                      Yep 1 tbsp (I did it in two feeds so 1/2 per) and she still showed a little interest in salt outside, thats how I know she wasn't getting too much .

                      You can monitor water intake - if your horse is drinking BUCKETs and BUCKETs, too much salt . I wouldn't worry too much about over-dosing them, they get lots from their salt blocks.

                      You can also feed loose salt in the stall, but you need a holder & I found the horses just spread their salt everywhere.

                      Feeding salt also helped with my mare's colic (when that was an issue - long story), I could make sure she had at least 2 buckets daily .
                      "For some people it's not enough to just be a horse's bum, you have to be sea biscuit's bum" -anon.
                      Nes' Farm Blog ~ DesigNes.ca
                      Need You Now Equine

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                      • #12
                        I was concerned about the loose minerals and their se content. My horses feed already accounts for the se deficiency and most minerals seem to have se. I e-mailed Hoffmans and have not recieved a response. Is there a loose mineral available that does not have se in it?
                        "look deep into his pedigree. Look for the name of a one-of-a-kind horse who lends to his kin a fierce tenacity, a will of iron, a look of eagles. Look & know that Slew is still very much with us."

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                        • #13
                          I mix my own feed but with Grow n Win as the base

                          add soaked bp , whole oats oil hoof supp boss and couple ounces feed salt bought in #50 bags at grain elevator.

                          As Im using Buckeye, also keep their loose vit/min free choice supp (for grass/mixed hay) and their selinium salt in the loafing shed.

                          Im currently "shorting" the
                          gnw the non-workers are getting so they balance themselves with
                          the free choice mix; it need refilling daily.


                          this is also a preferred method for balancing out the outside on grass/no or littlework/doesnt need grain as is plenty fat/crazy without it tyvm!

                          Bought the $5 2-tray supp feeder (fortex) at the TCS.

                          As this is Se deficient region Buckeye recs hanging only the Se salt..but the need for nacl is much higher then most people realize so i add it to the mix--keeps h2o intake up
                          klr

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
                            I'm thinking about getting a salt block for my horse's stall (there is one in the pasture). I've heard people say that loose salt is better. Why (if you can tell they lick the block). I know they aren't cows.

                            What salt/minerals do you feed and how do you feed them? Where do you get them? Just curious...
                            Loose salt is better because they don't have to work as hard to eat it. I give my horses a salt block.
                            ~He dares to be a fool, and that is the first step in the direction of wisdom~
                            -James Huneker

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