Apr 14, 2021 7:00:56 PM / Brooke Loeffler /

Should I Use Blocks Or Loose Minerals?

Minerals are one of the most important things you can offer your animals to improve their overall health. But which form is best for your operation, blocks or loose minerals? Let’s walk through this decision process so you can ensure your animals are reaping the benefits of a healthy mineral program.   

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 your herd, 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.

How to decide: 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 throughout your herd, 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 livestock operations 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.

Block 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!

Blocks or Loose Minerals-05

Blocks or Loose Minerals-04

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. 

  • For beef cattle operations, click here to find the right minerals for your herd.
  • For dairy cattle, click here 
  • For goat products, click here 
  • For horse supplements, click here to visit Redmond Equine and find tailored equine mineral mixes
  • We also offer mineral supplements for bison

Give Redmond Minerals a try today!

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