Are Salt Licks Necessary?

Discussion in 'Horse Health' started by Ivory Rose, Mar 8, 2019.

  1. Ivory Rose

    Ivory Rose Full Member

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    General topic open for discussion.

    For arguments sake, lets take into account that perhaps some areas of the country are soil deficient in specific vitamins and minerals. Or, whatever other reasons there may be for horses to have or not to have salt blocks available.

    Do you use them and why? Why not?
    Feel free to link studies below - I would love to read some.
     
  2. emali06

    emali06 Senior Member

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    Mine critters will not use them. I supplement with loose salt in their feed instead.
     
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  3. doublelranch

    doublelranch Senior Member

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    I offer both salt blocks and loose minerals. Time of the year and temperature affect the consumption. They are there if they need/want them.

    Not my horse, but a friend's was extremely underweight. They said it was due to old age and lots of foals. They put out a mineral block, and that mare ate half of it in one day. From that day on, she gained weight. She obviously had a deficiency that was never vet checked.
     
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  4. Ivory Rose

    Ivory Rose Full Member

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    I read somewhere that there is no evidence supporting the general statement that a horse will consume salt on the theory that they know when their body needs it.
    What is your opinion on that?
     
  5. doublelranch

    doublelranch Senior Member

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    Mine can smell it and know what it is. They sweat a lot here in the summer. Muscles have to have sodium to work correctly. I even have deer come to my salt blocks, so even wild animals know what their bodies need. A new horse I brought home would not touch a salt block. After adding a little stock salt to his feed, he consumed it after that. I have had wood/tree chewers stop after adding minerals free choice. Each horse is different. I have some that eat a little, and others eat a lot.
     
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  6. secuono

    secuono Senior Member

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    I have loose plain salt, a selenium block & loose pastured horse mineral mix in three bins for them to choose from.
    They all consume some of each. I don't pay enough attention to know details, though.
     
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  7. LoveTrail

    LoveTrail Senior Member

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    Mine would never lick a salt lick. Gave him about ten years to lick one, tried many types, and finally gave up. So just add salt with his supplements.
     
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  8. kodemiester

    kodemiester Senior Member

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    My mare LOVES her salt lick. She has one of those himalyan ones on the string.. every time I look at it.. it seems like more and more is gone.
     
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  9. slc

    slc Senior Member

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    I think that horses can usually be relied upon to eat an adequate amount of salt if it is available. I think some circumstances can throw that off.

    I think that horses do not always, in every single situation, eat an adequate amount of salt.

    I think in the wild, going to a salt lick was a routine part of the animal's existence. Now that they're domesticated, I don't think their 'salt sense' is so infallible.

    I provide salt blocks. I always used to provide red brick type salt blocks. Horses did fine. A few years ago based on peer pressure, I started providing white salt block, nothing actually changed as a result.

    If it is particularly, unseasonably hot out, I also provide a bucket of water with an electrolyte product in it, and a bucket of plain water.
     
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  10. Mcdreamer

    Mcdreamer Senior Member

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    Henry looooovvesss his mineral block. He's gotten really creative with it too--it looks like the grand canyon.
     
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