Doc’s Blog

Too Many Horses

   A formerly satisfied user of the cafeteria-style mineral program told me he could no longer use it because he now has too many horses. He explained; it was easy to provide individual access to minerals on a daily basis when he only had a few horses, but with almost 50 head it was impossible. Many have this problem because they do not understand that animals do not need continuous access to minerals. 

    In the wild, horses, cattle, bison, and other grazers did not have a steady daily exposure to all minerals.  

    They would graze over wide areas, giving them  access to  a multitude of plants—each with a different array of nutrients and minerals. When available, they utilized natural occurring minerals licks to augment the plant sources.  

   During good grazing seasons, they could more than meet their immediate mineral needs. Any excess was put into a “storage pool” in the liver as a reserve for use during the seasonal lean times.  

   I suggested the herd owner install a feeder set-up in one central location, perhaps an exercise paddock or any area to which all his animals had occasional access. 

Animals can meet their mineral needs if they can get to a cafeteria-style mineral feeder once or twice a week.