Welcome again to my blog. I’m enjoying refreshing my memory on all this. Hope it is helping you some too!
This week we need to talk about salt, minerals and diatomaceous earth (DE). The latter sounds like a big word - so DE is easier!!
Every person and/or mammal that I know of needs salt. The table salt that most people use - unfortunately, is of little value to anyone, with the exception of maybe a small amount of flavor added. The salt that is MOST beneficial -- and should be used for humans and animals -- is sea salt. WOW … what a difference in taste … especially when fresh-ground. However, the latter is hardly practical for livestock. I had to do a little research at first and some scouting around, but finally found a health-food store that stocked 50 lb. bags of sea salt. They also carried Sea Kelp and DE (Diatomaceous Earth). (Note: Sheep have difficulty with a salt block like you would put out for other livestock and therefore, will hardly use it.)
In my different paddocks, I don’t have a covered area in each one, so am forced, during rain, to take the feeder in the barn … or loose the minerals/salt. However, during dry periods - or even just a day of decent weather, I leave the mineral/salt blend out for their free-choice. The sheep see me coming with the feeder and there is no coaxing - they love it. I use about an even amount of sea salt, sea kelp and DE. When first starting with it, I would probably add a little more salt so as to get them to use it.
Sea kelp is just loaded with beneficial nutrients and minerals to help keep your sheep healthy, and their wool beautiful.
DE is used to help diminish or completely eliminate infestations of worms. It is a very fine powder (almost feels like body powder), that is actually ground-up oyster shells. It acts as ’knives’ on the worms, cutting them and expelling them from the animal’s body. I have used it on other farm animals and my dogs. If you already have a heavy infestation - or suspect same, DE may not be enough to get rid of the worms quickly enough. Used on a regular basis for the sheep, however, you should have little to no occurrence of worms … along with rotating them from field to field. (A study done at the West Virginia University several years ago in which the ONLY thing WVU did was to move sheep from one pasture field to a new one every day --- NEVER had occurrence of worms. They were being paid for that study, as well as students earning a degree, so could spend time building and tearing down fences. Most farmers do not have that luxury.)
"He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth:" Ps. 104:14
Blessings -- Diane