Do Animals need salt too?
Yes, for thousands of years, it has been known that domestic and wild animals need salt as much as humans do. The benefits of salt for animals were appreciated by the ancient Greeks. Early explorers in Africa, Asia, and North America recorded observations of animals traveling in salt springs or reservoirs to satisfy their salt cravings. Salt-deprived animals are in grave danger and have resorted to unusual behavior to obtain it. There is considerable evidence that early nomads and hunters took advantage of this fact to locate salty areas to lure and catch animals and to wait for the animals to come here periodically. That livestock and poultry need Natural Rock Salt was recognized long before scientific knowledge of foods or nutrition became available. In the early 1800s, the value of salt for experimental animals was demonstrated. Since then, many studies have been conducted and a summary of these results is reported here shortly.
The role of Natural Rock Salt in animal nutrition
Common Crystal Rock Salt contains also both sodium and chloride called sodium chloride. Salt is unique in that animals have a much greater appetite for sodium and chloride in salt than for other minerals. Because most plants provide insufficient sodium for animal feeding and may lack adequate chloride content, salt supplementation is a critical part of a nutritionally balanced diet for animals. Even though the body only contains about 0.2% sodium, it is essential for life and is highly regulated. About half of the sodium in the body is in the soft tissues of the body; the other half is in the bones. Sodium makes up about 93% of the basic mineral elements in the blood serum and is the chief cation regulating blood pH. Chloride is also a necessary part of the hydrochloric acid produced by the stomach which is required to digest most foods.
Unfortunately, it is often assumed that if the sodium requirement is met, the chloride requirement will automatically be met also. However, recent evidence indicates this may not always be the case. For Anima: The Himalayan Natural Rock Salt l is the best tonic for their health and it allows the basic nutrients to work properly for the growth of Animal’s cells.
How do animals know they need salt?
When salt intake is below that required to meet the animal’s need for sodium and chloride, the animal adjusts by conserving. The urine output of sodium and chloride nearly stops. A continuous low salt intake affects the health of animals through a loss of appetite and weight. Feed utilization decreases and it takes more feed per unit of gain or product produced. Animals soon develop a craving for salt. They may consume considerable amounts of dirt, wood, rocks, and other materials. They will also lick manure and urine in an attempt to obtain the needed salt. Horses deficient in salt will lick or chew on mangers, fences, dirt, rocks, and other objects. Animals typically will consume 2-3 times as much water as dry food. Locality can have a major impact on the minerals present in the water and, thus, the need for salt. During heat stress, certain animals can lose large amounts of sodium through sweating. For example, working horses have been shown to increase their salt consumption five-fold during heat stress. Providing free-choice salt is the best way to meet individual needs in this situation.
What if the Animals are not given Salt?
Some Animals do experience increased stress which is reflected in their endocrine profile. Stress is a normal part of animal life. Animals raised in the wild are exposed to a lack of food, heat, cold, antagonistic social interactions, predators, etc. Cow reduce their milk production and Calves with supplementary sodium spent less time grooming themselves, licking the pen, licking the buckets, and ear sucking. Horses have been shown to have a specific appetite for salt if the diet is deficient in sodium. They also develop depraved appetites, rough hair coats, and reduced growth. Mares experience reduced milk production. Goats developed deficiency symptoms in 4 to 6 weeks after being fed a low-sodium diet. The deficiency symptoms included persistent licking, restlessness, dull shaggy hair, poor growth and intake of feed, and marked emaciation during lactation. After 224 days, the deficient goats weighed 20% less than those supplemented with salt. They ate an average of 6% less feed per day and required 18.5% more feed per unit of gain.
Salt as a Carrier of Trace Minerals
Salt is a natural carrier for trace minerals since all farm animals have a natural appetite for salt.
Moreover, when cattle, horses, sheep, and other animals are on pasture with little, no, or varying amounts of concentrate feeding, producers can supply trace mineralized salt free-choice in the form of a mineral block or as loose trace mineral salt in a box. Then, regardless of the number of concentrates fed, and especially if none is fed, the animal can still consume salt and the trace minerals it contains. Wisconsin studies with sheep showed that there was large variability in salt-mineral mixture intake. They stated, however, that salt-mineral self-feeding is usually effective in preventing mineral deficiencies and is the most cost-effective method of delivery (24). The chemical analysis is for salt is as bellow Tables by SGS.
Advantages of Animal Licking Natural Rock Salt
It is more easily metabolized by animals
No Sweeteners added
If animals need it, they will lick it but they can’t gorge it.
Animals self-administer, so no labor is required.
Blocks are hard and weather resistant. Able to be used in all seasons with no wastage.
Salt can be added/administered via drinking water. Always have an alternative source of freshwater available.
No dirt or feces contamination.
Natural micro minerals are more easily absorbed into the bloodstream.