NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Confused by sheep minerals ! Breeding ewe requirements?  (Read 448 times)


  • Joined Sep 2015
Confused by sheep minerals ! Breeding ewe requirements?
« on: August 26, 2019, 08:30:21 pm »
Hi folks,

Really hope someone can help as I feel I'm going round in circles trying to find out what to provide to meet ours ewes mineral requirements ..... I may just be overthinking it!

They currently have a block of Himalayan rock salt which is serving them fine. They will be tupped this year and I'm conscious they need a lick with selenium, vit e and I'd like some increased zinc for healthy hooves however I don't really want crystalyx / feed type  blocks this early in pregnancy as they're already huge following a year off lambing so just a good mineral lick for the first 2-3 months of pregnancy. They'll get crystalyx EHE in the final 8 weeks, nuts in the final 4 weeks etc

I've seen some just mineral lick buckets online at mole valley farmers and wynnstay: (can get more easily)

Would they still need Himalayan salt aswell?

Or i've seen mineralised salt licks such as rockies SC, rockies yellow and mole valley which seem to have good level of minerals - would this be enough alone for 2-3 months gestation along with plenty of grass & hay when needed.

Sorry for the long post but the more I read the more I get confused !!

The ewes are a hill type breed, in rather good nick so don't need a lick with molasses or protein (used crystalyx standard last time and countrywide farmers gp buckets the season before), I just want to make sure I have available what they need at the start of pregnancy.

Voss Electric Fence


  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Confused by sheep minerals ! Breeding ewe requirements?
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2019, 08:44:23 pm »
I like mole valley feet and fertility buckets. They are molasses based but not a feed bucket, so don’t provide any extra energy or protein. My ewes have them all year round. I got them the cheaper Mole lyx sheep buckets once and they turned their noses up at them  :roflanim:  my ewes don’t have any rock salt, just the f&f buckets. At tupping and pre lambing they get an energy bucket as well.

Any of those licks will be fine though. Or you could bolus if you know there’s a deficiency after blood testing. We had a problem with CCN (vit b1 deficiency) one year so always make sure there are buckets out that contain it now.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2019, 08:46:42 pm by twizzel »

Tim W

  • Joined Aug 2013
Re: Confused by sheep minerals ! Breeding ewe requirements?
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2019, 07:19:50 am »
Beware snake oil salesmen!!

I check forage/bloods/liver samples etc and sometimes find deficiencies
We then bolus to ''fix'' problems

I have run trials with treated and control groups and never found any difference in performance (in fact in 1 trial the control group had lower FEC than the treated group!)

I am equally confused and unconvinced after 20+ years thinking about it

We see the typical Co deficiency signs (scabby ears etc) but usually on the smaller lambs/trips etc ---i think that if they have plenty of grass /forage that they will generally be ok on the mineral front


  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Confused by sheep minerals ! Breeding ewe requirements?
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2019, 08:19:48 am »
Beware snake oil salesmen!!

I feel the same way..

When I started with sheep I spent a fortune on buckets. These days I put a cheap mole lx bucket out and it lasts for weeks. They don't like it that much so don't go crazy for it, my reasoning is that if they needed it they'd take it. In feb they are in for lambing and they take a lot more of the bucket then, possibly because they come accross it more, or possibly because that heavy in lamb they need the minerals?

I would just buy a cheap bucket that they don't go mad for..


  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: Confused by sheep minerals ! Breeding ewe requirements?
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2019, 08:58:48 am »
Do some testing it's cheaper than buying random minerals  , blood samples , forage samples  and ask your neighbours / vet for any local deficiencies , excess mins and vits are just peed out by the sheep


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Confused by sheep minerals ! Breeding ewe requirements?
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2019, 09:35:05 am »
Put Himalayan rock salt out year round.  If you have a container with drain holes it lasts well and it’s so cheap I really do not understand why everyone isn’t doing this routinely. 

Then add specific, good quality minerals at specific times.

A breeding ewe one pre-lambing, either a chelated drench or a good quality bucket.  With copper in the drench or also give copper needles if you have ever had swayback and or your sheep aren’t North Ronaldsay or Texel or other copper-intolerant breeds.

A drench for lambs at weaning will help with the stress of weaning.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


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