Many new cattle rearers are often ignorant about why their cows need salt. Why do cows need salt? Cows and every other animal, even humans, need some nutrients to stay healthy. If these nutrients are missing, the health of the animal will decline rapidly. So, why do cows like salt? Cows like salt because salt is essential for vital processes within their body.
Salt, also referred to as Sodium Chloride, is needed by cows because it helps them stay healthy. Without a proper balance level of salt in a cow, its health will decline rapidly and lead to death. The effect of a cow not having a balanced level of salt can be quite devastating.
Furthermore, if you intend to start cattle rearing or are a new cattle rearer, you will likely hear much about things like bloat and fencing difficulties. The question of why do cows need salt? It May sound quite convincing to you and a bit hard to answer, many cattle rearers will tell you to give salt blocks to your cows but won’t emphasize why cows need salt.
It’s of high necessity you understand why your cows need salt, so you will be able to give enough and adequate salt to your herd, and you won’t be confused about why cows like salt anymore.
Why Do Cows Need Salt?
Cows require some amount of salt to remain healthy and make their bodies function well. Sodium chloride, known as salt, support cows’ nervous systems to function adequately and enables their muscles to stay intact.
Furthermore, salt helps cows balance the level of water in their body, and it also makes them have healthy growth with adequate weight gain. In addition to this, salt combats against a high level of potassium in their body. A high potassium level can lead to serious illness for cows if there is no balanced salt in their body.
How Much Salt Do Cows Need?
The volume of salt cows need daily depends on their diet; however, an excellent starting point is 0.005 percent. In regards to this, a cow of 600 pounds should get a minimum of 0.48 percent of salt in its diet daily.
It would be best to understand that the amount of salt intake per cow depends on their diet. If you need to increase their salt intake, you need to check the salt’s proportion in the food they consume.
What Happens If Cows Are Low On Salt?
Low salt in cows could result in severe health complications; it could lead to weight loss, delirium, nervous tissue, and weakness. If low salt in a cow stays for too long, coupled with stress, it could lead to death.
If low-level salt persists for too long in cattle, it could lead to pregnancy loss and tetany, a severe illness in cows that’s majorly caused by the cow’s huge level of potassium.
How Frequently Do Cows Need Salt?
There is no way to measure the amount of salt you give your cows. However, allow your cow to have free access to salt each day.
When you change your cow’s feeding habit, the quality of food they eat, and even grass quality, it could cause them to have a different amount of salt daily.
Since there is no way to know how much salt your cows need, and since a large amount of salt won’t necessarily do them any harm, you are to allow them to have free access to salt.
What Are The Salt Sources For Cows?
When it comes to balancing the level of salt in cows and seeking a medium to provide salt for them, you can use tons of options to achieve that.
In this article, we have listed the two common ways. They include:
- Free Choice Salt Blocks
- Free choice loose salt
Free Choice Loose Salt.
This type of salt comes in a variety of options; some will come with ingredients that have fly control, while some will come with other helpful minerals for cows.
Furthermore, to serve this free loose salt to cows, you can put it on a flat container for them to feed directly from it. However, to ensure your cows take enough and desirable salt, you can put it in a tub or small feeder for them. Cows tend to take more salt from an open container.
Free Choice Salt Blocks
This is the most desirous method many farmers opt-in for. This method is designed for livestock animals, and it’s also known as a salt lick. The cows will have to lick the salt from the blocks.
Most of the salt blocks are made to resist rain and rough weather. This method is mostly preferred because it avoids the waste of salt.
Where To Put Salt Sources For Cows?
You can place your salt source close to their water feeder or water supply.
If you are placing the salt next to their water, because cows feel extremely hungry after taking salt, they will need immediate water access. You can place the salt in a shaded container to prevent rain from spoiling it.
Why Do Cows Like Salt?
Salt is one of the few minerals cows need to stay alive and healthy. If cows need salt, they will look for it by all possible means, starting by feeding on dirt and grass around them.
If cows are given free access to loose salt, they will consume as much as they can.
Can I Mix Salt Into My Cow’s Feed?
Yes, you can mix salt or mineral salt directly into your cow’s feed; endeavor it is an adequate proportion to the amount of food you are giving your cows.
However, bear in mind that many expert farmers provide free access to salt for their cows, so they can have as many salts as they can have to themselves.
The Cost Of Supplying Salt To Cows?
The cost of acquiring salt is relatively less expensive, depending on the quality of the salt you want to get. However, a 50 pound weighed salt in the United States should cost around 6$ to 7&.
However, since cows need just a small amount of salt daily, a bag of salt should last for like 2-3 weeks; in addition to this, the exact cost of salt you might need depends on your number of cows.
Furthermore, bear in mind that regardless of the amount you will spend on salt for your cows, it cannot be compared to the amount of money you will use to treat your cow if it has a salt deficiency.
Symptoms Of low-level Salt In Cows
Below are some signs of salt deficiencies in cows.
- Eating odd things like wood or dirt.
- Staggered walking or falling.
- Disorientation and delirium.
- Failure to thrive.
- Loss of pregnancy.
Does Too Much Salt Have Effect On Cows?
Yes, there is a health condition in cows, called salt toxicity, resulting from excess salt in their body system. This could lead to aggression, pain, neurological problem, gastronomic problem, and severe thirst.
However, bear in mind that cows will not have salt toxicity from free choice salt unless you do not give them free access to water to take as they want.
How To Prevent Salt Toxicity In Cow
The best way to prevent cows from having salt toxicity is to provide them enough clean water from time to time.
Giving them water that contains salt from an unknown source could worsen the situation. Endeavor that you know the source of water your cows Drink till they overcome the phase of salt toxicity.
Final Thoughts – Why Do Cows Need Salt?
Many farmers do not know the importance of salt in cows; The need for cows to have enough salt can’t be overlooked. However, your cow may be okay if it has a slight deficiency of salt, but with time the effect of low salt in your cow could be detrimental.
To prevent your cow from having low salt deficiency put free choice salt close to their water supply each day.