PRIMER ON SALT FOR LIVESTOCK
Unlike my strong feelings about which type of minerals to use, I'm not quite as picky about salt. That being said, there are more differences that one might think. It seems like Human Beings can --and do-- manage to screw-up just about everything! No, not you, of course, I'm thinking about people who mess up God's Gift to all living beings......natural, beautiful, abundant, easy-to-harvest, and physiologically-perfect seasalt!!).
Here's a few highlights, I call them The Simple Rules of Feeding Salt.....
1) Why did anyone ever make WHITE SALT? They take a perfectly balanced substance right from mother earth or the perfect ocean, extract the essential companion minerals, destroy the natural magnetic and paramagnetic structure of the salt, then throw back in aluminum and other nasty chemicals only to sell it for MORE $$$! Crazy. (BTW, that's what's probably in the shaker in front of you... SO, don't put that on your food unless you like being sick: high blood pressure, cardiac issues, Old Timers disease, et. al.!!)
2) SALT BLOCKS- Are all bad. Dr Fred Provenza says cattle can only lick about 6000X a day (maximum) so why would we waste any time or number of licks screwing around with a salt block? Cattle should be out grazing, using that tongue to accrue more ADG. Salt blocks are also made from either the messed-up white stuff or brown blocks with poor-quality (Chinese) cheap minerals, minerals that are mostly oxides and sulfates (not very absorbable) that kind of block the true desires and instincts. Lots of blocks have drugs in them as well, always a bad idea! Horses, unlike our livestock, basically have nothing to do all day, and usually don't need to be maximizing grazing, so you might want to give them the chunks of pure rock salt right out of the earth, which they love licking on. (horses need real minerals as well, just as much as cattle or other livestock! Undermineralized horses get weak ligaments and tendons then become lame, they also get wormy and look scroungy).
3) And the CARDINAL-NO-NO, mixing salt in with your minerals...Always bad. The ideal intake ratio needs will vary significantly from animal to animal, and from day to day. On hot days they need more salt, on days when they are feeling sick, pregnant or malnourished, they need more minerals. Salt, when added to the mineral premix, can easily inhibit their ability to get fully mineralized. I've seen mixes with up to 40% salt! Oh, and you are paying $20-30/bag loaded with cheap salt filler.
4) Lastly, SALT IS SALT....... MINERALS ARE MINERALS. Therefore, never let the salesman tell you that you have "mineral salt". The minerals in any of the available salts is really nice, it's very important, and should never be removed via "purification", BUT, it's just enough to balance out the Sodium Chloride (NaCl). It's not more than a speck of micro-essential-minerals, essential trace minerals and there are certainly no macro essential minerals. No natural salt has much in the way of IODINE. The white, devitalized, blood-pressure-jacking, so-called "table salt" was, by law, fortified with a speck of iodine back in the 1940's. but it's not enough. They added just barely enough to meet your RDA of 150 micrograms (a speck, in other words), which keeps you from getting a goiter, but doesn't keep you from getting breast, thyroid, prostate or uterine cancer. Humans really need 12-15 milligrams a day (that's 12,000-15,000 micrograms!), cattle need about 50 mg daily.
OK, if you follow these basic rules of nutrition, then it's mostly a matter of finding best price,and finding something geographically-close, and makes sure that it's all natural. I took a pound of each of these: KANSAS GREY SALT, REDMONDS, SEA-90 and, for fun, HIMALAYAN SALT. You can see for yourself, the analysis shows that they all have about 92% of the desirable and absolutely essential NaCl, along with a nice dose of Potassium Chloride (KCl) and then the analysis goes down quickly to ppm (parts per million) for 40-50 micro-traces. We need these traces too, in the blood there is a pretty identical match of ocean water and our blood plasma (the liquid parts) BUT it's not enough to build a body, build a calf, or build good milk and eggs.
My Salty Dog Advice:
USE LOOSE SALT (NOT BLOCKS)
ALWAYS KEEP IT SEPARATE FROM THE MINERALS
GIVE IT FREE-CHOICE YEAR-ROUND
MAKE IT CONVENIENT AND NEAR THE MINERALS
KEEP IT DRY
My top salt preferences are:
KANSAS GREY SEASALT-FINE (NO ADDITIVES) Always under $5 a bag; less iron than Redmonds (or any pink salt), and slightly higher in silica or
REDMOND'S SEASALT- Also a delicious and great salt. East of the Rockies it's usually expensive $8-12/bag, with lots of sales hype.
In a pinch you can use plain white salt, even water softener salt, but I don't recommend it for long-term.