Sheep Blocks & Minerals
Minerals are important to sheep for reproduction, immune response, growth and milk production. In Virginia, soils are typically lacking or marginal in Sodium, Selenium, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Sulfur, Zinc, and Copper. When sheep are on a hay diet they are deficient in most vitamins because cut and dried grass will not hold those nutrients due to natural chemical reactions. Minerals are often provided to sheep free choice with salt in the mineral mix acting to limit intake to the recommended amount. Moving the mineral feeder closer to a water source will increase intake, while increasing the distance will reduce intake, allowing the farmer to ration mineral consumption. The recommended feeding rate is an average over the course of 1 year. Actual intake will change with the seasons and with weather conditions. When grass is lush in the spring and fall sheep will consume at a slightly higher rate.
An excellent article from the Virginia Cooperative Extension can be found here: www.sites.ext.vt.edu/newsletter-archive/livestock/aps-06_10/aps-373.html