It is well established that the human body needs salt. Otherwise known as Sodium Chloride (NaCl), our bodies need salt to live and function, transmitting nerve pulses, expanding and contracting the heart muscle fibres and maintaining a proper balance of fluid in the body, amongst a whole host of other functions. As you might expect, animals’ bodies are no different in their requirement for salt. Livestock in particular need the correct balance of sodium in their diet to ensure the functioning of the immune system, to spread nutrients across cells and to help buffer acid during ruminal fermentation.

According to the National Research Council, most livestock need between 0.6% and 0.8% salt in their total diet. Supplementing salt into animal feed is necessary as most plants fail to provide a sufficient amount of sodium and may lack essential chlorine contents. Even the minor under-consumption of these vital minerals can lead to reduced reproduction, growth and milk production – decreasing productivity and profitability often without any noticeable visible signs.

It is important that livestock have free access to salt as salt-deficient animals are more likely to consume harmful materials (such as paints, spray materials, weed killers and wood preservatives) in an attempt to restore homeostasis. Animals that have been deprived of salt and who are suddenly re-introduced to it are likely to eat irregularly large quantities to fulfil their misplaced cravings. Maintaining free access to salt therefore helps to ensure that the nutritional benefits are consistently imparted and working to their full effect.

Salt is an excellent supplement as it is naturally appetising to animals and, as such, can be used as a delivery mechanism for less palatable nutrients. Loose salt can also be mixed with the required trace-minerals needed for individual livestock, variable by geography, season and intended function amongst other factors. Additionally, loose mineral salts are easier for livestock to consume and impart greater nutritional supplementation through highly-effective mineral delivery.

Peacock Salt has a diverse range of salts suitable for use in Animal Feed, available to browse here.