A pallet load of Kelp arrived in December and is stacked in the Quonset. I have been offering kelp to the sheep for several years. I started giving it as a free choice mineral on it’s own, and then switched to blending it into a mineral mix. Throughout the grass season I can cut back the amount of kelp I use in the mineral since the ewes are receiving decent nutrition from the grass. I carried this mineral plan into the winter this year and since the sheep seemed to be seeking salt I have been adding kelp to their loose salt and as well in the mineral blend but not offering kelp on it’s own (a cost saving choice).
The ewes have begun to pick at the bark on the trees that make up their winter shelter; a sign that it’s time to change up the minerals. For this flock, a sign that the kelp might be needed again. So I will increase the amount of kelp in the mineral blend as well as offer it up free choice, and probably do so for the remainder of the winter. I don’t want to increase the amount of kelp I put in the salt, so as to prevent the ewes from consuming too much salt in order to get the kelp. They like kelp, so I know as soon as I start offering it, the mineral tub will be a popular hub for the first few days.
In the winter I get lax about refilling the minerals regularly. I head out on the tractor in the morning and have no place to take mineral containers with. In the evening I walk out and don’t wish to carry four mineral containers. So I keep saying I will do it tomorrow. In between morning and evening I forget all about making an extra trip out to take care of minerals. But the bark eating is a sure sign that I need to get my butt in gear. Tomorrow, lol, I will take a pail of kelp out.