- Rough coats
- Decreased performance
- Unusual eating habits like consuming dirt or chewing on tool handles, trees, board fences or another animal’s mane or tail.
- In poultry, an increase in pecking behavior, feather eating, general flock nervousness, and/or reduced egg production.
- Fence and bark chewing
- In sheep, abnormalities of the wool
- In cattle, loss of hair coat color
- In calves, blood vessel problems
- In young animals, bone development issues
- Reproductive issues
- White muscle problems
- Performance issues
- Muscle stiffness
- Reduced immune response
- Enlarged thyroid gland; goiter swell
- Metabolic disorders; decrease in metabolic rate
- Hair loss
- Dry and scaly skin
- Lack of appetite
- Poor growth
- In sheep, decrease in wool production and growth
- In ruminants, vitamin B12 deficiency
Unless a horse has been salt-starved, they will normally not overconsume salt. For those horses that are salt-deprived, they will consume salt in excess for a few days until their body is balanced again. Make sure during this time, horses have an adequate supply of water.
Under normal conditions, horses require 2 ounces of salt per head per day. Under hot and humid conditions or with an increase in exercise, horses may require 4-6 ounces of salt per head per day. Lack of salt during heavy exercise can contribute to performance and health problems. Horses must also consume adequate water when they are consuming the extra salt.
Salt is one of the few minerals that animals will seek out in their natural environment. There are seven trace minerals essential in feed: iron, copper, zinc, manganese, cobalt, iodine, and selenium. Since livestock have a natural appetite for salt, but not for trace minerals, this makes salt an ideal medium to deliver these vital minerals.
Water softening salts are not intended for human or animal feeding. For some animals, particles may be too large and cause choking issues. In addition, some water softening salts may have additives that are inappropriate for animal feeds.
Sodium deprivation can be precipitated by dietary, climatic and disease factors and occurs under the following conditions:
- Rapidly growing animals given cereal-based diets that are inherently low in sodium
- Animals grazing pastures on soils naturally low in sodium
- Animals grazing pastures heavily fertilized with potassium
- Lactating animals, particularly cows, secreting large amounts of sodium in mild climates
- Tropical or hot, semi-arid climates, causing large losses of water and sodium in sweat
- Heavy or intense physical work that causes profuse sweating
- Animals with gut infections that cause diarrhea
When one or more of these conditions exist continuously for long periods and extra salt is not provided, sodium deprivation is inevitable.