Mare won't lick salt block - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 05-03-2011, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
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Mare won't lick salt block

Since I bought my mare in October I've had a salt block in her stall. She's a bit picky so I got a carrot flavored one thinking she would be more willing to lick it. She isn't. She has barely touched it. She licked it a bit, but I think just because her supplements are poured over it (it's a small one in her feed bucket). I live in the desert and it goes to at least 110 every day in the summer so I'm worried about her not getting enough salt. Should I be worried? How can I get her to lick the salt block more?
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post #2 of 18 Old 05-03-2011, 02:20 AM
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She either doesn't like the taste of it, can't chew is so she doesn't lick it, or doesn't like the feel of it. There is nothing you can do to MAKE her use it, if she doesn't want to she won't. But if she does want to she will. Salt makes them thirsty. Is she drinking enough water? You said it is in her feed bucket, maybe she has tried eating her feed and bitten into it and it may have startled her or hurt her a little so now she associates it with pain? Im not sure, my mare just bites hers of throws it to break it lol.

Good luck and sorry I couldn't help more.

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post #3 of 18 Old 05-03-2011, 06:52 AM
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My horse has never quite used his salt blocks... I tried several kinds, with carrot flavour, more salt, less salt, no help. He licks it when his food gets stuck in the middle, in the hole, but that's it. So I don't really worry about that, one block lasts more than a year, and I know he knows it's there so if he needs to he'll lick it. If he doesn't, I think it is because he doesn't need it. But here at home I don't know what 110 means, we have a maximum of 30C in summer but it's rare... And as we live near the sea maybe he already finds salt and nutriments in the grass, hay, water?
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post #4 of 18 Old 05-03-2011, 07:17 AM
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If a horse is lacking salt they will lick something. I've seen them lick rusty gates and rocks. So I wouldn't worry too much. If you are worried get some livestock salt and add a small amount to the grain.
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post #5 of 18 Old 05-03-2011, 07:47 AM
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We always put the large salt blocks on the ground in the pasture and stall run-ins. We put the blocks on wooden pallets the same size as the blocks to keep rain water and ground moisture from melting them. Our horses readily licked and even at times bit off small chunks at a time. We bought the white and yellow blocks w/Sulphur.
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post #6 of 18 Old 05-03-2011, 11:07 AM
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I had the same problem with our two horses....they wouldn't touch the flavored ones.

There is one thing you can try that MIGHT help...try the Himalayan salt licks. Those are the ONLY ones Epona will lick, but it has to be the smooth type. The ones that go in the jolly stall horse toys. The ones that look like a rock she doesn't like...guess cuz it is too rough on her tongue.

Beau won't lick ANY salt lick, even the Himalayan least, so I thought. One evening I noticed him licking the salt/mineral block we keep in the pasture. So even if you THINK your horse isn't licking it, they may be and you just don't notice.

If you are worried about her fluid intake, just check her poop. It should hold it's form but have a slight/moderate sheen of water over the poop balls. Dry and crumbly poop balls means she needs more fluids, generally speaking.

I would NOT reccomend feeding her salt supplements or such unless you ask your vet first. Free choice salt licks are always best.

Regardless of if they use it, keep one in the pasture and/or stall, nonetheless....that way it is there if they need it...especially since they may be sneaking in a lick or two and you aren't noticing.

Last edited by Beauseant; 05-03-2011 at 11:13 AM.
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post #7 of 18 Old 05-03-2011, 11:10 AM
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When it gets that hot and they're not consuming salt, I'd be concerned as well. Salt is one nutrient that feedstuff is naturally very low in. Add the salt directly to her feed. Sprinkle 2 T on top of her ration. You can use regular table salt or all stock salt (your feedstore will sell it in 25 or 50# bags). Another trick you can do when it really gets bad instead of paying for electrolyte$$ is use Lite Salt (salt subsitute). Horse tongues are not rough like cattle which the licks are designed for. Horses that are only offered licks tend to not get enough salt daily. I offer both loose salt in a bucket and licks. They go through about 400# of loose salt to one 50# lick. I think that speaks volumes for how they prefere it.

Last edited by Left Hand Percherons; 05-03-2011 at 11:14 AM.
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post #8 of 18 Old 05-03-2011, 11:15 AM
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Salt has been shown to be something that horses are pretty good at regulating what they need.

If the salt block is in your horse's feed bucket I am guessing your horse is getting more salt than you realize as daily meals are eaten. The act of simply pushing it around to get their grain with the spit that they add to their feed tub makes the salt fall off and they eat it by default.
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post #9 of 18 Old 05-03-2011, 11:17 AM
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Our large outside blocks are hung on the fence near the water source.
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post #10 of 18 Old 05-03-2011, 11:23 AM
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IMO, adding salt directly to your horse's feed should be done ONLY with a vet's approval.

Too much salt in a horse's diet is NOT without consequences, such as kidney problems and loose bowels, upsetting the digestive balance.

ASK YOUR VET before force feeding, i.e. adding it to the feed, your horse salt. JMO!! Better safe than sorry.
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