Feed Additives And Nutrients

Copper is added to feeds and trace mineral salts intended for poultry, swine, and even cattle at levels that are often toxic for sheep. Exact requirements for and tolerance of copper depend on the zinc, molybdenum, and sulfur content of the feed; thus, an awareness of all of these factors is needed if copper supplementation of sheep is contemplated. Vitamin D may be added to animal diets (especially for those kept indoors in confinement), and decimal errors in the rate of addition can result in toxicity. Likewise, selenium has a narrow range of deficiency/sufficiency/toxicity and such small amounts need be added that errors are quite possible, especially when small batches of feed are being supplemented with the element. Ionophores such as monensin improve feed utilization, reduce methane production in ruminants, and prevent coccidiosis in a variety of livestock. But even the 33 ppm found in cattle feed may be fatal to horses, causing heart failure. Equestrians diverting grain mixes from cattle or sheep fattening rations to feed their horses need to be made aware of this.

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