Checking Salt and Mineral

Every week, ReeRee and Newt “check salt and mineral”.  Or as ReeRee calls it “mEEneral!”  Salt can be fed “free choice”, or the cows can eat as much as they like.  Unlike humans, cows know when they’ve met their NaCl requirements and won’t eat anymore.  The shut-off valve for mineral doesn’t work that well and cows will snarf up mineral like candy.  (Plus feed salesmen put in yummy ingredients like molasses and distillers grains.  Kind of like food companies putting fat and sugar into our food.  Can’t…stop…eating!)

Salt and mineral are both bought by the ton in 50 pound bags (or 40 bags per ton).  Salt is cheap at around $120/ton.  Mineral, not so much.  It is closer to $500-800/ton.  Perfect solution=mixing the salt and mineral together.  The cows can’t overeat the salt and will cause them to stop eating the mineral. 


Without salt and mineral, the cows’ requirements are lacking and problems (poor hair coat, more sickness, weak bones) can occur.  Very important to keep these vital nutrients available!  Like taking our vitamin pill once a day.

ReeRee and Newt drive by the salt boxes (recycled out of old tires and spare boards) to see how much is left.  The cows will lick out every last grain (whoop- this one is empty!).

ReeRee is watching patiently for her dad to bring her salt and mineral.


If the cows are trampling around the salt box too much, Newt will move the box onto a new patch of grass.  Keeps the grass somewhat intacked and prevents the sand from blowing.

Next Newt pulls a 50 pound bag of salt from the back of the Mule and cuts open the new fancy plastic sacks.  (Until last year, the salt sacks were made of plain paper with a string to pull it open.)  These sacks (I think) are impossible to open if you forgot your pocket knife.

In goes the salt!  Try to keep it on one half of the salt box.  ReeRee is still waiting patiently for Daddy to finish.

Okay, maybe not so patiently.

Now for the mEEneral on the other side.

The mineral is still coming in the traditional brown bag, not the newfangled plastic.  Step aside ReeRee or you will get mineral dust in your eyes!

ReeRee springs into action and starts mixing!  Stir it and stir it and stir it.

Daddy puts on his leather gloves to get a complete mix on the salt and mineral.

There!  All done!  The bossy cows push the smaller cows out of the way, so you don’t want Ole Bossy eating all the mineral.  Lil Cow will be sure to get some this way.

Checking salt and mineral has brainwashed our little girl.  We set down for supper (evening meal- you may refer to it as “dinner”.  This is incorrect- the proper term in supper.  There you are speaking Rancher now.)  ReeRee points to her food and then the salt shaker and pepper grinder.


“Salt and mEEneral, peez!”

Categories: Ranching in the Sandhills | Leave a comment

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