Blocks, Cubes, Cakes, Lick Tubs, Loose mineral?

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Well-known member
Jul 1, 2004
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East of Dallas Texas
AHHHHH! So many choices :shock: I've been using just lick blocks for mineral supplement but never sure if this was the best approach or supplement. How does one categorize supplements, conditions for their best use, their delivery methods, pro's, con's, trade-offs, etc. ?
We try to always keep tubs of a baked mineral available to the herd. It has really seemed to help the condition of the animals. The minerals have helped the animals stay healthier year round.

We thought about using the Right Now Mineral program (a loose mineral), but most of our cattle used to be show cattle and the rest are used to us pouring cubes out from a bag. We figured if they saw us pouring minerals out of the bag they would eat more than the recommend amount, and the first cow there would eat all of it.
Pregnant cows (once they get home in the fall) get a loose mineral/vitamin that has been formulated for our local soil mineral deficiencies. It's mixed 50/50 with loose salt.

Upon delivery, that loose mineral is made available to them in salt shacks that the calves can't access, as some of the calves will inevitably start licking it up and become ill.

When the cattle hit the pasture, they get salt blocks with added selenium.

Bulls get the selenium salt block when home. Same with horses.
I fed the Purina loose minerals with fly control this summer. Kept it in a shelter. Seemed to worked real well. I also fly sprayed him every few days. I pick up around his area by the shelter and barn every morning.
I found that you usually get the most for your money with loose minerals ,inlate sring and summer we get it rol fly control mixed in. We do have a covered feeder whic works good
We use a full nutrient analysis molasses tub that is specially formulated for Longhorns. Cattle love it. More expensive than the generic tubs, however.

Previously we had tried some of the generic 200# molasses tubs but cattle only ate about 10% of the tub and then turned up their noses at the rest of it.

Our Longhorn tubs are 65# size and one tub will last about a month for 8-10 head animal units. Retail price on these tubs is about $35. ea. Our cattle are doing well and looking great with these tubs!
I use the Purina and Flint River Mills protein blocks. by using blocks the timid cows have a chance to get their fair share unlike bagged feeds.

Before you can truly decide what you need, you need to know what you already have.

Much like people, cattle do not really need much in the line of extras if they are getting a truly balanced diet.

So, the first step you need to take is to call up your local feed guy. The one that has a reputation for service and honesty. Almost every area has at least one of these. Ask him to have his nutrition rep come out to your place and take some samples of the various feeds you are providing for your animals.

Around here, they will come and take the samples for free if you buy from them. We have this done every year. It does pay off.

This field man will sample the grass, possibly the soil and certainly any hay and supplements you are feeding. He will analyse these samples and provide advice as to what the cattle are getting or not getting.

He will then ask you what YOU want. Are you feeding for growth, fertility, young cattle, gestating cattle, and so on. You may have several groups of cattle, and be feeding for all of the above, or you may simply be backgrounding animals for sale at a later date.

Once the field rep knows what you want for your herd, he will take the information he has from the samples and put it together with the information you have provided.

With all of this information he will provide a feed plan that in almost all cases will exceed that of the people who do not take advantage of this service.

Work with someone who you feel comfortable and within a few years you will actually be very happy with the results.

Keep this relationship going over the long term - it does pay off.

Remember, the feed guys really do know their stuff - after all they have to keep their customers happy - otherwise they go belly up.


We went to the loose, bagged mineral about 5 years ago after having a couple of cows come up with "milk fever". We've never had a problem since. Your local feed store or co-op will carry mineral that is designed for your area, and you can adjust the mineral depending on what they are eating.. ie: oat pastures in the winter, coastal in the summer, dry pastures, etc.

The cows can't get enough of the mineral lick blocks, which is why we use the loose mineral. We do have salt blocks free choice all the time.. both the yellow and the regular. They pretty much choose what they want. We also keep free choice cotton seed meal / mineral mix in the bunks for added protein.

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