Friday, January 31, 2020

Welcome To My New Blog Site

The decision to change was not an easy one to make.  
Eary in 2015, prior to starting the other blog, I searched the internet for a good blog app that worked well with a Mac.  Sandvox, by Karelia, was highly recommended, so I chose it. Everything worked well for a time.  As complexity increased, so did the need for support.
Unfortunately, the quality of support also declined.  I recently had a problem  uploading a file to the blog and sent a support request.  I received an immediate email telling me how much they appreciated my business and assuring me I would receive a reply within 24 hours or so.  I waited — and waited — and waited.  Finally, after several more attempts to contact them or the support community, I gave up. 
Google Blogger seemed a logical replacement choice as I had previewed it years ago.  I now wish I had started with Blogger as it is superior in many ways.  I guess, ‘Live and Learn” applies here. 
The old “Doc Holliday’s Blog”  ( will exist on the web for a time and some of the posts may be brough to the new site. 
I hope you enjoy the content and new visual format at
I look forward to r any comments or suggests you may care to share.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Why We Feed Minerals to Our Animals

In an ideal world the mineral needs of domestic animals are contained in the feedstuffs they consume — not so today. There are two main reasons we must supplement mineral to our animals. One, over the centuries our soil fertility and plant mineralization has declined drastically. Two, confinement of livestock has limited their diet to the five or six plant products we provide — down from over 100 when in the wild. In the absence of sufficient phyto- minerals in our feeds we are forced to supplement rations with ground-up rocks. 

Today, imbalances — deficiencies or excesses — of major, minor, and trace minerals are one of the main factors underlying reduced animal health, production, and reproduction. 
It is common nowadays for dairymen to either rely on force-fed computer generated TMR’s or a free-choice one-bag-fits-all livestock mineral. There are many problems with either of these approaches. The excesses or deficiencies created by force feeding an unbalanced mineral ration may have serious metabolic side-effects. (See Mineral Wheel, below). Consider the following: 
  • There is a significant difference in mineral concentration in soils (and in the crops grown thereon) in different parts of the country. Even crops grown on adjacent fields on the same farm may differ widely in nutritional value and mineral content. 
  • There is an appreciable variation in the nutritional needs of individuals within a species. These needs vary to accommodate seasonal changes, reproductive cycles, changes in feed quality, and many others. No computer generated ration can match the exact needs of each individual animal. 
  • Varying degrees of confinement restrict nutritional diversity as the animals are not able to seek out different plants to remedy their nutritional imbalances. Grazers are on the right track but need to strive for maximum diversity in plant species in their pastures. 
  • Many of our soils and crops are contaminated with GMO’s, glyphosate, and other toxic insecticides and herbicides that may interfere with mineral adsorption and utilization. 
  • Animals have been selectively bred to produce or perform at levels never intended by nature. This increases nutritional demands. 
  •  Eating dirt, chewing on wood, or other abnormal appetites should be considered a warning signal that something is amiss in the ration. 
There isn’t anything written here that you cannot prove to yourself. Anyone who doubts cattle can make valid nutritional choices only needs to watch cows graze in a mixed pasture. They do not just mow grass like a lawn mower, but pick and choose each mouthful. Research has shown cattle, if given the opportunity, will balance their protein and carbohydrate needs in one feeding period. They do the same for minerals and will search the fence-row or forest pharmacy for weeds or other plants that concentrate various essential trace minerals.

How To Do It Right 
The goal is to balance mineral availability with mineral need for each individual animal. It takes teamwork to do this and minerals are team players. Minerals interact with each other in complex ways. (See Mineral Wheel). 

It is unwise to supplement only one or two minerals at a time. If even one mineral is absent the team suffers and essential metabolic interactions may be impaired. Minerals are team players and to be successful you need all the team members on the field at the same time. 

The right way to supplement minerals is to provide individual sources of the full range of essential minerals and some vitamins. This allows the animals to exercise their innate nutritional wisdom to self balance their mineral needs. ABC’s Free Choice Cafeteria-Style mineral feeding programs are designed to meet all of the above named requirements. 

When starting on a self-select mineral program it may seem like excess minerals are being consumed. Animals will not only consume minerals to satisfy their daily requirements, but also enough extra to build back any depleted body reserves caused by past deficient rations.