Re: Uckele minerals for picky eaters
Hi Karin, sorry to hear Inky is having troubles with his minerals. I'm sort of in the same boat as over the past couple of months I'm starting my horse (for the first time) on minerals after working with one of the balancing resource people from this site. He wasn't/isn't keen on the idea. I know that can be very frustrating. I was trying it in a low pan and often he would paw at the pan in frustration and spill it all over the stone dust making it pretty much inedible.
To avoid the pawing problem I started dumping the pan directly on a swept-clean area of mat in his run-in. He seemed to like that better than the pan, but still not very well accepted.
By chance I had some 'fresh' hay (just out of a newly open bale) next to the little pile of feed+minerals and I noticed that he tolerated the pile of feed much better. It was like the little pile of hay, right next to the little pile of feed, was a comforting thing ... (?) or maybe it just helped surround the feed pile with a better smell. ;-) He could sniff the feed, maybe taste, then just turn his head slightly back to his yummy hay for a few bites of that. It took him a while, including a few walk abouts & then returning to the same location (there is hay in other locations) to finish up his feed + minerals, but overall this worked better for him. So now I serve the feed in a little horseshoe shaped pile of hay around it and he seems OK with that for the moment.
Another thing I found was that flax seed ground fresh just a few minutes before mixing and serving the feed helped to mask the smell better. I think the aroma of the flax is more potent just after grinding and he happens to like flax, or at least the smell of it, so that has helped me.
And I know you've probably already tried this because I read it here, but when I first started, I just used the smallest pinch of minerals added and kept the rest other ingredients the same. I also divided his rinse/soak/rinse beet pulp + flax in two servings (before adding minerals) so that
I could put a pinch of minerals in one and the salt + Vit E in the
other. I wanted to make sure he was still getting his salt even if he
refused the half of the BF + flax + minerals. Even though this didn't go well for many days (he refused the mineral half of the offering) I just kept at it. Each day I would sweep up what remained of the part he refused. He eventually ate both small piles. Then I combined the piles, but kept the minerals at 'just a pinch'. After about 7 days of success I would increase the mineral amount by another pinch, sprinkled over and mixed well. I'm still working on this and only up to about 40% of what he should get in a day, so for me and him it is going to be a very long process I guess.
One of the reasons I didn't add other (new) taste tempting items to his feed was that I just wanted to try to keep it simple and not buy a lot of other things ... but that is just me (i.e. my budget and so forth). So even though this process is very slow, for me this approach is working OK. For him, he seems to be 'accepting' that this is how the feed tastes and smells now so learn to live with it. At least that my hope! ;-) I think what helped was many days of repetition of the same ingredients, with very small amount of minerals and increasing the minerals only by a pinch amount every 7 days or so after he was accepting the current amount. All a very slow go, but working OK so far.
Note to Mods: I will update my case history for Hoover's minerals after I get him reliably eating over 50%.
Sept. 2016, South Central PA
Hoover's Case History: https://ecir.groups.io/g/CaseHistory/files/Mary%20and%20Hoover .