Written by Diane Cribley, Falkor Ranch
Just like humans, all mammal babies depend on their mom’s nutrition. However, they may be more dependant than you realize. Babies of all kinds rely on mom’s milk for their nutrition until their digestive systems are ready for them to forage for their own food. That said, Mom’s milk does not supply all that they need. It is deficient of many essential minerals. So how does nature accommodate that need? In utero, minerals are deposited in the baby’s liver and that is what keeps them healthy early in their lives.
There are several ways that you can help insure that adequate minerals are accumulated in those baby’s livers. Before I get into that though, let me share what you can expect in the way of minerals from hay that you may be feeding. In commercial hay fields where hay is grown year after year, the soil is depleted of many minerals. When it is chemically fertilized, only a few elements are provided nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Actually, since our soil is high in potassium, that is often not needed. What this easy to assimilate fertilizer does, is make the hay plants lazy and they don’t take up many of the essential micronutrient minerals. So what you end up feeding is mineral deficient. If you are fortunate enough to have a nice variety of plants in your pasture, this may not matter. If you don’t have good pasture, be sure to provide a variety of free-choice minerals or supplements that will meet those needs.
Making sure that your moms have excellent nutrition before they get pregnant, will eliminate the competition between whether she or her baby in utero gets those minerals that you feed during pregnancy.