Quite a while ago, I read Pat Coleby’s book Natural Seep Care. Then I put it on the shelf for a long time, because her assertions and suggestions are a bit overwhelming, and not easy to implement. But I’ve decided to embark on following some of her advice, including offering the sheep individual trace minerals (instead of a commercial proprietary mix) so they can eat what they crave.
The first challenge was figuring out a sheltered, but moveable, device in which to offer this mineral buffet, since the sheep are in ever-rotating pastures. I nagged myself to craft something from scratch, but just wasn’t getting to it. So I finally purchased two nifty mineral feeder stations.
They are made by Behlen Country, I found the part number on the web, and my local feed store ordered them for me. They have three compartments inside, big enough to hold a cattle-sized mineral block, and I can fit bowls inside those to make more separate choices.
I was surprised when they arrived both by the price (over $136 each, with tax) and the size and weight-they are quite large and a little awkward to move. The picture and description on the web made them seem smaller! They appear to be designed for cattle, and I worried that the sheep would have a hard time pushing up the heavy rubber lid or realizing what was inside. But I needn’t have been concerned, they mastered it within a week. I propped the lid up with a stake for a few days to help them out. They have learned that kneeling in front of it and sticking their heads in gives them the best opportunity to “shop” for what they want inside there.
In the end, I was glad that the feeder is so sturdy, because the sheep also stand ON it! It is a really well-designed feeder, and I’m glad I didn’t try to make one, I don’t think I could have done as well.