Lana Rowley wrote:The high end stuff can leach the Calcium i understand.
The problem isn't a "leaching" of Ca; the problem is a metabolically low level of Ca in the blood combined with an inability to metabolize Ca from the bones and GI tract. As Janet said, the Ca-P ratio needs to be maintained on the ration, and alfalfa tends to be high in Ca and K
. The P needs to be adjusted then via the mineral mix.
Dairy cattle have a condition commonly referred to as "milk fever", (although that term is misleading because the animal does not run a fever, but actually experiences a drop in body temp due to a slowing metabolism) where Ca deficiency causes muscle tremors, weakness, and if not treated (IV Ca or the new Ca gels), death. Managing this problem has evolved a lot over the decades, and used to look at limiting Ca. Now dairy farmers are looking at the K levels used to fertilize growing forages, and in the dry cow period (equivalent to the late gestation period in sheep) Na, Cl, and K receive special attention. Some animals are fed anionic salts if needed.
I understand feeding straight alfalfa if it is the most convenient/cheapest forage around; but, from a ration/nutrient requirement standpoint, is it really needed?
Has anyone tried to give some Ca gel to a sheep who is trying to uterine prolapse while she is in the act? Maybe it would be worth a try....