A nutritional block can be used to supplement feeds for cattle, goats, sheep and all the other animals on the farm. The materials used to make a nutritional block can be obtained locally in most areas in Uganda.
What is it made of?
Anthill sand, ashes from burnt animal bones, salt and water are mixed into a thick paste.
After shaping the paste, it is left to dry and harden, forming a mineral-lick block that can be consumed by the animals.
The advantage of using a mineral block is that it can be stored for over a year and the animals can feed on it for several days. It also gives immediate results.
For example, after a few days of feeding on the block, a cow’s milk production will begin to increase.
The nutritional block is also pocket-friendly because a farmer can make it himself on the farm if he has been trained. Farmers can also buy the ready-to-use mineral blocks.
Animals can be fed on the block alongside fodder, legumes, grasses and tree leaves.
The blocks are important to the health and performance of the livestock because they supply essential vitamins and minerals such as selenium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous and salt. Animals require minerals in small quantities for the maintenance of health, growth and reproductive functions. This also helps replace the quantities secreted in the milk.
Although some animals may not show any sign of mineral deficiency if they did not consume the mineral block, they may be susceptible to diseases and may not breed in time.
Animals with a deficiency in minerals also have a slower growth and lower milk production rates than can be obtained, had they received an adequate supply of the required minerals.