Applying minerals is especially important to support the fertility of the ewe. The mineral requirement is high towards the end of gestation and at lactation start. The supply of minerals from the basal diet is often insufficient, particularly when grazing takes place on sandy or peaty soils. Sandy soil, e.g., contains less copper and less cobalt (required for Vitamin B12, an essential vitamin to mobilize glucose). Peaty soil contains more iron and sulphur, minerals that counteract selenium.
The major advantage of a bolus, as opposed to a mineral bucket, is the controlled administration. From a mineral bucket, some ewes will consume more than others, sometimes even too much! And other animals will ingest insufficient amounts, or nothing at all. With a bolus, all animals can be treated individually, the mineral supply is evenly distributed at the correct amounts. Preventive use of a bolus ensures that mineral levels are kept at the right level, and avoids the incidence of diseases caused by a lack of minerals.
The risk of an oversupply of minerals is also not to be underestimated: this may lead to, e.g., copper intoxication. Copper metabolism differs between breeds of sheep: Texel sheep are more sensitive to copper, and utilize copper from the diet more efficiently than other breeds. That is why we offer mineral boluses with and without copper.
After administration by means of a bolus shooter, the bolus is located in the reticulum of the animal. The Topro Opti Trace Sheep bolus is available in two varieties: daily mineral release towards the rumen during 120 or 180 days. The 120 days variety is much smaller, and, therefore, also very suitable for lambs from 25 kg liveweight.
Research shows that selenium improves the fertility of the ewe, and that it results in heavier lambs at 28 days of age2. Next to selenium, the Topro Opti Trace Sheep bolus also contains a number of other minerals and trace elements. Want to know which and what their function is?
The active ingredients in a bolus can be divided in minerals (like sodium, magnesium and calcium) and trace elements (like cobalt, selenium and zinc). To optimize the functioning of a sheep’s metabolism, these substances are of key importance. Shortages may lead to decreased growth, immunological problems, and lower fertility.
Tabel 1: Functions of minerals and trace elements in the Topro Opti Trace Sheep bolus (Schothorst; Fry et al., 2013; Manual mnerals for cattle, sheep, goats (2005).