Wether you’re managing 1,000 acres in food plots, or only have a small area you want to make more appealing to your neighborhood wildlife, knowing what nutrients an animal needs is the first step.
Its important to remember that animals in good condition generally have higher reproduction rates and are more resistant to all forms of disease and mortality than animals in poor condition. Thus nutrients affect both birth rates and death rates for most wildlife.
Some of the main food components that animals need are proteins, vitamins, fatty acids, minerals and water (same as us!). For hunters, minerals are important because they directly relate to antler development in deer.
The types of macroelements (which are minerals they need in large quantities) are:
- Calcium, Phosphorus, Sulfur, Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium, and Chlorine
And here are some of the trace elements, or minerals they need in small quantities:
- Iron, Zinc, Manganese, Copper, Molybdenum, Iodine, Selenium, Cobalt, Fluorine, and Chromium
A lot of store bought blocks contain these elements and are beneficial to spring bucks who are starting to grow their antlers back. BUT DON’T DISREGARD THE BENEFITS FOR OTHER ANIMALS! Female deer also need these minerals for healthy fawn development! Almost all Does are pregnant this time of year and anything to help grow bone for antlers will help grow the bones of fetuses. If these minerals aren’t available to deer and other ruminants in the wild, they can deplete their own bodies in order to support antler growth by taking the components from bone, organs, and other areas – which is bad news for the health of your herd.
Small mammals also need these minerals. Ever found an antler shed with bite marks on it? Or been driving around in late winter and seen squirrels licking the salt off the roads? All mammals (including us) need these nutrients in our diets – get a small mineral block for your backyard and all your wildlife neighbors will thank you.