Nutrition FAQs

Nutrition FAQs2017-04-18T15:15:14+10:00

Stocklick’s nutritionist has compiled a few frequently asked questions to help you better understand the nutritional aspects behind supplementation.

If you have a question that is not listed here contact us and we’ll be only too happy to provide you with the answer.

You can also download our Guide to Feeding Dry Lick and Molasses for more information.

stocklick nutrition information

How much urea do cattle and sheep require?2017-04-18T15:15:15+10:00
Cattle Sheep
Breeder Animals 60 grams/head/day 8-10 grams/head/day
Dry and Growing Animals 30 grams/head/day
How does urea work and why is it toxic?2015-09-05T07:41:44+10:00

Urea is a source of non-protein nitrogen. Non-protein nitrogen is nitrogen not derived from protein, hence they are nitrogen sources. Urea is broken down to ammonia and carbon dioxide in the rumen. The ammonia is used by the rumen microorganisms to build their own bodies producing microbial crude protein. The microbes are washed from the rumen and the microbial crude protein is digested in the abomasums (true stomach) with the resultant amino acids being absorbed in the small intestine.

Excess ammonia from the rumen is absorbed into the blood stream and converted back to urea in the liver. Some of this urea is recycled into the digestive system via salvia and the excess is excreted in the urine. Urea poisoning occurs when the level of ammonia in the blood is above that which can be converted back to urea in the liver. This often occurs when urea intake is faster or at higher levels than the animal and the microorganisms are accustomed to.

Symptoms of Urea Poisoning:

  • Severe stomach pain
  • Proppy gait
  • Muscular tremor
  • Slow, deep and laboured breathing
  • Weakness and collapse
  • Bloating
  • Frothing at the mouth
  • Regurgitation of rumen contents
  • Violent struggling just before death

Urea poisoning affects the animals very quickly and animals usually die very close to the source of urea.

As poisoning occurs very quickly, treatment is often too late and therefore ineffective. However, if you come across an animal in the early stages of urea poisoning it is recommended to:

  • Drench immediately with 4 to 8 litres of a mixture of equal parts of water and vinegar.

Treated animals should be kept under observation as a relapse can occur several hours after the initial symptoms and therefore you should give a repeat dose after one hour.

Can horses eat urea?2015-09-05T07:42:50+10:00

Yes they can. However a horse cannot utilize urea like ruminants as urea is quickly absorbed from the small intestine and excreted before reaching the hindgut (where non-protein nitrogen would be converted to useful protein).

Horses are less likely to suffer from urea toxicity than ruminants tolerating up to 500grams of urea in their daily diet. However a single dose of 500 grams or more of urea is known to cause severe illness.

Hence, horses can tolerate cattle feeds such as drylicks and molasses which contain urea.

What is Rumensin?2015-09-05T07:45:18+10:00

Rumensin is a rumen modifier. Rumen modifiers modify the rumen environment, which in turn modifies the composition of the microorganisms. Rumensin favours the microorganisms that produce propionate – energy, and reduces the microorganisms that produce waste – methane. This means Rumensin improves feed conversion efficiency. Therefore, at the same level of feed intake, animal production will be improved.

It also prevents Coccidiosis, scours. Young animals are prone to Coccidiosis, especially during the weaning process as a result of stress, weaker health systems due to rumen functioning changes and differences in the feed quality. Coccidiosis, in severe cases can cause severe sickness and death, hence the need for prevention.

Note: Rumensin is toxic to horses. Feeding Rumensin to horses or other equines may be fatal.


How long can molasses mixes be stored in tanks for?2015-09-07T04:12:39+10:00

Molasses containing:

  • Urea Only: Long Periods – If the urea is completely dissolved than there will be no separation issues.
  • Rumensin: 3 – 4 months – after this period of time the Rumensin starts to settle out and therefore the molasses at the bottom of the tank will have a lower concentration of Rumensin than the molasses at the top of the tank. After 3 – 4 months it’s a good idea to remix the molasses before feeding out. This can be done by simply pumping from the outlet at the bottom of the tank back through the outlet at the top of the tank for a couple of hours.
  • Protein Meals: Should not be stored in tanks. Protein meals do not dissolve in molasses and will separate, creating a very thick fluffy layer at the top of the molasses. This layer is very difficult to remove from the tank as it contains little molasses and does not flow easily. These types of mixes should be put straight into troughs in the paddock.
  • Other: Such as phosphorus sources, salt, etc – depends on the solubility of the product. If the product completely dissolves there shouldn’t be any problems with storage for periods of time, but always check the product’s expiry date and instructions. If the product is insoluble it would be advisable to not store the product in tanks but deliver the mix straight into troughs in the paddock. Intermediate solubility – again depending on the expiry date and instructions on the product being used you could store these mixes for 3 – 4 months.

If you are unsure seek advice from your sales representative or our animal nutritionist.


After rain, do I need to remove the water laying on top of molasses mixes in troughs?2015-09-05T07:44:53+10:00

If the molasses has been mixed properly and the urea is completely dissolved there is no chance of the urea dissolving in the water. The safest thing to do is leave the water sitting on top of the molasses. The water will either slowly evaporate or the cattle can safely drink the water off the top to reach the molasses. The remaining molasses is safe for the cattle to consume as water is lighter than molasses and therefore will only sit on top of the molasses and not mix through.

NEVER stir the water into the molasses as you run the risk of diluting the urea concentration to dangerous levels, increasing the risk of urea toxicity. Mixing the water into the molasses can also cause fermentation problems.

What does total protein mean in the lick analysis?2015-09-05T07:43:09+10:00

Total protein is the combination of both crude protein and equivalent crude protein, (Crude Protein + Equiv Crude Protein = Total Protein). Crude protein is made up of true protein usually from the inclusion of protein meals, grains, etc.

Equivalent crude protein is derived from non-protein nitrogen sources such as urea and gran-am. (Non-protein nitrogen = nitrogen not derived from protein, hence they are nitrogen sources).

Phosphorus Deficiency – Why is phosphorus important? When should it be fed? How much phosphorus do cattle and sheep require? What are the symptoms?2015-09-05T07:42:28+10:00

Why is phosphorus important?

Phosphorus is found in all animal tissues and fluids and is involved in many body functions such as energy transfer reactions. Therefore, it affects every activity in the body, including growth and reproduction.

When should phosphorus be fed?
Phosphorus requirements are related to the animal’s intake of protein and energy. When energy and protein intakes are high and allow rapid growth and production (milk and reproduction), (i.e. during the wet season) the need for phosphorus is also markedly increased. In phosphorus deficient areas it is during this period, the wet season, that phosphorus deficiency is most evident and when additional phosphorus (supplements) is most needed.

Phosphorus is less important in the dry season as protein and energy are more likely to be limiting so intakes will be low and therefore the requirement for phosphorus is also low. Animals will show little if any response to phosphorus supplements during this period. There is even evidence that animal performance can be reduced if phosphorus is fed at high levels when nitrogen is deficient.

How much phosphorus do cattle and sheep require?
Cattle require 5 – 10grams/head/day, depending on the severity of the deficiency. Intakes should be at the lower end of the scale during the dry season and at the higher end of the scale during the wet season.

Sheep have a lower requirement for phosphorus as they efficiently utilize phosphorus because they recycle a large proportion of phosphorus, hence deficiency is not commonly seen.

Symptoms of Phosphorus Deficiencies

  • Depraved appetite – animals chew bones, twigs, bark and other strange objects. Bone chewing can also be a habit and be present even if phosphorus is not deficient.
  • Poor growth rates – research results indicate 10 -20% reduction in growth rates
  • Low reproductive rates – calving rates can be reduced by up to 40% on acutely (severely) deficient country.
  • Peg leg – Stiff, proppy gait and arched back.
  • Rough, coarse coats and cattle in poor condition, especially lactating breeders. Soft, weak bones.