Macros and Micros – What’s in your deer mineral?
When you start looking at the nutrients needed for deer growth, and looking primarily at bucks for antler growth, we need to consider macro and micro minerals. A proper balance of both is necessary to maximize antler growth potential.
The two most commonly discussed are calcium and phosphorus. We know from livestock nutrition that a 2:1 ratio is the preferred level and that ratio carries over to deer as well. While deer carry a good amount in their bones, their needs can increase by 4 times during antler growth. During that critical period they will seek out a mineral source by browsing all types of plants, licking dirt and even consuming bone or sheds. Vitamin D plays an important role in the absorption of these macrominerals as well.
Another primary need is salt. Though it doesn’t have a major connection to antler growth, it has significant effects on the circulatory and musculoskeletal systems. Watch those roadsides after the highway has been salted, our deer may be lingering in the ditches looking for that extra! A good lick or mineral plan can help provide all these key macros needed and keep that buck home and growing in your area.
There is a lot of discussion around which microminerals are the most crucial and which are simply beneficial. Copper has shown benefits globally in all deer. In conjunction with Zinc, the combination works together in supporting overall health and immunity. Providing a mineral product can support your herd through seasons of stress, injury and infection.
Other key microminerals include Manganese, which promotes reproductive performance in does and bucks. Selenium, Vitamin E and Zinc all provide an important boost for the immune system and can help maintain herd health.