Penny wise and pound foolish? Why I don’t skimp on supplements.
February 20, 2016
These are interesting times financially. The prices of many items are going up, including feeds, hay and supplements. I hear and observe people saving money by cutting back on grains and/or supplements, switching to bargain brands, feeding less than the recommended amounts, etc.
I would offer the thought that this may be penny wise and pound foolish, as the old saying goes.
The folks producing those supplements, grain and hay are likely thinking those same thoughts about economizing, and switching to less expensive fertilizers (or none), using least-cost formulas with lower-quality grains, using less expensive and less absorbable forms of the minerals and vitamins in the supplements. So, as we cut back on our animals’ and our own nutrition to save money, are we creating longer-term issues with mineral deficiencies, lowered immune systems, slower growth, lower conception and birth rates? Will we end up having to deworm more often because the animals are unable to fight the parasites off by themselves? Will we end up with vet bills or lost animals due to various health issues that a solid immune system could have prevented? Will we ourselves end up at the doctor’s office more often? Or needing to use natural therapies for various illnesses? In my own experience, it is much easier to prevent issues than to deal with them after they occur.
I personally feed a very high-quality supplement program. I do it to have the healthiest animals possible that can fight off what nature throws at them without medical intervention. I also do this so the parents are passing on this higher vitality and mineral reserves to their offspring.
Here are some possible ways to save money while still maintaining optimum health for the herd and my family:
I skip one day a week on the supplements. This allows the body to flush any extra and saves me about 13%.
I could use a high quality amino acid chelated free choice vitamin/mineral mix* year round, and add the high-potency supplements prior to the start of breeding and during pregnancy.
If I had to really cut back, I would just give my favorite clay/diatomaceous earth/digestive support* daily, either milled into their feed or hand-fed, and my favorite prebiotic*. Both are fantastic digestion support.
I look for opportunities to buy wholesale. Both of the supplement lines I use offer wholesale options. I signed up and have saved at least 35% over retail.
A side note about animal feed mixes: many companies who do “least cost” formulations are simply cutting out the most expensive ingredients, or cutting it to nearly undetectable levels but still showing it on the label, and using more of the cheaper ingredients. Know and trust your feed and food companies.