So as well as pursuing careful supplementation to mitigate some of the problems this causes I thought I'd take a bit more of a look at the other source of iron that Grace eats in any quantity.
150g unmolassed sugar beet to be precise. And it's important to get the unmolassed product which I know can be tricky in some countries such as the US.
Raw unprocessed beet typically yields between 17% and 22% sugar, in some circumstances it may peak at 25%. The processed, unmolassed beet is 5% or less. But add molasses and you can be looking at much higher levels.
The breakdown for the umolassed sugar beet I use is this:
Copper 10mg/kg (twice my hay)
Zinc 20 mg/kg
Iron 450 mg/kg (less than half my hay)
Sugar 5% (slightly more than half my hay)
So the beet has a better nutritional profile than my hay.
I know the company I buy it from test their beet at least twice a month. I have it in writing. And for completeness I have checked with another company and they check every batch too.
So what am I going to do now?
I knew Grace was getting too much iron and not enough copper. But until I had continuity of hay supply testing it was pointless. I always worried it was the beet. How wrong could I be!
So now I am going to rejig her ration a little. I won't worry about feedng a bit more beet and a little less hay and I will mineral balance the lot. It's relatively easy when you know how.
Grace is really looking forward to her new ears.