Mineral salt block in a plastic feeder

Goats are often seen as an enjoyable, friendly, and independent species with an excellent capacity for exploring and entertaining themselves. But there is one thing that goats must have for their health and well-being that many goat owners don’t know about – salt blocks. Want to know the best part? Keep reading to find out!

What are Salt Blocks?

Salt blocks, also known as mineral blocks, are soluble salts in blocks or licks used to supplement animal mineral intake. Salt blocks are made up of either a combination of different metal ions or a single metal ion combined with sodium chloride.

Salt blocks for goats are dietary supplements that provide basic levels of minerals and other components for the health and nutrition of goats.

Salt blocks provide essential elements for the health of goats, such as sodium, magnesium, chlorine, sodium chloride, and phosphorous, that goats otherwise would not obtain from their grass-feeding diet, especially during the summer drought.

Depending on their size, the blocks can last anywhere from two weeks up to a full year and provide a great source of salt and nutrition for goats. Though salt blocks used to be the leading dietary supplement for goats, other multi-mineral licks are available for the health of a goat. Some salt blocks also include extra vitamins and minerals tailored explicitly for goats.

Do Goats Need Salt Blocks?

Although Goat owners aren’t necessarily obligated to provide salt blocks for their animals, there are several benefits. Without access to them, goats can become malnourished, leading to a weakened immune system and even death in some cases.

In addition to being essential for general health and wellness, salt blocks also play an important role in providing goats with crucial minerals – such as calcium, phosphorus, and sulfur – and vitamins.

White salt block

Benefits of Salt Blocks to Goats

  1. Salt blocks are beneficial to goats as they provide much-needed minerals and components that are not in the general grass-feeding diet.
  2. These blocks, particularly the ones with added vitamins, are very beneficial to goats, as they help keep the goats healthy, help boost their immunity, and help with the growth of their bones and muscles.
  3. Additionally, these blocks help goats grow healthy fur.
  4. Salt blocks can also be beneficial in keeping the goats energized and hydrated.
  5. They provide electrolytes that help to regulate water balance in goats and keep them hydrated.

Providing your goats with salt blocks will not only prevent them from developing any health issues that accompany inadequate mineral intake, but it will also help keep them happy and healthy.

In addition, helping to ensure that they get all the minerals they need can benefit their overall coat and hoof health.

Potential Overconsumption

Goats can become addicted to eating salt blocks if they are introduced too quickly or if the blocks are too close together. Hence, it is essential to monitor their behavior and ensure they are not consuming too much salt or mineral content.

As goats build a habit of overconsumption, they may even go to the extent of licking the blocks too often, which can lead to health issues and toxicity. As a safety precaution, salt consumption should be kept in moderation.

Types of Salt Blocks

Various salt blocks are available, each with a unique function and purpose. Let’s look at the three most common types of salt blocks for goats.

White Salt Blocks

The most commonly found type of salt block is white salt. White salt blocks are from pure sodium chloride or table salt. They are often seen as “loose salt blocks.” White salt blocks can provide minerals and trace elements to animals such as deer, goats, elk, and livestock.

White salt blocks can also add flavor and seasoning to foods. It would be best to use the white salt blocks to give goats the necessary trace minerals.

Pink Salt Blocks

Pink salt blocks are similar to white salt blocks but are colored pink to help differentiate between the types. Pink salt blocks comprise a combination of sodium chloride and calcium carbonate, which results in a sweeter and lighter taste than traditional white salt.

Pink salt blocks can provide minerals and trace elements to animals and flavor food.

Red Salt Blocks

Red salt blocks are from a combination of sodium chloride, calcium carbonate, and potassium chloride. This combination creates a salt block with a richer flavor than the other two types and can be used to provide minerals and trace elements to animals and season food.

Red salt blocks must be used in moderation as they contain higher amounts of sodium and potassium.

How Should I Give my Goats Salt Blocks?

Place the Salt blocks in an area where goats can access them but not in a place that can get soggy or overly humid.

Investing in a salt block holder is also a good idea, preventing the blocks from becoming too dirty or contaminated. Ideally, the blocks should be somewhere where goats can quickly get to them and lick away.

Salt blocks should be far from direct sunlight and other heat sources, as salt generally has a higher melting point than many other minerals. The goat’s salt licks should be set in an area of a readily accessible height for the goats.

It is also important to note that salt blocks must be placed away from other minerals, like phosphorus and calcium, so that goats do not consume disproportionate levels of either type of mineral.

What Happens When Goats Don’t Get Enough Salt Blocks?

Goats need an appropriate mineral intake to keep them in top health. Salt blocks are a great and easy way to ensure that your goats have the minerals they need. Goats need minerals and salt to help their intestines function fully and properly to aid digestion.

If a goat doesn’t have access to a salt block or consumes enough salt or minerals, it can lead to some severe health issues such as:

  • Anorexia and weakness cause excessive panting, agitation, and difficulty walking or standing.
  • They can also develop anemia, reproductive issues, and metabolic imbalances, which can cause permanent damage.
  • Depression: Depression is one of the top concerns when goats don’t get enough salt blocks. It may cause them to become lethargic and stop eating. It can lead to malnutrition and weight loss, jeopardizing their health.
  • Rumen Acidosis (Bloat): Rumen acidosis, or bloat, is a severe and potentially deadly condition when the acids in the goats’ rumen become abnormally high. Bloated goats will have a swollen abdomen, exhibit difficulty breathing, and may even collapse from the pain. If not treated quickly, this condition can be fatal.
  • Atrophy Of The Skeletal Muscle: Atrophy of the skeletal muscles can also occur due to inadequate mineral intake. It will affect their mobility and physical performance.
  • Loss Of Appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Weakened Immunity

Additionally, if their mineral needs are not met, their immunity will weaken, and they can become susceptible to various diseases and illnesses.

These are just a few health issues that can occur when goats aren’t getting adequate salt or mineral intake. It is essential to ensure that they have enough salt blocks available in their environment to combat these potential issues.

You can provide them access to a mineral block explicitly designed for them or offer them a commercial salt/mineral block available in many pet stores.


In conclusion, goats need access to salt blocks to remain healthy and strong. Now that you know this, goat owners do not necessarily need to provide salt blocks for their animals. Still, it is highly encouraged since it can help prevent many related health issues associated with malnourishment and mineral deficiency.

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