Are mineral supplements safe for deer?
QUESTION: Browsing at a store, I noticed a mineral salt lick containing Selenium. I take Selenium supplement and wondered if this trace mineral in the lick is safe for deer.
ANSWER: In the best of all possible worlds, deer should get sufficient nutrition from the food they eat. In reality, that’s not always the case. Soils in different areas lack certain trace minerals or micro nutrients that are important to body function and overall health, but are not required in heavy doses. This includes things like selenium, cobalt, copper, zinc, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum and chromium.
According to Dr. James Kroll, selenium is a powerful antioxidant and thought to play a role in eyesight, liver function, hair growth, heart health, skin health, cell division, antler development and sperm production.
Deer have a narrow tolerance for selenium, and in heavy doses it can be toxic. However, given the low concentration of this heavy metal in deer supplements, it’s extremely unlikely that an individual deer could consume enough to be harmful. — Recent Ask the Biologist Question:
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