Evaluating mineral profile of sheep, belonging to different physiological states and in different seasons, is an important indicator of their nutritional and health status. This is important to prevent health disorders which lead to production and reproductive disturbances. A total of 167 blood samples were collected in four different seasons of the year from sheep having varied physiological demands in Shuhama Alusteng area of Kashmir valley. The plasma macro-minerals such as Ca, Pi and Mg were measured using standard kits; while as micro-minerals like Cu, Zn and Fe were estimated using atomic absorption spectrometry. The concentration of Ca was below the critical level during pregnant and lactating periods, and round about the critical level throughout the year. The Mg values were just above the critical concentration in all categories of sheep throughout the year. The concentrations of Cu and Zn were above the critical levels in all categories of sheep especially during the winter season. Pi and Fe levels were adequate in all throughout the year. In addition, a good percentage of samples were deficient in one or the other mineral round the year. The results suggest that sheep in the study area should be supplemented with Ca and Mg round the year; Cu and Zn during spring, summer and autumn seasons. Also, the influence of local agro-geo-climatic conditions plus mineral interactions involving greater sample size must be studied prior to attempting the formulation of area specific mineral supplement(s). Further, the dosage should be recommended as per the physiological need of an animal.
Key words: Sheep, physiological status, seasonal variation, minerals, Kashmir valley.
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