In this article: Learn why you should be providing baking soda for goats; what it is for and how to feed this supplement to your goats.
Goat nutrition is important. Good nutrition can make a big difference in the health of your goats.
This means feeding them a correct diet and giving them all of the supplements they need.
In a previous article I talked about giving goats free choice minerals. But there is another supplement that should be offered free choice that is often overlooked by goat owners:
The Complete Guide to Baking Soda for Goats
First let’s talk about why your goats need baking soda.
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a digestive aid for goats. It acts as sort of a buffer in the rumen and can help them if the rumen pH gets a little off.
This is similar to you taking a tums when you have heartburn or an antacid when you have indigestion.
If your goat feels a little ill after eating they can self medicate with baking soda to help return the rumen to normal.
Goats actually make sodium bicarbonate as they chew.
So while they are out browsing on weeds or eating their dry stemmy hay, they are chewing a lot. This is why these more natural feed sources don’t often cause a rumen disruption.
But if you are feeding grains or even hay pellets like alfalfa pellets, goats don’t have to chew as much. I know I have a few goats that seem to inhale their grain!
This can sometimes cause a goat’s rumen to become upset
By keeping free choice baking soda in the barn at all times, your goats can help themselves when their rumen pH is out of whack.
How to Feed Baking Soda to Your Goats
To feed baking soda to your goats you can follow many of the tips I outlined in my article on Minerals for Goats.
Baking soda should be fed free choice.
This means it is available at all times. I like to keep the minerals and baking soda side by side in separate containers.
You can even get a double feeder for just this purpose.
Baking soda should be fed by it self.
Don’t mix the baking soda with the minerals and don’t mix it in with their feed.
Your goats will know when they need it and how much to take. Mixing these things together can change the amounts they take in.
Make sure that you place your baking soda container in a place where your goats can’t stand in it or contaminate it and allow them to use it as they need it.
Check it weekly when you check your mineral levels and refresh and refill as needed.
Your goats may not use baking soda often. But since their rumens can get upset quite easily- from feed changes, eating too much grain, breaking into the chicken feed, etc, having this buffer can help them self medicate and keep problems from escalating even further.
Where Do You Get Baking Soda?
You can use the same stuff you buy at the store if you only have a few goats and they don’t consume a lot.
You can also find larger packages online- like this baking soda from Amazon.
We buy 50 lb bags from our local feed store.
Baking soda has a ton of uses, so we don’t have any trouble using it all.
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