Nutrition is so important when it comes to having healthy goats. And often goat minerals are an overlooked part when it comes to learning about goat nutrition. Goats need minerals and without them you could end up dealing with a lot of issues and deficiencies that cause never ending problems.
So what do you need to know when it comes to goat minerals?
Goat Minerals- What You Need to Know
You may be asking, why goats need minerals in the first place. You may even be thinking about the common argument of- goats have been living in the wild for years and they don’t get minerals, so why is this so important?
But there’s a big difference in the life style of wild goats and domestic goats.
Why do goats need minerals?
First of all, wild goats are not fenced and are free to roam wherever they choose. Domestic goats are kept in one location all of their lives and simply do not have access to the forage they need to get all of the minerals they need.
Second, wild goats will only live in areas that give them what they need. Farmers all over the world keep goats where they would never naturally live in the wild.
Water source is another important consideration when it comes to goat minerals. Wild goats drink water from natural sources, such as rain, lakes, or streams. Your water source play an important role in your goats mineral absorption and well water tends to inhibit a lot of the absorption of their needed minerals.
Without goat minerals you may face a lot of additional problems in your herd such as reproductive issues, kidding problems, high parasite loads, coat problems and so much more.
So now that you know WHY your goats need minerals, what else do you need to know?
5 Things You Need to Know When it Comes to Your Goat Minerals
Your Minerals Should Be Labeled Specifically for Goats
Goats are their own animal. They may be similar to other ruminant, especially sheep, but they actually have very different nutritional needs.
You need to make sure that your minerals are specifically labeled for goats. Not all stock. Not Goats and Sheep. Goats only.
For example, goats need a lot of copper in their diets whereas too much copper can actually kill sheep. A mineral labeled for Goats and Sheep will not have the copper levels your goats need.
There are a lot of good minerals out there, Sweetlix Meat Maker is one that is very good. Manna Pro Goat Minerals are also readily available on Amazon or TSC. You can also check your local feed store. When choosing a mineral, look at the labels. A good mineral will not have too much salt- 15% or so max. And will have at least 1200 PPM of copper. Be careful not to get a mineral that is all salt!
You Should Only Feed Loose Goat Minerals
Goats are unlike other livestock in that they do not do well with a block mineral. Cow’s have a very rough tongue and can easily get all they need from a mineral block. But goats’ tongues are actually pretty soft, and they can’t lick enough of a block to get what they need.
When feeding your goats minerals, they should be in LOOSE form.
Loose minerals are easy for your goats to lick up and get exactly the amount they need.
Your Goats Should Have Access to Minerals at All Times
Your goat minerals should be out and available at all times. Your goats need access to them whenever they need them.
You can attach a mineral feeder to the wall, preferably in a place where they can’t contaminated it with poop.
Keep your mineral feeder filled at all times and refresh it when needed. Your goats will take it from there and eat it only if and when they need it.
Goat Minerals Should Not Be Mixed With Anything Else
Your goat minerals should also be given alone and not mixed with anything else. You want your goats to eat what they need of the minerals and the only way to do that is to have them plain.
This means you should not top dress your goat’s grain with minerals. And you should not mix it with other things, like baking soda, that your goats also need out at all times.
Place things like baking soda, kelp, or other supplements in their own separate containers so that your goat’s mineral consumption is not affected.
Goat Minerals Can Prevent Problems in Your Herd
It is amazing what proper nutrition can do for your goats! With the addition of a good, free choice, mineral and other supplements your herd will be so much healthier!
Copper deficiency can cause trouble with parasites, hair loss or other coat issues, and reproductive problems. Read more about treating copper deficiency.
Magnesium deficiency can affect milk production.
Selenium deficiency can cause weak kids, kidding problems and other reproductive issues. Read more about Selenium deficiency.
And so much more. So having free choice, loose, goat minerals is a must for the health of your herd!
© 2018, Sarah R Toney. All rights reserved.