Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

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Does anyone use ammonium chloride for their bucks?  If so how much and how often do you use it?

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I don't understand. Use it for what?


I give my bucks minerals that have it in there since I do give my bucks a little grain (BOSS and raw pumpkin seeds) every night and like to lower the risk of urinary calculi. I also give mine a scoop of Goat Balancer (by Manna Pro) with their "grain" and it has some in there too. I haven't ever used straight AC but I'd love to hear if others do. It's only important if you grain your bucks apparently. 

The reason people give ammonium chloride to bucks is to prevent urinary calculi (urinary stones) when feeding grain. However, if you do not feed grain to your bucks, the odds of UC are pretty slim. There are some feeds and some minerals that have ammonium chloride mixed in.

Years ago I tried putting AC in my buck's water one winter when I was feeding grain, and the boys wouldn't touch it. I mentioned this to a vet professor, and she said it's very bitter. When I bought it from Hoegger back then, it included directions for using the AC for prevention and also treatment of UC.

Bottom line here ... Although I tried to use it years ago, the boys wouldn't go for it, and they've been fine for 12 years, including the winters when I give them grain.


Around this subject again,  because we have had the urinary stones in our wether.

Our buck Hermes and his sidekick, Hatfield the wether, eat about the same diet. They usually get rye-clover hay. They sometimes get oaten hay. Infrequently they get a bit of the alfalfa hay. They get some browse. They have free minerals and seaweed. They get no boss and no grain except for a small amount (1 Tbs.???) which is the lure to get them to return to their stable for the night.

The wether has had two bouts of urinary stones which have required surgery. (Ouch! $!!) The stones were analysed and are calcium carbonate predominantly. The vet says we should cease feeding all alfalfa and all clover (reduce calcium intake). The urine was tested and is alkaline. The vet says we need to acidify the urine with Ammonium chloride and not feed calcium rich food till the urine is reliably acidic.

1) Does any of this sound familiar to anyone?

2) Is the vet's advice reasonable? If so, how do we get the ammonium chloride into the goat/goats?

3) We assume that if the wether has problems, we might consider that the buck could develop the same issues. Is that a good assumption? And how about the does?

Thanks for any help....

Michael, you can order Ammonium chloride for animals on Amazon, I assume they ship to Australia? You can mix it into the grain you feed them-- just a tiny bit. I have started feeding my boys a commercial grain (just a tiny bit at night to come in) that has ammonium chloride in it. I mix it with grass hay pellets and some beet pulp. So strange that they are getting UC on such a small amount of grain... :(

I have ammonium chloride - my bucks would refuse anything with it in it.  Even grain.

I use ACV in their water, they get alfalfa in the am and a bit of grain,  orchard grass or really good field hay for the rest of the day and a little chaffhaye in the evening.  Our spring water is very acid so I presume that is a help.

Years ago I fed my Nubian buck the same - hadn't ever heard of UC back then and in seven years I've never had a problem. 

Sure hope it stays that way. 

Julia and Bev,
We are puzzled too about the reason for the wether getting plugged. We are assuming it is something we are doing wrong, probably in the feeding somehow. Our concern is that the possibility is there that what has appeared in Hatfield-the-wether is lurking just out of view in our bucks. (Oh no!!! Not in the bucks too!!!!) They appear to be pictures of health, but then so did Hatfield..., till one day he wasn't.
We found a source here for ammonium chloride (also called sal ammoniac I have learned). That part is easy-peasy.

We will start the ammonium chloride, but don't know how, nor how much (more trips to Dr. Google, the vet version). Bev, what is ACV? I suppose the AC part is ammonium chloride, but what is the V? And how much of that do you use in how much of their water?



I'd agree with everything your vet said. Wethers are more likely to have problems with stones because their urethra may be smaller, although research on this has been mixed. So, your buck may also have stones, but he may be passing them without difficulty. This is why people talk about castrating wethers as late as possible. Out of curiosity, at what age was he castrated?

ACV is apple cider vinegar, and it wouldn't help with stones. Humans take ACV as a supplement to make their bodies more alkaline.

Ammonium chloride is nasty stuff, so no surprise that your boys don't want it. There are some feeds and minerals in the US that have it added as an ingredient, which makes things easier. Many years ago, I purchased some AC "just in case," and it sat untouched in my storeroom for years. It included instructions for using as a drench. You can see what this particular brand suggests:

Did your vet have a prescribed amount? Do you have a way to test acidity of the urine to know if you're heading in the right direction?

And I hesitate to even mention this because I know you're working with a small gene pool, but because some people never see this and some see it a lot in their herds, there is the possibility that small urethras are a genetic trait.

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