Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

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I’m seeing symptoms in my goats that I believe to be mineral related. However I’m not sure which mineral(s) if it is indeed a mineral issue. Hair loss on body usually sides or spine. No hair loss on face or tail. Flakey, white skin patches. Rear leg movement abnormalities like swinging inward when walking and seeming to have hip instability. Bucks needing months of trying to settle does, does having inconsistent heats or failing to settle after exposure to multiple bucks. Coccidia, worms, and General illness increases. This all started after a cross country move.
Prior to this I had never had any of these issues. My herd had been in great health for years and now I’ve lost three goats in the last few months. All of my girls are now settled and I want to make sure they are in tip top health. They all receive a free choice mineral and a mix of alfalfa and orchard pellets in the evenings. Pasture during the day. We’re in Virginia. Thank you for any advice.

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Fertility problems are usually caused by copper and/or selenium deficiency. Skin issues on random parts of the body are usually zinc related. 

Copper deficiency can cause bowed legs. Is that what you're seeing when you say the rear legs are abnormal? 

All three of these minerals are very important to immune function.

What mineral do you have available free choice? Is it a loose mineral? 

Did you get necropsies on the goats that died? 

I used to use Purina goat mineral but when I started noticing more of these issues I switched to DeraFerm but they had mistakenly given me sheep mineral at first so I had to add a copper bolus. I’ve reordered the correct goat one and that should be here shortly. I just did another copper bolus today which is about 3mo after the last one. We did do necropsies and they showed meningeal worm. That pen butted up against my wooded area and has since been relocated but I’ve put in more barriers to keep the deer away. They showed acceptable mineral levels however the issues described above started to stack up the longer we were in this area so it’s highly possible that stores are just being depleted. I’m going to add in free choice zinc and continue with copper bolus and selenium as neeeed and I’m hoping that once the other mineral gets here it starts to help too but I may just need to always top up those three I guess. Thank you for your response and confirming my suspicions. At least I have an idea where to start. 

If this is the mineral you are getting ... 

The copper is okay if you don't have any copper antagonists in your well water, such as sulfur or iron.

The selenium is too low for breeding animals. I really want to see 50 ppm selenium, which is what they have in Purina and Sweetlix. Even with 50 ppm, some people in deficient areas still have to do additional selenium, so 16 is just not acceptable unless you have pet wethers. 

The zinc is also not as high as I like to see. Basically if they are telling you zinc in ppm rather than a %, it's too low because 1% = 10,000 ppm. 

And yes, it takes time to see a deficiency crop up after moving to a new place or changing minerals, feed, water, etc. It's not unusual to have someone with an established herd move to a new place and start losing goats. This is why I always say that  you shouldn't do something simply because someone else is doing it because every farm is different. And if you move a herd, it's really like starting over learning to work with the goats, so you can't expect that what worked on your old farm will work on this farm. 

That’s exactly what it feels like, like I’m starting all over even though I have the same animals. It’s been frustrating and devastating and very humbling but I also feel like it’s taught me a lot that I hope will help me do better moving forward. I’m going to switch back to Purina I think as well cause like you mentioned I tried deraferm based on a recommendation from someone else but I just don’t think it’s working for my herd. Live and learn. Thank you!  

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