Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

Does anyone here feed horse pellets instead of goat? I have been struggling with copper antagonists here like crazy and was getting very frustrated. I found out that the previous owners of our property were using sulfur powder to control the fire ant population, plus our well has heavy sulfur and iron.
Commercial goat feeds weren't cutting it, home mixed feeds weren't either. I use COWP every 2-3 months, Replamin Gel Plus every week to two weeks and they have free-choice Sweetlix Caprine Magnum Milk mineral. 
Recently (about 3 months ago) I went through all my local's feed store's different feeds and found a mare and foal feed that looked promising. It's made somewhat local to me so it is always very fresh and it has 60 ppm copper in it! I have been mixing it with beet pulp and BOSS. WOW! The results have been so wonderful! Milk production is up, coats are shiny and soft and body condition looks wonderful. I feel so relieved. I'm a little worried about what will happen as I cut back now that most of my does are bred for Spring kiddings. I don't want to over grain while pregnant and cause more issues, but it's so nice to FINALLY find something that helps. I may end up dosing Replamin Gel more faithfully when the grain stops for them. 
Just thought I'd stop by and share my experience and get some feedback from others on this subject. I hope everyone's breeding season is going well!!

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About the Kaeco article -- I didn't read the whole thing, but since you mentioned their copper suggestion, I did look at that. The way that they say copper above 250 ppm is toxic, is kind of a worthless comment. What measurement are they talking about? That is the liver level that is considered toxic, but when it comes to total dietary intake, it is actually much lower than that. Free choice minerals should be around 1500 to 1800 ppm copper because they consume such a tiny amount of the minerals and it needs to make up for the very low levels in forage, which is often single digits ppm. Anyway, that sentence is completely pointless because they don't tell you which copper level they are talking about.

You really shouldn't have out more than one mixed mineral because the goats may not be able to balance their intake. If you think one is not doing a good job, I'd suggest switching to another for a couple of months to see if you notice any improvements.

I'm not a fan of the New Country Organics goat mineral because it is 3000 ppm copper. Yes, there are some herds that need that much, but there are also herds where that much would kill the goats with toxicity. They sent me two studies that they based that level on, and they are on two herds, which basically just proves what I said. Some herds will do great with that. I'm surprised that a company would create a mineral for mass market with such a high level. It's the only goat mineral I know of with a level that high. There was a case study of a herd that had several cases of copper toxicity when they were feeding a cattle mineral with 3000 ppm copper. I would only recommend that level to someone who is already feeding a goat mineral that has a copper level at 1800 ppm and is still needing to copper bolus every three months. Then you know that you need that much copper. Otherwise, that copper level scares me.

It is not a good idea to mix kelp with an herbal dewormer since they serve two completely different purposes. You don't want them to consume too much or too little of one based upon their need for the other. They should be in separate dishes. If they go through the kelp faster than you like, then simply don't refill it as often.

If you do decide to do cafeteria style minerals, then you need to find individual minerals that do not use salt as the carrier. Research has shown that goats can consume minerals to fix deficiencies, but only if they do not all use salt as the carrier. They need to be able to taste a difference between the supplements.

On the hyper-extended legs in Nigerians -- in my herd, those have all been in cases where they are multiple kids that don't have enough room to move around in utero, so their legs get stuck in a bad position. They have all corrected on their own within a couple of days with no help from me. I quit doing anything after a vet professor told me it was caused by positioning in utero. I don't think you see it much in other breeds because other breeds usually just have twins.

I am copper bolusing every 2 months with 4 grams of copper, and giving replamin gel plus every 2 weeks. They also had Sweetlix magnum milk mineral (1,725ppm copper) and were still showing signs of deficiency. I am hoping that the 2,500ppm in the Concept-Aid will be enough, otherwise I will give the NCO a try. There are several people who sell the herbal wormer who suggested mixing it with kelp and leaving it out free-choice. So far I have had really good results with that. 

As for the hyper-extending knees, it doesn't start until they are around 11 months old usually. It is progressive. I've read that in some cases it can get better, but I haven't seen a case in person that it has corrected and I know several people who have this issue. It definitely isn't just crooked baby legs. It is a distinct hyper-extension at at the knee joint in the front legs. Usually just one, but in some cases it will be both legs. I have a 3 year old doe that we are going to have to euthanize because her legs have gotten so bad. My appraiser at LA this year said that they are seeing it all over the country now. I will see if I can find you some examples and I will link them below. 

Sorry I misunderstood your last post about hyper-extended legs. I was thinking that it was what people talk about in newborns.

Years ago there was a website that had a picture of a goat with very crooked legs that they said was due to copper deficiency. It wasn't hyper-extention though. They were more bow-legged.

I have been using the onyx as it is available, what else would you recommend, an ADM mineral, or one from tractor supply or Orscheln's

Deborah Niemann-Boehle said:

Emily -- here's the post I wrote on cobalt --

https://thriftyhomesteader.com/goats-cobalt/

Also, a month or two ago someone sent me the nutritional analysis of Onyx, and I would not recommend it. It has a lot of copper in it, but it is low in a lot of other important nutrients. I don't know why I didn't ask you to send me a pic of their tag. It's frustrating that they don't have it online like most companies.

Sweetlix Meat Maker seems to have the best combination in all of the minerals that I've looked at, which includes Onyx, Manna Pro, Fertrell, Purina, Golden Blend, and probably a couple more that I don't recall at the moment.

James Tinker said:

I have been using the onyx as it is available, what else would you recommend, an ADM mineral, or one from tractor supply or Orscheln's

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