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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That's really exciting that you found something that works so well for your goats. How much copper is in your loose mineral?

It has a minimum of 1750 ppm of copper. It's formulated for goats on mostly alfalfa so it has extra phosphorus to help balance out the calcium. I have some lines of Nigerians who have issues with hyper-extending knees if not managed properly and since I switched to the high phos mineral and got the Selenium powder from Fertrell I have not had any further issues with crooked legs.

You could probably go a little higher on the copper in your minerals when you cut back on the grain, if you can find one that has all of the other ingredients you need. I know I hate to make any changes when I find something that works! You could also just increase the frequency of the Replamin Gel when you cut back on the grain.

How would I go higher on the copper in the minerals? Should I add copper sulfate? I feel like I'm already coppering the heck out of them lol. I'm good with increasing Replamin, but is there any other way?

I wouldn't try to add copper to the mineral you have. I'd look at other brands on the market that have more copper. A lot of people swear by Onyx, which is made by Cargill. It's a cattle mineral. You could see how the rest of those nutrients compare to what you're using now.

I just looked it up and there is a dealer 20 minutes from me! I'm going to be calling around tomorrow to see if I can get my hands on some. I was worried about the Calcium/Phosphorus ratio, but it is 1:1 just like the sweelix, so I should be good there. The only thing I'm questioning is the cobalt content. It's considerably lower and I've read that cobalt deficiency can effect milk flavor. What is your opinion on this? Should I try the Onyx and then just supplement extra cobalt? 

I haven't had any experience with cobalt deficiency, so don't really know what they mean by affecting milk flavor. I'm putting cobalt deficiency on my list of things to research and write about next. Mineral deficiencies don't usually happen overnight, so if you only switch to the Onyx when you're not feeding grain, then switch back to Sweetlix when you are feeding grain again, things might stay balanced? 

It will certainly be an interesting experiment. I will update after a few months on Onyx with how it worked here. Thanks for your help!

I found this an interesting read. I can't wait to read what you have to say about it as well!

UltraCruz makes a cobalt bolus, and while I'm not particularly crazy about the company, I think I'm going to order some and try it out. I have a friend who swears by them for her Nigerian herd and she is somewhat local to me. 

I also ordered some Onyx this morning! (I'm glad I can post about goat minerals in excitement here lol). 

I do and some brands have diatomaceous earth mixed in as well a higher copper content.  I have fed for a few years to bucks and does off and on inbetween hay and with.  Sometimes I even soak in water and they love that.  I do NOT feed grain as so many have had birthing issues feeding grain. It makes for larger babies especially bucklings with they are the first to come out LOL.  I stopped for two years and no birthing issues...sweet!  Oh and the worse is sweet feed and anything with molasses... eeek.

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

Hi Deborah! I ended up leaving it out in addition to Sweetlix because I noticed the issues with the other minerals. I can no longer get it because the feed store would need me to buy an entire pallet for them to order some in. I am currently trying Concept-Aid by Vitaferm and my goats LOVE it. I leave Sweetlix out too and they seem to like them both equally. I have been doing so much reading the last several days that I dream about goat minerals lol. I also ordered a bag of the goat mineral from New Country Organics to give their mix a try.

I made a post a while back about hyper-extended front legs in Nigerians. I am seeing it everywhere now, in large herds and small. I am convinced there is a genetic component to it, but whether that is for the hyperextention itself, or a predisposition to be deficient in certain minerals that support joint health, I am uncertain. This, in addition to my copper issues has sent me on a research frenzy. Some of my friends that are also breeders have been looking into this too. A friend sent me this link last night:

I disagree on their copper recommendations, but that could just be out of date. I am not sure exactly when it was written. 

I am certain that I am having issues with calcium:phosphorus balance here so I've stopped feeding alfalfa. I think the excess calcium was causing zinc deficiency and the molybdenum was not helping my copper issues either. I am currently feeding oat hay and perennial peanut. 

I think I am going to make a giant mineral buffet the way they do with cows and let my goats self-medicate. I am going to order some monosodium phosphate and leave that out in case I need to switch back to alfalfa because my other hay becomes unavailable again. I am hoping that stopping the alfalfa will rectify the zinc issues. I'm worried that If I just add a ton of supplements I will only make the imbalances worse. 

I currently have out free choice: herbal wormer/kelp mix, Selenium/vitamin E powder, Concept-Aid and Sweetlix Magnum Milk. 

I plan to also add Diamond V yeast and Monosodium phosphate in their own separate dishes. Sorry, I know that this is a lot. I do value your opinion though! 

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