Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats

for people who love the littlest dairy goats

Thank you to Deborah  for the informative webinar this morning!  You mentioned a free choice "Selenium Bucket".  I could not find it through Caprine Supply or Hoeggar??  Where can it be purchased?

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I took a very brief look and didn't see it at Caprine Supply.

Having said that, I am wondering---how does one know if the area they live in is selenium deficient. Also, does that even matter if the goats living on our property aren't pastured? The property we live on has *some* weeds, but we are reluctant to allow them to nibble without knowing what they are (we do have mallow, which I think is ok, though). Other than the few weeds we have, it's completely barren. The guy that lived her before us was hyper vigilant about weeds and never grew anything here except a few pine trees.

There is a map on this page that shows you the average selenium concentration in soil in various parts of the US:

http://www.uwyo.edu/vetsci/undergraduates/courses/patb_4110/1-12/cl...

Even if your goats are not outside, I assume they're eating hay that was grown in the soil in your area, so that hay will be deficient in selenium, if you're in an area that's deficient. 

I'm curious why you're worried about letting your goats go outside. Fresh air and sunshine is much better for them than being in the barn. The number of plants toxic to goats is miniscule. Their system is much better at dealing with toxins than any other livestock. Is there anything in particular you're worried about? They love weeds and will clean up your pastures in no time!

Kristi Stone said:

I took a very brief look and didn't see it at Caprine Supply.

Having said that, I am wondering---how does one know if the area they live in is selenium deficient. Also, does that even matter if the goats living on our property aren't pastured? The property we live on has *some* weeds, but we are reluctant to allow them to nibble without knowing what they are (we do have mallow, which I think is ok, though). Other than the few weeds we have, it's completely barren. The guy that lived her before us was hyper vigilant about weeds and never grew anything here except a few pine trees.

Oh--no. I think I'm probably not explaining correctly. I don't at all mind having our goats outdoors. We have a nice fenced pen for them that we are putting them into during the day (is that also counted as pasture?), and returning them to the barn at night, or if we are not able to be home to watch for predators. I actually have other animals (rabbits) in the barn that aren't benefiting from the fresh air that they used to before the goats. We've only had tha goats for 6 days, so it's not been that long for either of them, btw, but having just learned that goats need fresh air and sunshine the way they do makes me actually want them to be outdoors inasmuch as it is safe for them. About the weeds--I guess that I was concerned that if they ate any amount of something that was poisonous that they could scour, which I've read can be very dangerous to them. Just being safe, i guess!
Also, thank you for the link. That didn't even occur to me about where they hay was grown. Makes perfect sense.

There are all kinds of lists of poisonous plants online, but many of them include things that most goat owners know are perfectly fine for them, such as black walnut and oak leaves. Our farm is called Antiquity Oaks because it is covered with oaks. Our goats have eaten oak leaves in every state from buds in the spring to dried up in the fall, and no one has ever had the slightest symptom of anything wrong. We also have a black walnut grove, which is where we keep the bucks a lot. I'm just glad I never saw those lists when I was getting started or I'd have kept my goats locked in the barn all the time.

For those who live down south, oleanders are quite poisonous, and depending upon how much goats eat, it can kill them. We used to have a wonderful member on here named Margaret, and she said that she had oleanders in her pasture, and the goats completely ignored them until they'd eaten everything else. Then they started eating the oleanders, and some got sick, and I think one died. But the point is that goats are usually smart enough to avoid things that are toxic to them.

Michael Pollan even mentions them in one of his books and says that they eat very small amounts of plants that are new to them. If it makes them feel off, they ignore it, but if it doesn't bother them, they eat more. That's probably why Margaret's goats ignored the oleander until there was nothing left in the pasture. Simple hunger over-ruled their knowledge of those plants. Margaret felt terrible about it and shared that story on here quite a few times.

I'd never heard that oak leaves are supposed to be poisonous, they are a major favorite with my goats. In fact, they're the number one choice for my doe. They also love the acorns in the fall, but I try to moderate how many of those they eat. Sometimes I wonder if someone decides that a plant is poisonous when it's really a fungus on it or something it's been treated with.

It looks like my area is fine in regards to selenium. We don't have all that many weeds on our property, so maybe it would be ok to let them try some after all. I had heard that other animals (like chickens) don't tend to eat stuff that's bad for them, but I hadn't heard that about goats. Good to know!

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