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Friday, September 4, 2009

Copper and Healthy Goats

I was reminded today by the Dancing Farmer that I had started an experiment and had yet to follow up with the results (never get accepted as best practice if we don't publish the results.) So, here's what I've seen so far.

We had some serious health problems with our goats last year. Much of the problem had to do with liver fluke and other parasites. Once I got everyone back on their feet and reasonably healthy I added copper sulfate to their feed ration. I started giving 1 teaspoon per week to each adult goat. The results have been pretty good. Our summer fecal count was good. Haven't done the fall one yet (I should say I haven't had it done yet, I don't do my own. It is a skill I hope to learn, but don't have the time right now.)

I am seeing some indication that the copper level is still too low for some of my goats. One of the ways you can tell is looking at their coat.

This time of year the coats should be slick and shiny.

Most of them are, but a couple of the black goats we have look a bit sun-bleached, the hair has a bit of rusty red at the end. Another gray and white doe looks as shaggy as she did at the end of the winter.

Her hair looks rough and fluffy and if you look close you can see the ends are curled. These are sure signs of copper deficiency. I will be doubling the copper for these goats and adding an extra dose of dolomite. Hopefully this will fix the problem as we go into fall. I'll try to remember to post a bit more about this in a couple of months.

2 comments:

Barbee' said...

How do you know the medicine actually goes down the little pink path? Maybe they are hiding the pill under their broccoli.

Alan said...

Barbee, I use powdered copper sulfate. The grain ration I feed the goats has whole barley in it. I soak the barley over night in warm water in which I disolved the copper sulfate. This gets mixed with some roled oats, kelp, and a bit of dried molasses. They don't leave anything in the feeder to hide the copper sulfate under. "A spoon full of sugar..."

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