GOAT HEALTH AND NUTRITIONAL BALANCING
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© August 2016, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
This is an introduction to working with goats with a nutritional balancing program.
Goats prefer eating pasture (leaves) rather than any confinement and rather than any other food. Goats are hardy animals and they usually can find grass to eat in most locations. Many goats do not do well in confinement, such as living in barns.
Grass is usually sufficient as food for goats. Do not feed goats meats, eggs, dairy products, fruit or grain, please. Hay (dried grass) is not nearly as good as fresh grass. Also, do not give goats “treats” (see discussion below).
TREATS AND SNACKS
Some people feed their goats treats, similar to those given to dogs. Just like the dogs, however, the treats and snacks are usually quite harmful. Some contain sugar, and most contain chemicals that are bad for the animals.
Goats can handle most types of drinking water on farms. Occasionally, the water is unacceptable, and they usually will not drink it unless they are starved for water. Farmers need to notice this and obtain better water, in this case.
GIVING SUPPLEMENTS TO GOATS
Usually, they must be ground up to a powder, then mixed with water and maybe a sweetener, and poured into the mouth. It is possible they could be added to a treat, provided the treat is healthful. Mixing the supplements with cream is also possible.
Most goats do not have thick hair, and they prefer a fairly warm climate – above about 70 degrees F. or about 25 degrees C. This can be important for a goat’s health.
DRUG MEDICATION AND VACCINES
Most goats do not get sick easily. If possible, use natural methods to combat infections. These include Limcomin from Endomet Labs for infections, or colloidal silver. These are much less toxic than all antibiotics.
Vaccines are not needed if goats are fed correctly and if they eat and take nutritional supplements based on nutritional balancing principles and protocols.
HAIR MINERAL ANALYSIS FOR GOATS
As with most all animals, goats should be fast oxidizers. Most goats are fast oxidizers, but not all. Those that are ill can be slow oxidizers. Four lows pattern is quite rare, and usually indicates the animal is close to death.
The ideal hair sodium/potassium ratio for a goat is probably about 0.35 to 0.4. This is a topic of research. Goats have a lower normal sodium/potassium ratio than some other animals.
If the ratio dips below about 0.3, it indicates a tendency for infections, blood sugar problems, and possibly other health conditions.
IDEAL HAIR VALUES
These will vary somewhat, depending on the breed of goat. This is a subject of research. For now, the ideals we are using are the following:
Calcium 220 mg%
Magnesium 70 mg%
Sodium 30 mg%
Potassium 60 mg%
Iron 10 mg%
Copper 1 mg%
Manganese 1.5 mg%
Zinc 11 mg%
Chromium 0.05 mg%
Selenium 0.05 mg%
Phosphorus 30 mg%
Boron 0.25 mg%
Lead 0.02 mg%
Mercury 0.03 mg%
Cadmium 0.008 mg%
Arsenic 0.006 mg%
Aluminum 0.2 mg%
Nickel 0.016 mg%
Please use rubbing alcohol to clean the area you will sample before sampling the hair, not after the hair is cut off.
Take the hair sample ideally from the head, along the top of the head near the brain. This should give the best accuracy.
Cut the sample as close as possible to the skin. Measure about 1 inch or less from the cut end, and cut off any hair that is longer than that to give a more up-to-date reading.
RETESTING THE HAIR
As with all animals, a retest in four to six months is usually adequate. It is not good to go longer than about six months if an animal is on a nutritional balancing program.
SOIL PROBLEMS, ESPECIALLY ALUMINUM
Many soils, particularly in Australia and New Zealand, are high in iron, manganese and aluminum. These minerals are called the three amigos because they are often found together. To learn about them, please read The Three Amigos – Iron, Manganese And Aluminum on this website.
Some soils are also high in arsenic and other toxic metals, depending on what was grown or raised on the soil in the past. The toxic metals will affect goats, in some cases, although goats are fairly healthy animals and can handle quite a bit of toxic metals.
Many goats are fast oxidizers and need extra copper. This is a standard supplement in nutritional balancing for fast oxidizers, especially those with a low sodium/potassium ratio.
Some goat farmers know this, but others do not. Also, it is important not to give goats too much zinc, as it will further lower their copper and cause severe health problems, starting with loss of hair or fur and progressing to heart problems and more.