Our goat herd always has access to a loose mineral mix and sodium bicarbonate. We also give copper boluses and cobalt boluses. Now that we added sheep, we need to be make sure we don't give the sheep too much copper, but still make sure the goats get enough copper for their needs.
Before we had sheep on the farm we used Purina’s Wind and Rain Cattle Mineral, which is comparable to its goat mineral mix, but with more copper and an anti-caking agent. The anti-caking agent is important for us since our livestock are out on pasture most of the year. Even though the mineral is in a covered feeder, it can still get moisture from the elements. This helps prevent any mineral waste. We also supplemented annually with a copper bolus (UltraCruz brand).
Since we added sheep, we’ve adjusted how we give minerals. Our buck and market goat herd still follows the same protocol as we have in the past. This will likely change as we add wethered ram lambs to that group.
Our doe/ewe flerd now has Purina’s sheep mineral, as well as sodium bicarbonate. Our goats now receive a copper bolus two times a year to make sure they’re getting enough copper for their needs. Both sheep and goats receive a cobalt bolus once, every 3 years to help prevent cobalt deficiency.
Our loose mineral is in a round, three compartment mineral feeder, covered with a round rubber flap the goats can push up with their noses (see photo above). Because we rationally graze, we have the mineral feeders on skids to easily move them to new paddocks. The mineral feeders are the 3 Block Bull Mineral Feeder from Behlen, which are typically found at many farm supply stores (we purchased ours from Farm and Fleet).
Here’s a bit more on our other supplements beyond the loose mineral:
Sodium Bicarbonate: This is the chemical term for baking soda. Think of it as tums for livestock. We have it in a section in our mineral feeder, so the goats and sheep can use it when they need it, depending on what they ate (or how much they ate) in the pasture. We purchase it from our local farm supply co-op, ALCIVIA, in 50 lb. bags, which is much more economical than buying boxes from the grocery store or even in bulk at Costco.
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I own and manage Cylon Rolling Acres in northwestern Wisconsin. On my farm I raise Boer - Kiko meat goats on pasture.
Cylon (pronounced Si-lon) is the name of our township in St. Croix County, Wisconsin. Sorry fans, our farm is not named after the robots of Battlestar Galactica.