Goats, like other animals, need nutrition to live, and it is considered to be of low quality if they lack minerals, which can be gotten from grains and goat minerals, available in supplements. Without the adequate amount of minerals in your herd’s diet, you are liable to face issues concerning muscle function, reproduction, meat, and milk quality, among others.
Essential goat minerals that help to improve their overall health and functions are nine. They include iron, calcium, copper, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, sodium, selenium, and iodine. These minerals help to improve every activity that involves the muscular tissues, improves or maintains the appetite of your herd, strengthens their immune system, and improves their meat and skin quality.
This goat minerals guide for homesteaders will help you, as a small-time goat farmer, fix the mineral problem that you may have in your herd, helping you eliminate many potential health problems your herd may pose in the future. Our raising goats article is a great resource when getting started!
Why Do Goats Need Minerals?
Minerals are one of the important classes of nutrients that animals need to perform their daily metabolic activities. Although needed in less quantity compared to other nutrients like carbohydrates and proteins, their importance cannot be overlooked.
In raising goats, getting the right nutrient ratio in your herd’s diet goes a long way in determining how well your goats handle adversities from harsh weather conditions and parasites. The important nutrients that help with these are vitamins and minerals.
Minerals are easily gotten from food sources that provide carbohydrates and proteins. However, they do not contain enough minerals that your goats need to function optimally. Therefore, you need to supplement the deficit. While some goats may seem to thrive without goat minerals supplements, others may not, due to the difference in prevailing weather conditions and genetic factors.
Regardless of the health status of your herd, and the experience you’ve had with raising goats, you need more from your goats, and these are the reasons you should use goat minerals.
Better feed consumption and Conversion
Minerals, such as zinc, are important in improving your goats’ appetite. With improved appetite comes better feed consumption. This translates to improved health as long as the feed your goats consume meets other nutritional needs.
Feed that contains all necessary nutrients, including minerals, improves not only the internal health of your goats, protecting them from infections from parasites, but also helps them convert the nutrients into good meat and milk.
Reduced Anemia cases
Inadequate iron, an important mineral, leads to many health complications in goats. Iron is important in the formation of hemoglobin, an important protein for the red blood cells. It is required to help transport oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body.
A shortage in the optimum amount of hemoglobin your goats need will lead to anemia which is characterized by weight loss – because there is inadequate oxygen to burn consumed food and release its essence for use – and tiredness, among others.
Include iron as a goat mineral in your herd’s diet and see a marked improvement in their outlook and production.
Reduced Reproductive Issues
Some of the common reproductive issues in raising goats include abortions and stillbirths. These issues can be solved by adding more minerals to your pregnant goats’ diet. Minerals such as iodine, manganese, selenium, and phosphorus, are important during the pregnancy stage of goats.
Using goat minerals supplements that contain these nutrients will increase the chances of safe birth in your herd, helping you to expand your herd easily.
Better Meat and Skin Quality
As a homestead goat farmer, you are probably raising goats for the meat and milk they produce, as your household needs them and maybe, for a little income, when you get to sell some of the excesses.
The income you get from selling excess meat can be affected if your goats do not have enough minerals in their diet. This is because they do not convert enough nutrients from the feed they consume into meat to help them have good carcass weight.
Also, their skin and coat become brittle and unattractive due to the action of parasites they should be able to resist if they have enough minerals in their diet. Minerals responsible for better skin and coat health include copper.
Improved Milk Production
If you are big on harvesting milk from your goats, you may need to up their mineral intake as it helps them produce more milk. More minerals, such as phosphorus and iodine, help to improve milk production, giving you more output and income, if you choose to sell.
Also, in lactating kids, they get access to more and better milk, giving them good nutrition till they are weaned.
Proper Goat Mineral Consumption
While your herd must get adequate goat minerals, it is also essential that it is in the right quantity, with other nutrients. Some of the feed ingredients they consume already contain some amount of minerals; it is, therefore, important that you put that into consideration when giving them mineral supplements.
The proper way to give your goats minerals are:
Mixed with their grains
Many grains are high in minerals, such as magnesium and phosphorus. However, they are also low in other – sometimes, iron and calcium. Despite the dependence of your goats on grains, especially during the cold months, for energy supply, the grains shouldn’t take more than 10% of their daily diet and in that grain mix, mix pelleted minerals into it.
Your goats will pick the pelleted minerals supplement with the grains, giving them a balance of energy and minerals needed to process the carbohydrates.
As pelleted feed
While there are mineral supplements that are available as powder and blocks, it is preferred that you give your goats minerals that are available in pellets as it is easier to pick and they get to consume more. Block minerals can only be licked and your goats can only lick so much before they get tired of it.
Pelleted minerals can be mixed with grains, fed to the herd on its own, or mixed with alfalfa and other leguminous feed material.
Our Top 3 Goat Minerals
To help you, as a homestead goat farmer get the best mineral supplements for your goats, we have compiled our top goat mineral supplements, highlighting their pros and cons.
Manna Pro Goat Mineral
Manna Pro Goat Mineral is a specialized blend of minerals and vitamins for goats. It contains different minerals, including ammonium chloride to prevent urinary calculi that develop due to the excess consumption of calcium. It is available as loose material, aiding in digestion and free-form feeding.
- It can be fed on its own or mixed with goat feed
- Manna Pro Goat Mineral contains ammonium chloride to prevent urinary calculi
- It digests and absorbs easily
- Costly compared to other goat mineral supplements
Redmond Goat Mineral Supplement Mix
This goat mineral supplement is a mix of minerals and salts in a manner that helps your goat to consume more by appealing to their instinctive desire for salt-rich feed. It is fortified with vitamin A, D, and E, giving your goats the immunity boost they need to ward off potential infections.
Formulated by farmers, you can be sure that all considerations have been given to the health of your goats, maximizing their milk and meat production without compromising on their overall health.
- It contains no filler or artificial additives
- It is fortified with vitamins
- It contains over 60 naturally occurring trace minerals
- It can be dusty when supplied alone in the feed trough.
Purina Goat Mineral Supplement
Purina Goat Mineral Supplement is a blend of vitamins and minerals, prepared to give goats of all ages the needed minerals and vitamins for better overall health, improved bone development, milk production, and vibrant skin.
It is available to goats as coarse particles that can be mixed with their grains to minimize waste and reduce dust.
- It contains minerals and vitamins
- It is suitable for goats of all ages
- Purina goat mineral supplement can be mixed with grain, minimizing waste.
- It is unflavored and may be repelling to goats for this reason
Minerals are important nutrients in your goats’ diet. They influence their milk and meat productivity and determine how well they are vigorous, even in the presence of pathogens. Goat mineral supplements help to provide minerals that may be lacking in grains and forages, giving your herd a balanced diet.