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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just picked up our first dairy goats two weeks ago, a first freshener 2 year old and her buck kid (who is getting traded back to the breeder at weaning for a yearling doe). Mom is a La Mancha-Alpine cross and we love her to pieces. She gives us about 2.5 lb of milk a day with just the morning milking, but she seems super bony and thin and she has dandruff. The breeder said she was dewormed the week before we got her but I don't know what was used. She was on goat chow there, but we switched her over to alfalfa pellets, some grain, grass hay, BOSS, free choice loose minerals, and pasture & browse. We are total goat newbies, however, and not sure how much to feed or if what we are feeding is right. We just want to bolster her health. Advice?
 

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Get a fresh (never hit the ground) handful of the pellets (poop) and take to a vet for a fecal analysis. Have them check for for coccidea also. That will tell you what parasites you are dealing with and what dewormer to use.

How is her energy? Slow and quiet and lethargic or bright and inquisitive?

You could purchase some Calf Manna from Tractor Supply. It is a feed supplement that helps add weight.

Could you post a photograph of your girl?

Congratulations on your goat ownership!
 

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Congrats! Sounds like you've got your work cut out for you but you've got this!

First off, yes, fecal. Always a good idea and a necessity in this situation. And a photo for us to gauge just how underweight she is.

Check her FAMACHA scores. That's the color of her inner eyelids. Should be nice bright/dark pink, google FAMACHA scoring to learn more if you don't know how to do this.

It sounds like you have got her on a good diet, pretty balanced. What loose minerals are you giving her?

Does she have a rough coat, any hair loss especially on her face and nose? Is her tail up and perky, tilted down as if it were crooked, or down in general? Does she have a fishtail (balding and hair loss at the tip of tail, creating more of a v shape of hair than a fluffy poof).

Dandruff can be from mineral deficiencies. Most commonly, a zinc deficiency. However there can be many other causes. Have you checked through her fur for lice? Small black or blue-ish bugs? Mites are a possibility as well, if you are seeing scabs etc.

Answering our questions can help us form a better idea of how to help you. :):)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Here she is! She's pretty perky but calm, and her tail is up. Her coat seems kind of rough to me but no hair missing from her face or the end of her tail. I see no scabs, nor any lice. I'll have to try to see her color in the morning - barn lights aren't giving me an accurate look. The minerals are Sprout complete goat minerals, which I matched to some numbers I found in a goat book suggesting amounts and ratios of copper, zinc, selenium, etc. This is my trouble, though: almost all I know is from books and research and forums, nor experience. I don't feel I know what I'm looking at. I was told her milk production seems low but I'm also a newbie milker. I feel like I get her throughly milked out, and her kid looks like the picture of health. I think she seems thin but what do I know?! I just want her to be healthy over the long term, and to support her health as we go. She's our family milk goat, our kids love her, she's got a sweet disposition and her milk tastes wonderful.
2019-06-24 18.11.37.jpg
 

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I'm familiar with Sprout minerals. The levels are OK, but the ingredients aren't very bio-available. If you can change them, I think you'd be happy.

You sound like you've got a nice home for them and nice feed, too. Once we get this doe fixed up, all will be well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm familiar with Sprout minerals. The levels are OK, but the ingredients aren't very bio-available. If you can change them, I think you'd be happy.

You sound like you've got a nice home for them and nice feed, too. Once we get this doe fixed up, all will be well.
Thanks! Well, what would you recommend as an alternative to the Sprout minerals? What's more bio available?
 

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It's so great she has a lovely personality and is fitting right into your family and you are enjoying her milk!

Her fur tells us she is certainly mineral deficient. At this time of year her coat should be completely smooth, shiny, and sleek. But she is still somewhat fluffy and rough. Also, the reddish color of fur on her back legs tells us she is copper deficient as well as the thinner hair of her tail. I hate telling new goat owners to spend all sorts of money but I do think you will need to purchase a few additional supplements to get her in tip-top shape. Definitely continue offering the Sprout minerals and use it up! But the next bag can be a slightly better loose mineral. How would you feel about giving her an oral supplement once per week in addition?

Could you be more specific about how many pounds of alfalfa pellets and grain she is being fed? Also, what is the protein level of the grain?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Right now she's getting 3 qt alfalfa pellets on the stand in the morning and 3 qt in the evening. Her grain is oats, wheat, flax seed and black oil sunflower seeds. She gets 2 cups of that daily and a cup or so of sunflower seeds on the stand in the morning. Free choice grass hay.
 

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@Dulcy I can't stay, I have to get back to picking berries. I invite you to read this thread. There's a lot in there about ingredients and how they can determine if the goat is getting enough of a mineral or not.

Pale lids are a sign of anemia. That can be from a lack of iron (because of blood loss to parasites, for instance) or because of a lack of copper. Your picture definitely shows a copper deficiency, which, by the way, can lead to a parasite problem.

Anyway, here's the thread,
https://www.thegoatspot.net/threads/excellent-minerals-you-know-how-i-love-me-those-minerals.194612/

You might wish to cut back on the sunflower seeds. That's quite a lot of oily seed.
 

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Maria, quick question, what berries? We are picking BUCKETS of our blueberries!!!!!!

Yes, no more than a tablespoon or two of BOSS. Too oily.

I have had copper deficiency related *mild* anemia. However I would get a fecal done on her to be safe no matter what.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks guys! You spurred my research onward and tonight we gave a copasure bolus in the hope of getting on the right track.
What is your feeling about the rest of the diet I described? Enough, too much, too little, lacking? Sounds like the BOSS needs to be dialed back...
 

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The rest of the diet seemed fine, except the Sunflower Seeds seemed a bit high to me. I think you take good care of your goats and all we want to do is fine tune things for you.

As for your minerals, very often cattle minerals are higher quality than goat minerals.

When you look at a tag on a bag of minerals, you want to see a few things. Multiple forms of a mineral, instead of only a single form. The word Complex is often an indication of quality, and so are the words Amino Acid. If the ingredient list has mostly oxides, it's pretty poor, and should be extremely cheap, because it isn't worth much. Watch out for all the mineral forms to be Sulfates, too. Sulfates are better than oxides, but sulfate this and sulfate that can add up to an awful lot of sulfur, and that isn't awesome.

So more than one form of the listed minerals, not filled with oxides and sulfates, and you want to see Complex and Amino Acid in there.

If you let us know what minerals you have to choose from, then we can help you sort them out.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
maria
The rest of the diet seemed fine, except the Sunflower Seeds seemed a bit high to me. I think you take good care of your goats and all we want to do is fine tune things for you.

As for your minerals, very often cattle minerals are higher quality than goat minerals.

When you look at a tag on a bag of minerals, you want to see a few things. Multiple forms of a mineral, instead of only a single form. The word Complex is often an indication of quality, and so are the words Amino Acid. If the ingredient list has mostly oxides, it's pretty poor, and should be extremely cheap, because it isn't worth much. Watch out for all the mineral forms to be Sulfates, too. Sulfates are better than oxides, but sulfate this and sulfate that can add up to an awful lot of sulfur, and that isn't awesome.

So more than one form of the listed minerals, not filled with oxides and sulfates, and you want to see Complex and Amino Acid in there.

If you let us know what minerals you have to choose from, then we can help you sort them out.
mariarose, thanks for affirming that we are doing a good job with them. We are such newbies, we just want to take the best care of them because they are already taking such good care of us! We have a kind of nice feed store the next town over that might carry some stuff that's a little better than the Sprout minerals - I'll call them and find out, then let you know. I appreciate your help so much!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
One other question - I read you should make the loose minerals available free choice so she has them in an open feeder in her stall. Of course that means they're only actually available to her when she's in there, and she's out browsing most of the day. Should I put some out for her while she's outside? Also, I read that they sort of know what they need and will take as they need it, but she goes through it extremely slowly. Should I just trust her intake or do I need to help her get more?
 

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If it suits you best to have it only in the stall, I don't see a big problem with that.

They like it fresh, so putting some out, say maybe a weeks worth at a time, will help them be attracted. And a better mineral will also be more attractive. But remember, this isn't a feed, they shouldn't stand there and chow down. Just a few licks through the day.

Hope this helps.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi @Dulcy - are you beginning to see improvement in your doe? It will take several months for mineral deficiencies to correct but hopefully you are seeing a little here & there!
Oh, thank you for asking! I believe we are. The dandruff is gone, her coat looks much more sleek and she's much less bony looking. It might be my imagination nation but I think I'm starting to see her black hair looking blacker? Her color is better too, on the inside of her eyelid. Her milk production has also come up.
How do you know when to re dose? We gave the copper bolus just over two weeks ago, I think.
 
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