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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With my battle to maintain a healthy level of copper in my herd, I often wonder if Im doing too much or not enough. Our well water is high in Sulphur so we use The Horse Hydrator inline filter (hose filter) to help reduce the amount of Sulphur in our water, we bolus every 3-4 months, and give quality herbs high in copper as well as Replamin as needed. I really want to understand Copper needs better and hope this discussion not only clears things up for me but helps readers better understand the copper needs for their herd. Thanks in advance for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

Some info I came a crossed while reading:

"Red blood cell formation, hair pigmentation, connective tissue, enzymes, immune system function, the central nervous system, and bone growth all have one factor in common: these processes need copper to function properly." https://www.newcountryorganics.com

Questions I often hear
*Am I doing too much?
*When is it enough?
*How do we know we have toxicity over deficiency?
*What are some antagonist I need to watch for?

  1. Antagonists such as zinc, manganese and iron compete with copper for absorption and utilization. Vitamins B6 and folic acid may also be helpful. Selenium and cysteine may be helpful. Research indicates copper may be excreted by binding with glutathione and metallothionine which require these nutrients.
  2. Chelators of copper include vitamin C, molybdenum and sulfur-containing amino acids. These bind and remove copper. http://www.healingedge.net
The signs of a copper deficiency
*anemia
*dull and rough hair coat
*diarrhea
*weight loss
*atrophied muscles
*bleaching color changes in hair coat
*fishtail
*Young stock can also experience incoordination and paralysis of muscles
*grinding of teeth
*become swaybacked
*or develop hypoglycemia.

The signs of copper poisoning in sheep and goats include:
• Weakness, panting, and dull attitude
• Pale mucous membranes
• Yellow discoloration (jaundice) of the mucous membranes of the eyes, gums and genitalia
• Dark brown or red colored urine
• Abortion in pregnant ewes and does
• Death

I hear many different ideas of how to dose copper. Copper should always be dosed at the rate of 1 gram per 22#. New boluses for goats come in 2 and 4 gram capsules. 2 grams being enough for a 44# goat and 4 grams being enough for 88# goat. SO what if my goat is 200#? will the 4 gram bolus be enough of a dose for him? No. He will need 9.09 grams of copper rods, or at least two 4 gram capsules, which is still a tad under the 1 gram per 22# or you can give 3 capsules giving a tad more, but still should be with a safe margin. Like wise when we give a 2 gram bolus to a 10 pound kid..that is double the dose. It is important to figure out what your herd needs. Your herd may need copper more often than mine, or less often. I don't think there is a one size fits all any more. Do keep in mind copper toxicity is harder to fix than deficiency. I remember when Copper became a big discussion, many farmers were so afraid to even dose a small amount, I know I was. There was so much talk about toxicity it scared us. Now we give it like its a Fred Flintstone vitamin LOL. I rather start small and add as I see the need than give too much at once. It's like me telling my kids, serve a little on your plate to start, you can always get more if it's not enough. But that is me.

We purchase the cow size bolus and break them down using a syringe I have cut the tip off of. I dose 1 cc per 60# which comes very close to 1 gram per 22#. I top that off with probiotics. I have another drenching syringe with water, I dose the copper then follow up with the water to help wash it all down. My goats are pretty used to this and do very well.

One way to check your levels of copper is have the liver tested when you process for meat or loose one. It's hard to do when you loose a beloved goat pet, but it would be for the good of the herd.

So, what are your thoughts? How do you manage your copper needs? How are you finding the balance?
 

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Great info!

I’m still not “up” on my copper needs because I’ve got one who is out of his deficient state but another who is just holding and needs another bolus.

But I really have found boluses to be a savior and I cannot believe the changes I’ve seen with them.

Replamin did nothing for my copper needs. Though it’s great and helps with selenium which I also have difficulty with.

I have high sulfur water and high calcium so together I’m always copper, zinc, and selenium deficient.

Again, my goats would not be improving the way they are without copper bolusing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I agree.. I could not do it without the boluses
 

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we use The Horse Hydrator inline filter (hose filter) to help reduce the amount of Sulphur in our water
Question about the horse hydrator, how often do you have to replace it? Does it have a replaceable filter?
 

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Question about the horse hydrator, how often do you have to replace it? Does it have a replaceable filter?
It's disposable. One lasts about 4 months or 2,000 gallons I think, and then you just trash it and buy a new one.

I just switched out mine, the filter was red from all the iron!!
 

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That probably wouldn't work for us, we have automatic waterers, one is in the direct sun which would probably crack it...plus a lot of goats and a cow

Anyone know of any other filter options? Or use the horse hydrator with a lot of animals and an automatic (float valve) waterer?
 

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That probably wouldn't work for us, we have automatic waterers, one is in the direct sun which would probably crack it...plus a lot of goats and a cow

Anyone know of any other filter options?
None except for direct well filters which cost a lot of money and work to install.

Automatic waterers won't work with the horse hydrator, it must be a spigot or hose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
we use a filter on our auto water...connect to the spigot first then the hose attached to the auto waterer.
 
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I gave my girls their first copper bolus this week, I used the UltraCruz one that the breeder recommended. I also found another thread with giving it in a banana, which worked great.

I only gave one per goat, they are roughly 110-115 lbs, 1 1/2 years old. I guess I'm still a little shy of the potential toxicity, breeder recommended one, so I went with that. UltraCruz container says they are good for up to 8 months, but I hear a lot of people give them every 4 months.

Are you all using the UltraCruz and if so, how often?
 

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I use the ultracruz 4 gram bolus and I bolus every other month. I look for a specific sign of deficiency on each goat and watch how it changes over time to tell me if I'm bolusing often enough.

For example, I have oberhasli goats and they have black stripes and black legs from the knee down. If I see any part of the black turn rusty, I bolus. Then I watch the rusty patch to see how long it takes to turn black again.

Every other month works for me. Your farm may need it less often.

Let's say you bolus every 4 months. If a black patch gets rusty again before the 4 months is up, then bolus more often until you find a schedule that keeps the black areas looking good.
 

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Thanks, that helps! I'll give this first one a month and see what changes happen. The issue I was having was shedding, I've read that giving the bolus may cause some hair to fall out, then the coats start to look shiny and healthier.

I'll take a picture tonight so I can compare in a month, they have brown heads and some other small areas of brown, so I'll keep an eye on those to see if the color deepens or changes any.
 

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Is it a safe assumption (as safe as any assumption is) that if they are otherwise healthy - appetite, drinking, bowel/urine, etc. - but their coats are looking rough - and a month or more has went by - it'd be safe to give another bolus?

I've read some symptoms of copper toxicity, but no experience - has anyone had or heard of this happening? Is it happening because the goats are getting more bolus at one time than they should or more frequently?
 

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Is it happening because the goats are getting more bolus at one time than they should or more frequently?
Either can cause toxicity. Too much at one time causes acute toxicity. Too much over time causes chronic toxicity.

When the improvement stops, it is safe to give another bolus.
 

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Either can cause toxicity. Too much at one time causes acute toxicity. Too much over time causes chronic toxicity.

When the improvement stops, it is safe to give another bolus.
I'm still a scaredy cat about it. Sort of like cooking, you can always add more salt to soup but you can never take it out so if you end up with too much your drinking the ocean.
 

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So, I have been giving my goats a copper bolus ever since we got our first goats. I have always mixed the rods in treats, or hid the bolus in treats.
I was watching a video from blue cactus dairy goats yesterday, she said you need to use the bolus gun to keep the bolus intact and that the weight of the bolus is what allows it to reach the bottom chamber where it will dissolve and the rods will implant into the lining where they will be slowly released over time. She said that when you mix the rods or bolus into treats, there is no weight to help it get to where it needs to go, and the majority of it just passes through.
What are your thoughts on this??? I've always seen an improvement after giving it the treat way but I am dosing everyone every 3 months.. and that seems like a lot.
 

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So, I have been giving my goats a copper bolus ever since we got our first goats. I have always mixed the rods in treats, or hid the bolus in treats.
I was watching a video from blue cactus dairy goats yesterday, she said you need to use the bolus gun to keep the bolus intact and that the weight of the bolus is what allows it to reach the bottom chamber where it will dissolve and the rods will implant into the lining where they will be slowly released over time. She said that when you mix the rods or bolus into treats, there is no weight to help it get to where it needs to go, and the majority of it just passes through.
What are your thoughts on this??? I've always seen an improvement after giving it the treat way but I am dosing everyone every 3 months.. and that seems like a lot.
Every three months is pretty average especially if you have well water.

Listen, I personally don't believe that's true because I've seen success either way.

Maybe @mariarose can elaborate on this.
 

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It is fine to do it either way.
If you think this is a lot, then look at your antagonists, iron or sulphur in the water, too much zinc, not enough zinc, a lot of alfalfa...

Usually the problem is the water. If you can't make your water source more pure, then you may well just have to give a bolus that often.
 

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Every three months is pretty average especially if you have well water.

Listen, I personally don't believe that's true because I've seen success either way.

Maybe @mariarose can elaborate on this.
we have had goats a little over five years now. I always thought we were doing good with copper. This spring we were dealing with deficiency in most of our does. We are coming through it alright, but I wanted to get some input on what others think about this. It's true, I've always seen improvement the treat way. I wonder if there are actual studies on this??
 
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