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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A lot of things point me to a possible copper deficiency in my goats (14 week old ND doelings) but I want opinions wiser than my own. All that and some more info is below the pic if you want to read it all, but for those who just want the meat of the question, here you go.

I have the Copasure goat 2g capsules, but none of my goats are at the recommended weight for it. It says for kids 25lbs or larger. Mine are 23.91, 22.48, and 17.3 lbs. Is it safe to give them the 2g dosage? I still need to find and buy a bolus gun that can hold that capsule. And how do I know I won’t shoot it down their lungs or something? I know that’s a weird newbie question, but it is an actual fear I have even though I would prefer to bolus them than to give it in a treat just so I administer it as correctly as possible. Plus, mine still only like tiny treats and are suspicious of any new food I try to give them.

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Here you can kind of see the almost singed looking hair and how her black is dulling. I have a brown one doing the same and it looks like it’s just starting on my white one. I do have well water (and it is filtered to the barn) that is high in iron and sulfur. Also, they seem itchy, especially the black one and the brown one. They have some dry, flaky skin but no lice. I looked for red irritated patches where they itch the most (near their hooves and on their sides) but so far it just looks like normal skin. It’s not incessant itching but it seems like the darker ones itch more than the white one. Could this also be from copper deficiency? Or is this likely mites or other bugs?

They have Onyx loose mineral and kelp (separate containers, both free choice) which they nibble at from time to time, free choice hay (Timothy/alfalfa mix from the breeder), daily access to browse (lots of saplings, leaves, vines and brush, there’s grass too but mine don’t care about grass) and they get 1/2 c of co-op goat feed, and 1/4 c alfalfa pellets each evening. I feed garlic daily, usually chopped up and coated with some olive oil, cinnamon, clove, slippery elm powder, cayenne, and ginger. Sometimes I mix in some pumpkin seeds. On some days they get this once, some twice, depending on where I am in my herbal worm preventative and EO schedule.

We had a bout with coccidiosis but they have recovered well. Their fecal samples are good now and no clinical signs remain. Only one goat had worm eggs in her sample, two bankrupt worms eggs. But I have never been happy with their FAMACHA scores, always seem borderline to me. And I think my two darker ones would do well to gain a little weight. And they are gaining from week to week, but I think their body condition could be better.

So my best guess is start with copper. Give it some time. And go from there. I’m just not sure if I’m right or if it’s safe to give copper yet.
 

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It says for kids 25lbs or larger. Mine are 23.91, 22.48, and 17.3 lbs. Is it safe to give them the 2g dosage?

Yes, it would be okay to give them each 1/2 (one half) 2g bolus

I still need to find and buy a bolus gun that can hold that capsule.


Jeffers Pet Supply (possibly Tractor Supply or a farm store as well) has a plastic calf bolus 2g and 4g size bolus gun that is a good length and size for goats, a dab of probiotic paste helps hold the capsule in place so it won't fall out when holding the opening downwards when getting ready to insert it


kelp (separate containers, both free choice) which they nibble at from time to time, free choice hay (Timothy/alfalfa mix from the breeder), daily access to browse (lots of saplings, leaves, vines and brush, there’s grass too but mine don’t care about grass) and they get 1/2 c of co-op goat feed, and 1/4 c alfalfa pellets each evening.



Calcium is an antagonist for copper. Kelp is high in iodine (too much can cause hyperthyroidism) and calcium. Timothy hay is approximately 2.1:1 cal to pho ratio and alfalfa hay is approximately 5.3:1 cal to pho ratio, combining both, there is an average of approximately 3.7:1 cal to pho ratio. Can't calculate the goat pellets, though the alfalfa pellets are also approximately the same cal to pho ratio as the hay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you! And good tip on the dab of probiotics paste. I will look at the goat pellets and check. I don’t know quite how to factor in forage but I’ll do some research, as that seems to be a big chunk of their intake right now. They rarely eat the kelp. I haven’t had to even top it off in the month I’ve had them and only had to top off the minerals once. The hay is much heavier on Timothy than alfalfa and we’re purchasing 2nd cutting orchard next month and will do the switch slowly.

I have a feeling copper is going to be a battle here but I hope not. I’m just relieved to hear it is safe to give it to them, even my runt.
 

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Forage is difficult to factor and be exact. The cal to pho ratio is higher in calcium with some plants during the spring when the sap is rising and steadily decreases as the seasons move towards winter,
 

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I used HappyBleats method of cutting off the tip of a syringe and putting probiotic paste in the syringe, then opening up the capsule and pouring it in the top of the syringe and then adding more probiotic on top of that. I used a three cc syringe, and I think using something larger would be easier next time. Make sure you round any sharp edges of the syringe you cut off. Cathy also does a drench of water after giving it, but I probably wont do that next time since I ended up just squirting some of the copper out of their mouth. 😬

I also have used something like these in the past. They fit 4g copper boluses well, but I don't know about the 2g ones: Amazon.com: Pet Pill Gun Handy Piller Tablets Dispenser Pet Feeding for Dogs, Cats, Animals: Pet Supplies
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh, that’s interesting. Never heard that method.
I read somewhere if you take it out of the capsule, it can scratch their throat or get chewed and not be the right shape to stick in the folds for the slow release. Is that true? Is it ok to take it out of the capsule to give it?
 

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Yep, it's okay to take it out of the capsule. I have to divide a capsule to get a half dosage amount due to weight issues. Hide mine in the middle of a sliced open fig newton or a banana hunk cut length wise. Gently mash the treat back together snugly. The capsule is not time released in any way, just a container to hold the rods. The rods are very tiny in size. If it is one of their favorite treats, they sometimes don't bother to chew much, just scarf them down. Helps if you give them a plain treat, then a copper treat, washed down with another plain treat. Have tried the empty syringe for dosing (6 cc size syringe) and they spit the rods out before I could even drench with water afterwards. Also started out using a bolus gun, head tossing, and clamped jaws was par for the course. Gosh, had to practically sit on one of them because he would lay down to avoid being restrained by his head. (Same results with the empty syringe as well.) Goats don't seem to like their heads being in a headlock grip. With a treat, there is no fighting, no struggling, no having to unclamp jaws and they don't even realize they were dosed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Absolutely, you can take it out of the capsule. I've been giving it to my goats like that for a long while.
Ok. That is so good to know. Makes me way less nervous.

Yep, it's okay to take it out of the capsule. I have to divide a capsule to get a half dosage amount due to weight issues. Hide mine in the middle of a sliced open fig newton or a banana hunk cut length wise. Gently mash the treat back together snugly. The capsule is not time released in any way, just a container to hold the rods. The rods are very tiny in size. If it is one of their favorite treats, they sometimes don't bother to chew much, just scarf them down. Helps if you give them a plain treat, then a copper treat, washed down with another plain treat. Have tried the empty syringe for dosing (6 cc size syringe) and they spit the rods out before I could even drench with water afterwards. Also started out using a bolus gun, head tossing, and clamped jaws was par for the course. Gosh, had to practically sit on one of them because he would lay down to avoid being restrained by his head. (Same results with the empty syringe as well.) Goats don't seem to like their heads being in a headlock grip. With a treat, there is no fighting, no struggling, no having to unclamp jaws and they don't even realize they were dosed.
To be fair, I don’t like my head in a headlock grip either. And that makes total sense about the capsule when you say it like that. I get overly worried about things I’ve read and that somehow blocks my logic. Now I just have to find a treat they’ll take. The only “treat” they get is an occasional pumpkin seed. I haven’t really treat trained them. They are just really easy to get them doing what I’m asking so far and I haven’t had to dig much in the bribery bag. Guess I’ll do a few days of experimenting to see what they’ll eat that can enclose the dose then go ahead and give them about 1g each.
 

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They are just really easy to get them doing what I’m asking so far and I haven’t had to dig much in the bribery bag.
The most favorite treat around here are whole peanuts, they are too small to hold a dose of copper though. I scatter a palm amount of peanuts as a REWARD for the goats following me to the browse sections willingly and unassisted, as the area changes every couple of weeks. Don't be surprised if one or more likes treat A and one or more won't touch treat A with a 10' pole. Sometimes something new has to be offered 2 or 3 times before they discover they like it, it's normal. The only time mine get the special treats of fig newton and banana is as a REWARD for taking their copper. When ever those rare occasions someone other than myself wants to interact with my goats, I let them offer a treat of oyster crackers as a BRIBE for the goats to approach someone they aren't accustomed to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I keep meaning to get whole peanuts and try them. Though if I’m giving them pumpkin seeds for a treat, which they love, and one drops, they won’t touch it unless I pick it up and wipe it off. Goats are funny. So far, they’re pretty good about staying somewhat close to me and browsing wherever I go but I know that won’t last forever. Just yesterday two wandered out of my site for a bit while one stayed with me. I wasn’t worried because my dog went to watch the two wanderers, but I do need a reliable way to call them back just in case. Treats would be great for that training. And then I’ll find out what I can use. And I think my black goat, Petunia, will try almost any treat and like it. The other two (Thistle and Jasmine) will take days to figure out what will work as they are suspicious of new food. Petunia even thinks the EO drenches are treats and comes trotting up when I have the drencher and drinks it all up without a struggle. The other two, well, it’s still a bit of a wrestling match. Oh, and I just built a little milk stand that I need to get them used to, so that’d be a good time to figure out different treats as well.

Although for two, they take probiotics like a starving bottle baby taking a bottle, but they know the tube, so I’d have to use an empty one if I went that method. The third one, my little runt Jasmine, also loves it but is the silliest thing when she takes probiotics paste. She sticks out her tongue and I put a dab on at a time and she does really weird faces, moves her tongue all around, finally swallows it, then sticks out her tongue for more. So I don’t think that method would work for that little weirdo.

I appreciate you all helping me out. I’ll let you know how it goes once I’m able to get some copper in them. I need to go get bananas sometime today. I think that will be my first treat attempt.
 

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I appreciate you all helping me out. I’ll let you know how it goes once I’m able to get some copper in them. I need to go get bananas sometime today. I think that will be my first treat attempt.
Reward verses Bribery is a mind-set.... Goats zero in on body language, tone of voice, and intention really well. They would prefer the Special Treats over the peanuts. That's why I am stingy offering banana and fig newton, and as a result they gobble them up really quick. The oyster crackers, they will take or leave those. I don't need or especially desire them to be receptive towards walking up to strangers. If they won't take a oyster cracker, their perception of someone else is respected.

Mine love seasonal fruit and vegetables like apples, watermelon, butternut and acorn squash, and pumpkins. Gives them a little variety in their diet and me a way to use up/share readily available and cost effective food sources.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I think I’d have to do that even with the 2g one I have since they’re so little. I’d love to hear your perspective too. I think we all come to our own conclusions and I’m at the learning stage and differing opinions help me out sometimes. And I know this sounds stupid, but how do I know if I go the bolus gun route, that I won’t accidentally shoot it down their lungs. I know, I’m such a newbie with these types of questions, but that fear is a huge deterrent for me.
 

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Go along the inner teeth line, don’t go center, go to the side and back as far as you can. Then smack the end.

Have someone with grain to help get it down in case you didn’t get back far enough.
Sometimes they chew it so you have to leave it at that.

I straddle the goat facing the head, open the mouth and insert.

If the bolus isn’t staying in the pill popper thing. You can jam in grain around the bolus so it doesn’t fall out before you get it in place.
 

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Good tips. Thank you. What side of the mouth? Or does it matter?
Doesn't matter which side. In some notes from a couple of years ago, came across information concerning empty capsules for copper rods. Size 0 for 2 gram and size 000 for 4 gram size. I think they can be ordered from Valley Vet. Once a capsule is opened to divide it, unless you have another empty capsule to put the rods in, the other half can't be given by using a bolus gun. Been there, done that, so tried using the empty syringe method with the left over rods.
 

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I can not man handle my bucks to get the copper bolus down them so I open and put in a little grain. I have to give them copper way more often then I do my does which I can man handle and shove down them, and it’s not because of weight since I get cattle boluses and break them down to weight. So if you can force it I say do it.
 
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