Goats will overeat certain things and not others - why?

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by Feira426, Feb 8, 2020.

  1. Feira426

    Feira426 Active Member

    Dec 11, 2019
    I was talking with a friend the other day about some random stuff, and somehow goats and minerals came up. I mentioned I was planning to try the individual loose minerals, and said something about goats (and other animals) supposedly being pretty good about taking the amounts they need of each mineral when they have access to them all separately. She reminded me that she once had a goat that broke into her chicken feed storage shed and ate a bunch of layer feed and died.

    I think most herbivorous animals will tend to overeat grain foods to the point of sickness or even death. But they seem to handle minerals very differently. Why is that? How come when I put loose minerals out, my goats will take just a little and leave the rest, but if a goat gets into your grain storage, they’ll kill themselves eating grain?
  2. toth boer goats

    toth boer goats Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2008
    Corning California
    Loose salt and minerals are craved by goats. If they are deficient, they will lick more of it. If their bodies do not need it, they will not lock from it.

    Sometimes, you have to add more minerals almost daily, because they crave it.
    Other times, it still sits and we have to refresh it.

    Think of it this way, when humans want more salt, our bodies crave it, so, we add more right?
    The same with goats, their bodies tell them when they need it.

    Some goats will eat dirt or strip bark from tree's to get it, if they do not have free choice minerals.

    Now grains are like candy, like people, we crave sweets and may have that bigger bowel of ice cream to quench that urge, same with goats, but they do not know when to stop.
    Just like us, we may eat too much making us sick. But we don't die from it, but goats do.

    Hope that makes sense. ;)

  3. Goats Rock

    Goats Rock Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    NE Ohio
    Another reason goats can eat themselves to death: Since goats (and horses) are prey animals, they had to grab a bite to eat and run from predators. So they ate in small amounts never staying still. Since we keep them mostly confined, they still have the eating urge, but since no predators, they stand on one place and just keep eating. There is no shut off valve, plus they love grain (like Toth posted!)