Our friend’s over at Purina gave us a little goat advice that we would like to share with you!
How do you decide what goat mineral to feed? Is it the same mineral you’ve always fed, a mineral your neighbor feeds or are you skipping mineral altogether? Mineral plays a critical role in goat performance, so it’s important to select the right mineral for your herd.
While mineral may be a small portion of a goat diet, it aids in many vital functions and impacts everything from reproduction to feed efficiency and overall herd health. Provide a quality goat mineral that supports performance.
Here are three things to look for in your goat mineral supplement:
1. Provides consistent intake
The most important aspect of a mineral is to provide vital nutrients your goats might be lacking. But how can you be sure your goats are getting the intended nutrients if they don’t consistently eat the mineral?
Choosing a palatable mineral assures that your goats are eating and receiving proper amounts of essential minerals like copper and calcium. Also, look for a goat mineral supplement that’s formulated for low intake.
Palatability and low intake might sound like a contradiction, but the idea is for goats to get the nutrition they need while avoiding overconsumption. When goats consume mineral at target intake levels, no minerals get wasted and each goat gets the nutrition it needs.
2. Supports goat reproduction
Many forages lack the essential minerals needed for sound reproductive health. And, if goats don’t receive supplemental nutrition to fill the gap, you may see an impact on reproductive performance.
This could cause your cost per kid to rise steadily, which no producer wants to see.
Goats also have significantly increased energy needs during late gestation. Mineral deficiencies during this time can impact both the doe and the kid. Supplementing with a mineral high in calcium can help prepare goats for increased nutrient and energy needs to support overall health.
Providing a quality goat mineral can help, but so can another key ingredient: fat.
Fat provides energy and helps optimize body condition to support goat reproduction. Consider using high-fat protein supplements in conjunction with your goat mineral.
3. Formulated for year-round feeding
Many producers only offer a goat mineral during the fall when forage quality decreases. But your goat may lack minerals throughout the year and you might not know it. Mineral deficiencies are often overlooked because the symptoms can be slow to show or difficult to connect back to a goat nutrition issue.
Supplying a mineral when forage quality decreases is common practice, but the best way to support goat reproduction and performance is to provide a mineral year-round. Long-term mineral deficiencies can directly impact your bottom line since your herd won’t perform its best.
Look for a weatherized goat mineral supplement that can stand up to the changing seasons year-round. Minerals formulated with larger particle sizes can help prevent waste due to wind, water or anything else Mother Nature throws at it.