offer loose minerals, free choice, at all times. We offer it in a
way that it cannot be "soiled" (stepped in or pooped in),
because if it does get soiled, the goat will not eat it. We do not
use mineral blocks because the kids climb on them and soil them and
then the goats will not use it.
use a cattle mineral mix that we can find, and buy, locally and has
in it what we want for our goats. We mix it equal parts minerals to
Diamond V Yeast Culture.
V Yeast Culture XP-DFM (which you should be able to order through
your local feed store) is all natural and helps increase ruminal yeasts and bacteria, which, in turn, aids in digestion
and helps the goats better utilize their food. It a sense, think of it as a "food booster". It also contains
extra protein and vitamins. (NOTE: This is not the same thig as brewers yeast, bread yeast or nutritional yeast.) We find when we feed this yeast
our goats health is generally better and their coats are shinier in the summer and thicker in the winter.
We also find that it increases milk yield. There are a few forms
of Diamond V Yeast such as XP and XP-DFM. We use, and really like, the "XP-DFM" . This XP-DFM is on the expensive side (~ $40 per 50 lb. bag), and we have to have our local feed store special order it for us, but it lasts a very long time and we feel it is most definitely worth the cost and effort. Just ask your feed store to special order it. If they won't, try HERE.
not use a mineral mix labeled for "sheep and goats".
This mix is really just for sheep and will not contain copper (sheep
can't have copper). Goats do need copper. You are better off using
a general livestock mix.
for mixes that contain the proper ratio of about 2 parts Calcium to
1 part Phosphorus.
also offer baking soda free choice in a separate container. Baking
soda aids the goat to buffer their rumen, which aids in digestion
and helps avoid bloat. The goats will use it if they need it. If the
baking soda "gets old" and you feel it is time to refresh
it, just sprinkle the old remainder soda on a stall floor.
like their minerals and baking soda fresh, so I offer only as much
as they will finish off in a couple of days. This helps avoid waste.
offer our minerals in such a way that the goats can't "soil"
them. We hang the mineral feeders, which we have modified by cutting
out a section in the middle so they will hang on a modified "livestock
panel". We have modified the livestock panel by using bolt cutters
to remove a section. The goats can now stick their heads through the
panel to get to the minerals, but cannot step in them. The other side
of the panel is our chicken coop, and the goats are not allowed in
there, so they cannot get at the minerals from the other side. Hardware
cloth keeps the chicken out of the minerals from the other side.