Alternative Free Choice Minerals for Goats

Published Dec 10, 2015

In a Nutshell

Alternative supplements, such as natural minerals and kelp, are gaining popularity in some livestock production systems. These supplements are said to be more bioavailable to animals, increasing overall health. Cheryl Hopkins supplemented her goats with three different mineral treatments (mineral block, loose minerals and loose minerals plus kelp) over the 2015 grazing season.

Key findings

The goat herd consumed more of the mineral block than the loose minerals or kelp. No significant differences in parasite load, body condition score or hoof health were observed over three mineral treatments; goats remained healthy throughout the trial. Based on consumption, the mineral block was the cheapest to feed and the loose mineral plus kelp was the most expensive. Cheryl will continue to feed the most expensive supplement because of perceived health benefits.