Monday, May 3, 2010

Test Your Hay

We have decided that some of our goats are probably deficient in more than just copper. We were reading in our book, Diseases of the Goat by John Matthews because a good friend has had some trouble kidding this year. She has lost a doe to kidding complications, as well as having ewes trouble lambing. Also, another friend had a lamb born with ataxia (it had trouble walking with its back legs).

One of the things we suggested to our friend, Deb, was a copper deficiency in her goats. There are all sorts of symptoms for copper deficiency: low milk production, trouble with legs and bones, trouble kidding... and other problems listed in Diseases of the Goat. She had never heard of supplementing with copper for goats--only that you had to be very careful of copper and sheep since the sheep have a very low tolerance for copper.

My 'job' this morning was to check with the state extension services (every state has one) and find out how to get our hay tested.

I've often heard how helpful the extension agency is, I had no idea that they would be so kind! The man I talked to said he wasn't sure exactly where to send me, but he took my phone number and promised to call me back.

Sure enough, about 30 minutes later he called me back, sent me to the correct web address to find the correct form and phone number! Yay!

We will send a hay sample up next Tuesday (Prion attends the State University that does the testing, so she can deliver the sample for us). They will test for:
Total Elemental Analysis (Al, B, Ca, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Mo, Na, Ni, P, Pb, S, Sr, Zn)  cost is: 23.00
Total Arsenic or Selenium by ICP/MS, cost is $17.00 (we are testing for Selenium)

For $40 we'll know what minerals in what amounts are in our hay and we can then form a supplement based on that information. Hubby (Ph.D. in chemistry) will make the formulation up! We form an odd couple--he does all the scientific research, I do all the dirty work!

I'm sure that we will need to add some Selenium as well as some Cobalt to our Copper Supplement. It will be nice to know how much!


~Tonia said...

I am having trouble with Selenium here. Its almost impossible to overdose goats with Copper. I started using Copasure boluses for mine. It helps them fight parasites and they gave goats 4 times the recommended dose in one study and they showed No signs of Toxicity.
I need to get my soil here tested to know for sure on everything.
Let us know the results!! I am interested to know how it turns out.

TJ said...

Hi Tonia!
Nice to hear from you again. We have been bolusing Janice at 3-4 times the normal dose with the Copasure boluses. We couldn't seem to get the hair to grow back on her nose!

So we switched to copper sulfate, which we have to give to Janice orally because we have sheep, too.

We have to be very careful since it is easy to over-dose with copper sulfate, but very difficult to over-dose with the copasure bolus.

I was thinking about getting the soil tested, but the recommendation in Diseases of the Goat is to get the feed tested first. I'll let you know how the hay testing turns out!

~Tonia said...

I had 2 that I gave twice as much Copasure as the rest and the hair Finally started growing back on her nose!! I have considered putting some Copper supplement to see if they would eat it.. I dont have sheep to worry about just the goats.
You make your own hay?? I have a pretty secure supply right now but since we dont make our own anymore its what i can find. The guy I am getting it from right now gets his big bales tested for the dairy farms but not the square bales. But it all comes from the same area so has to be fairly close.. I think he just gets its tested for protein content though.

TJ said...

No, we don't grow our own hay. I don't think we would have enough time in the day to be totally self-sufficient. We have a good source of hay, always clean, no weeds, or mold. It's certified -- which means they hay is guaranteed 'weed free'. And I know they test for protein content, but not for mineral content.

You can put copper sulfate in the goat's water about once a month. It makes the water blue. That is the easiest way to get it into them. But we have the sheep, so we individually dose the goats. Hubby mixes the copper sulfate with water and brown sugar. They love it :) I'm sure it's the brown sugar that they love! And we dose them each day, just like people who take a vitamin each day.

~Tonia said...

Thanks! I will have to check that out! I am sure they would love the brown sugar!Haha