Mineral Supplements for Goats
Goat Farming in South Africa

© Marinda Louw
This mineral lick can supply minerals and micronutrients for goats.

Minerals Needed for Goats

Calcium (Ca) and phosphorus (P) are stored in the skeleton, goats can add and draw from this reserve in times of need. Calcium and phosphorus are essential as components of bone and teeth and are required for building bone and tissues in the growing baby goat. Milk is high in Ca so the more milk a doe gives, the more calcium she needs. Lucerne is high in calcium but it can be supplemented in other feeds. A deficiency in Ca may lead to loss of milk and milk fever in does.

Calcium and phosphorus are interrelated and should be present in rations in the ratio of 2:1. Phosphorus (P) is needed for tissue growth and bone development and is important for its ability to trap energy during digestion. Grains are high in P.

Magnesium influences the optimal functioning of the nervous system and is related to the needs for both Ca and P.

Some minerals, such as selenium and copper, are only required in very small quantities - as trace elements. Copper (Cu) aids digestion and selenium is essential for cell metabolism. Deficiency symptoms include white muscle disease and stillbirths.

Zinc is involved in sperm production and deficiency symptoms include reduced hair growth, high bacteria in the mouth with excess saliva, stiffness of the joints and a low male sex drive.

A deficiency in iodine can be seen in a swelling of the thyroid and rough coats.

Feeding Goats Vitamins and Minerals

If a dairy meal for dairy goats is purchased, the feed manufacturer usually includes a list of vitamins and minerals. If a dairy meal is not fed, then it may be necessary to feed a mineral lick to supply the required micronutrients. There are many different types of licks suitable for different circumstances and seasons. Most licks contain salt to limit the intake, but the assumption is made that the goats will ingest enough to meet their mineral and vitamin requirements.

Please note: Information is for educational and informational purposes only and may not be construed as feeding or nutritional advice. For more information on feeding your goats contact your animal health technician, veterinarian or animal feed supplier.

By Marinda Louw