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Goats/Kelp for my goats

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Question
Hello, We raise Oberhasli Diary Goats in the state of Virginia. They are raised in large pastures with plenty of grass, and we hay/grain them in the winter and while pregnant/milking. They are given goat minerals and baking soda free choice and they nibble it when they seem to need it. We also copper bolus them when needed and give selenium gel a month prior to kidding. CDT is all up to date. They are all very healthy and we love them very much. My question is this: we give our milking does kelp in their grain on the milking stand for extra nutrition, but we have been told to just leave the kelp out as free choice along with their minerals and they should just nibble on it when they need it. But when we leave the kelp out as free choice, they all gobble it up like it's candy. Does that mean they're deficient in any way? Will they eventually stop eating it all and just come to it when they need it? We want all of our goats (milking does, kids, bucks, etc.) to get kelp- not just our milking does- so leaving it out free choice would be the best way to do it. But with them eating it all as soon as we put it out, we blow through a bag in a matter of a week or so! That is very expensive for us and definitely cannot afford to continue this way. What is your suggestion? Thank you!

Answer
I have had the same experience as you. I put it out free choice only intermittently, as they would consume a bag as fast as I could pour it out. I don't believe it is a deficiency, I use think they do see it as candy. I have not found them to slow down, but I am not wealthy enough to experiment on how long it would take for them to stop wolfing it down.

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Cheryl K. Smith

Expertise

Goat Health Care; basic goat management. Author of Goat Health Care (2009) and Raising Goats for Dummies (2010)

Experience

Publisher of Goat Health Care, www.goathealthcare.com. I have raised miniature dairy goats since 1998. I published Ruminations, the Nigerian Dwarf and Mini Dairy Goat magazine for 7 years and mentor other goat owners, as I was mentored for my first years.

Organizations
American Goat Society (AGS), The Miniature Goat Registry (TMGR)

Publications
Raising Goats for Dummies (author) Goat Health Care (Editor and Author), Ruminations, Dairy Goat Journal, Issues in Law and Medicine, Topics in Health Records Management, Oregon Bar Bulletin, Midwifery Today, Countryside

Education/Credentials
BS, Health Information Administration JD, Law

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