March 19, 2012

Book Review: Pat Coleby's Natural Goat Care

I learned about this book, Natural Goat Care by Pat Coleby, on the KinderGoats list. I found a used copy at a reasonable price, and ordered it immediately. I will likely refer to it in upcoming blog posts, so I wanted to give you an idea of what the book is about.

The author is an Australian dairy goat farmer. Her approach to both livestock and farming, focus on natural rather than chemical methods. This book is a general, but thorough look into goat keeping, from the soil their pasture grows on, to the treatment of disease.

In a nutshell, Coleby relates the majority of problems with goats to nutrient deficiencies, especially minerals. She backs this up with years of experience, not only her own, but also that of the veterinarians and other farmers she's worked with.

For me this book was a timely purchase, because we are looking at pasture establishment for our goats. While I feed our goats a good quality mineral supplement, I'm realizing that there is more that I can do. It's not just that they need more than their forages, hays, and feeds can provide, more importantly, it is because these are grown on mineral deficient soil. What they eat is only as healthy as the soil it's grown in.

In some ways that seems like a no brainer. But like finding missing pieces of a puzzle, this book is helping me understand the relationship between fertilizers and trace minerals, and how to keep the later from being bound up by the first. It's helping me understand the importance of those trace minerals in a goat's diet and health, including to pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

The book is more well rounded than what I'm focusing on however. Chapters cover:

1 - A Brief Look at Goats World-wide
2 - Land, Control, Housing & Farming Methods
3 - A Brief Look at Different Kinds of Husbandry
4 - Acquiring Stock
5 - Breeds (except Kinders & Pygmies, which aren't found in Australia)
6 - Nutritional Requirements & Basic Feeding Practices
7 - Psychological Needs of Goats
8 - Management
9 - Minerals: Their Uses & Deficiency Signs
10 - Vitamins & the Use of Herbal, Homeopathic, & Natural Remedies
11 - Health Problems
12 - Breeding & Selection for Desirable Characteristics
13 - Goats for Milk
14 - Goats for Meat & Skins
15 - Showing, Driving, Hobby & Family Goats

You can see sample chapters at Amazon.com. The author has also written a number of other books on natural farming and livestock care. Natural Sheep Care, Natural Horse Care, and Natural Cattle Care are widely available. Her Natural Farming, Farming Naturally And Organic Animal Care, and Natural Farming and Land Care, all appear to be out of print and pricey as used. Based on this book though, they're all on my wishlist.

15 comments:

Clint Baker said...

I will have to show this ti my friend who raises goats, thanks for sharing!

All About Goats book said...

Hi, what a great web blog. I usually spend hours on the net reading blogs on various subjects. And, I really would like to praise you for writing such a fabulous article. I honestly believe there is a skill to writing articles that only very few posses and yes you got it. This is really informative and I will for sure refer my friends the same. Thanks.

Theresa said...

I have the Nat. Horse Care and find it to be insightful.
Glad you found a good goat book because they are hard to find.

Leigh said...

Clint, I think the book is worth a look by anyone who has goats.

All About Goats book, well thanks!

Theresa, this particular book is especially interesting to me because we have similar conditions to the author. We have similar acidic, deficient soils, and a long dry spell in the summer. It's a great addition to my goat library.

Simply Scaife Family said...

This looks like an excellent resource for those of us raising goats. I look forward to hearing more about it. Thanks for sharing!

Mama Pea said...

What a useful review of this book. Even though we are still wavering back and forth on whether you should get back into goats again, I'm thinking this book should be added to our library. Thanks, Leigh.

Leigh said...

Michele, I'd say it's a must have for goat owners. Especially for those of us looking to provide as much as we can for our goats on our own.

Mama Pea, ah, so you and Papa Pea are thinking about getting goats again! Actually, this book is a useful resource for me just in regards to the land!

Mama Pea said...

It's me again, Leigh. I forwarded this post to hubby and when he came down from his office, he had this book in hand! Seems he had ordered it some time ago. (Hmmm, wonder if he has a goat stashed up there, too?)

Leigh said...

Maybe you'd better check, LOL. Who knows? Maybe a kid or two. :)

Linda said...

Ah, Pat Coleby... yup, it IS a great book! When I had my goats I referred to it often. You can buy her mineral mix from
http://www.jollygerman.com/livestock/goatmineralmix.shtml
That contains salt, the horse mix in the same only without salt...

Leigh said...

Thanks for the link Linda! I'm not familiar with the Jolly German, I reckon because I mostly buy from Hoegger if I can't find local. I got everything but the sulfur, which I can't find any corroborating documentation that this is needed in the U.S. at least. I'll have to look into this further. I like the addition of salt to theirs, but wonder why they don't suggest feeding it free choice. My other concern is selenium, which we are in a deficient area. Gosh, so much to learn .....

Linda said...

I am not sure why they don't recommend free choice. I always kept mine out as free choice. Sometimes they ate a lot and other times hardly touched it. For a while I mixed my own, but found it so much easier to just buy it already mixed from the J.G. He will also add any supplement you want to the mix including selenium. He responds to emails and will happily give you an estimate of the cost.

Leigh said...

Thanks Linda. It definitely sounds worth looking into. I agree about free choice though. Seems they would take what they needed, though I know Pat Coleby writes about weekly additions to feed.

Guide to Raising Goats said...

Hi, what a great web blog. I usually spend hours on the net reading blogs on various subjects. And, I really would like to praise you for writing such a fabulous article. I honestly believe there is a skill to writing articles that only very few posses and yes you got it. This is really informative and I will for sure refer my friends the same. Thanks.

Kidunotgoats said...

I think it is Suzanne with ChevonTalk@yahoo.com that says on her website (www.tennessemeatgoats.com)that sulfur binds thiamine (if I remember right). I know some people use sulfur blocks to fight ticks and flies but others have said not to use sulfur as it can make your goats sick.