One of our self-sufficiency goals is to feed our animals from our land. I've blogged about this previously, focusing on grains, feed rations, and protein:
- Food Self-Sufficiency and Animals
- More Thoughts on Growing Animal Feeds
- Calculating Protein with the Pearson Square
Another area I've been working toward, has been growing our own vitamins and minerals. Ideally, animals should get these from a natural forage diet. Most soils, unfortunately, have become depleted over the years, so that foraging alone rarely meets their needs. Now, common practice is to feed scientifically formulated pellets, complete with protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Many goat owners also purchase vitamin and mineral supplements, and deficiencies are an ongoing topic on many a goat discussion list and forum. I've dealt with them too, and have gradually added items to my goats' diet; currently I offer them Sweetlix Meat Maker Goat Mineral, Thorvin Kelp, and baking soda free choice, and Diamond V XPC Yeast Culture sprinkled on their feed. They also get black oil sunflower seeds and chopped sweet potatoes with their feed, for added vitamins.
Always in my mind, however, is how I can provide the necessary vitamins and minerals myself. Besides our self-sufficiency goal, the cost does add up, especially for things I can't get locally like the kelp and yeast. Shipping is expensive, but also, several times I've had to wait when these items were on back order.
One thing we're working on, is remineralizing our soil, one field at a time.
Another thing, has been researching how to grow my own vitamin and mineral supplements; things that I can either feed fresh or dry to use as a top dressing on their food. This is what I've been researching and what you'll find listed below. I won't say it's a complete list, but it's a start. Neither is it universal, I'm mostly just listing things I can grow or find in my area.
I'd also like to mention a couple of links that give good information on mineral function and deficiency in goats. That way I don't need to write all that out here.
- Goat Link - Minerals and Mineral Deficiencies
- Goat World - Trace or Microminerals
- Goat World - Recent Advances in Mineral Nutrition of Goats
- The Merck Veterinary Manual - Nutrition: Goats
And finally, here is my list of vitamins and minerals, and foods that are rich in them. I've relied primarily on three sources: Health-Alicious-ness.com, The Third Age's Spice and Herb mineral Guide and Foods High in Vitamins, and Juliette de Baïracli Levy's The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable. The information on kudzu is here. Links to the sources are provided below. Additional information from the book, if any, follows.
Vitamin A (& BetaCarotene) - sweet potatoes, carrots, greens (kale, turnip, mustard, dandelion, spinach, collards), butternut squash, dried herbs (parsley, basil, marjoram,dill, oregano), fresh thyme, cantaloupe. Also raw grape leaves.
B vitamins (see also "B Vitamins & Ruminants", Dairy Goat Journal. UPDATE: This article shows that goats can synthesize their own B vitamins, so that supplementation is not strictly necessary. I'm including them here as part of my original information. B vitamin deficiencies, if they do exist are apparently more of a problem with goats fed a diet high in concentrates.)
B1 (thiamin): yeast extract, seeds (sesame, sunflower), dried sage, rosemary, thyme, and kudzu*.
B2 (riboflavin): yeast extract, dried herbs (spearmint, parsley), wheat bran, sesame seeds, and kudzu*.
B3 (niacin): yeast extract, bran (wheat & rice), and and kudzu*.
B5 (pantothenic acid): bran (rice & wheat), sunflower seeds
B6 (Pyridoxine): bran (wheat & rice), dried herbs (garlic, tarragon, sage, spearmint, basil, chives, savory, rosemary, dill, oregano, and marjoram), seeds (sunflower, sesame), molasses, sorghum, bananas
B9 (Folate): yeast extract, dried herbs (spearmint, rosemary, basil, chervil, marjoram, thyme, parsley), sunflower seeds, greens (spinach, turnips, collard), cowpeas, broccoli, wheat germ, cantaloupe, bananas, endive, flax seeds
B12 (cobalamin): there are no plant sources for vitamin B12. However, goats can synthesize their own with cobalt. The only plant sources I've seen listed for cobalt are green leafy vegetables some herbs, with no specific details.
Vitamin C: (can also by synthesized by livestock) fresh thyme and parsley, greens (kale, mustard), broccoli, rose hips, cantaloupe, tomatoes, dried basil, rosemary, and citrus (my goats love chopped citrus rinds).
Vitamin D: sunshine
Vitamin E: sunflower seeds, dried herbs (basil, oregano, sage, parsley, thyme)
Vitamin K: dried herbs (basil, sage, thyme, marjoram, oregano), fresh herbs (parsley, basil), greens (kale, dandelion, collards, turnip, mustard, beet, Swiss Chard), broccoli, cabbage, carrots, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, figs
Calcium - Dried savory, celery seed, dried thyme, dried dill, dried marjoram, sage, oregano, spearmint, parsley, poppy seed, chervil, dried basil, comfrey, sesame seeds, flax seeds, raw turnip greens, Dandelion greens, Kale, Mustard Greens, amaranth leaves, collard greens, and kudzu*. Also savory, spearmint, rosemary, chervil, fennel and coriander seed. Book: chamomile, chicory, cleavers, coltsfoot, horsetail, mustard, sorrel, plantain, willow.
Cobalt - is the precursor to vitamin B12 and goats can synthesize their own B12 if they get cobalt in their diet. I have not been able to find a specific list of goat acceptable foods that are rich in cobalt (i.e. vegan). Several places vaguely mention green leafy vegetables and pulses, but cobalt is usually found in animal foods, which goats do not eat. As with all minerals, plants can only take up what is available in the soil, which is why we're including cobalt in our remineralization program. My goats currently get their cobalt from their goat minerals.
Copper - sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, & squash seeds, Dried Basil, Marjoram, Oregano, Thyme, Savory, and Parsley. Also dried basil, coriander leaf, spearmint, fennel seed, and dill. Book: burdock, chickweed, chicory, cleavers, dandelion, fennel, garlic, horseradish, sorrel, yarrow.
Iodine - seaweed. Commonly Thorvin Kelp is offered to goats, complete nutritional analysis here. Book: asparagus, cleavers, garlic. I live inland so obviously cannot grow seaweed. Kelp, however, is used as a soil amendment, and that may be an option for me to try. How much of the iodine is picked up by plants I don't know. It's something I'll have to research further.
Iron - Dried Thyme, dried Parsley, dried Spearmint, dried Marjoram, Cumin Seed, dried Dill, dried Oregano, dried Coriander, dried Basil, ground Turmeric, ground Savory, Anise Seed, Fenugreek Seed, dried Tarragon, dried Chervil, dried Rosemary, seeds (pumpkin, squash, sesame, sunflower, fenugreek, and fennel), and kudzu*. Also bamboo. Book: asparagus, blackberry, burdock, chicory, comfrey, dandelion, nettle, parsley, raspberry, rose, scullcap, strawberry, vervain, wormwood.
Magnesium - Bran (Rice, Wheat, and Oat), Dried Coriander, Spearmint, Dill, Sage (not for milking does), Basil, Savory, seeds (pumpkin, squash, watermelon Flax, Sesame, & sunflower), and molasses. Also parsley, fennel seed, marjoram, oregano, dill & thyme. Book: Carrot leaves, dandelion, hop, marshmallow, meadowsweet, mullein, oak, slippery elm, rose.
Manganese - dried ginger, dry spearmint, parsley, dried marjoram, wheat germ, bran (Rice, Wheat, and Oat), seeds (pumpkin, squash, sesame, and sunflower). Also basil, thyme, fennel, coriander, savory, oregano, dill, and bamboo.
Phosphorous - bran, wheat germ, seeds (pumpkin, squash, sesame, sunflower, and flax). Book: chickweed, dill, golden rod, marigold. [Note: pregnant does need a particular calcium to phosphorous ratio to prevent hypocalcemia, more on that here.]
Potassium - spinach, Swiss Chard, Kale, Collards. bananas, parsley, dill, basil, rice bran, molasses, seeds (squash, pumpkin, sunflower, watermelon). Also chervil, coriander leaves, spearmint, fennel seed, marjoram, ginger, and oregano. Book: borage, carrot leaves, chamomile, couch grass, dandelion, elder, honeysuckle, meadowsweet, mullein, nettle, oak, peppermint, plantain, scullcap, wormwood.
Selenium - sunflower seeds, bran (wheat, oat, rice), garlic, chervil, fenugreek, ginger, and dried chervil, coriander, parsley, and dill seed.
Sodium - Book: cleavers, clover, comfrey, dill, fennel, garlic, marshmallow, nettle, violet, woodruff
Zinc - wheat germ, seeds (pumpkin, squash, watermelon, sesame), and buckwheat. Dried herbs and seeds: chervil, basil, thyme, parsley, coriander, sage (not for milking does), savory, ginger, and seeds (dill, coriander, and fennel).
That's my preliminary list. Much of it I already grow, or have the potential to grow. Much of it I already feed to my goats. My goal is to grow more, and especially dry more, to feed during winter. I can't give you specific dosages other than to say that herbs used as top dressings to feed are usually given in amounts of teaspoons or tablespoons.
Lastly, there are two more webpages I'd like to pass along. Both are useful resources in regards to herbs for goats:
A book I would recommend is Natural Goat Care by Pat Coleby. I did a book review if you're interested, here. This information is also reproduced in my book 5 Acres & A Dream The Book, appendix C.
*Analysis is for cooked kudzu leaves and roots.
DIY Vitamins & Minerals For Goats © March 2013