Our 2 year old doe (1/2 boer x sannen/nubian) is chewing on her doelings horns.
Why? Is she deficeint in something?
She has both a salt & goat mineral block in her pen. Feed consists of hay & open scrub/brush with some grass/clover/alfalfa mix pasture. She also gets a bit of grain (approx. 3/4 - 1 cup of goat ration) at night when we put them in the barn.
I've looked on the internet but could not find any reference to horn chewing. Relatively new to keeping goats.
Post by Rose's Goats on Jun 30, 2011 10:21:35 GMT -5
Odd behaviors like horn chewing or head banging are usually signals of some sort of deficiency. Whenever an animal exhibits "stereotypies" (unusual behaviors that are not normally explained), it means that they are lacking something, either environmental stimulation or mineral deficiencies or something like that.
Most likely, she is mineral deficient. Goats need lots of minerals and mineral blocks do not work for them at all (you might as well just put a 50 lb rock out for them and save your $$). I would get her some loose minerals made especially for goats. Loose minerals are much easier for goats to eat enough of compared to the hard blocks. Also goat minerals will have the right blend of minerals (especially copper which is always too low for goats in non-goat minerals). I recommend Sweetlix Meatmaker 16:8 for all types of goats. It can be special ordered through most feed stores. Loose goat minerals are expensive but they will make your goats healthier and save you money in treatments and vet bills.
How old is her kid? Does the horn chewing cause a problem or an open wound? Can you separate them to stop the chewing? If it were me, I would separate them and watch the mom for signs of other weird behaviors.
Post by garysfarmer on Jun 30, 2011 12:00:07 GMT -5
I read somewhere on here that if you have a salt block and minerals that the salt would make them not eat as much minerals. Something about minerals having salt in it also and you can only have so much salt. Makes sense, don't know if it's right or wrong.
Post by Rose's Goats on Jun 30, 2011 12:18:39 GMT -5
You're right Gary. Salt is a limiting agent so goats will only ingest enough of it per day that they need. If you have salt licks out and loose minerals, the goats will eat the salt licks and snub the loose minerals even when they may need the minerals. Also mineral blocks are bad news because they use salt as a binding agent so they already have too much salt in them in the first place. Also if you put out baking soda with your loose minerals, that will work like salt in terms of how much a goat will ingest in one day and the goat will eat all the baking soda and no minerals.
The mineral block we have for them is suppose to be specific for goats - copper added, no salt. (but will ask about the loose stuff - thanks).
She and the doeling (4 months of age) are separated at night, but free-range together during the day.
She (the doe) does not seem to display any other odd behaviours, he coat & overall health seem to be very good (especially compared to what she looked like when we got her last year - dry scraggly dull coat & she seems to have put on some weight).
She doesn't chew on them all the time, but the outer layer of the doelings horns are visibly marked & reduced. At first I just thought the doeling had been rubbing them, but I saw her mother chewing on her the other day. I wondered also if it might be boredom.
(and we do have several 50 to 200+lb rocks for them - they are great for jumping off of, but they won't use them as mineral licks - - too bad because we have a lot of them, other than swamp & trees that is the make-up of the property)
For a rapid infusion of minerals I buy a goat block from tractor supply. It has copper and other trace minerals and the goats fight over it. The down side is they slurp it down pretty quickly and at $8.99 you don't want to put many out. The up side is they get a rapid infusion of minerals which seems to snap them out of any deficiency pretty quickly. I have used these after kidding with good results. I also use the loose minerals free choice but if you have a goat that is reluctant to eat mineral this works great. I put one out once a week although it only lasts about 12 to 24 hours.