Macro vs. Micro
Minerals support numerous important physiological functions and are classified into 2 categories: macrominerals and microminerals. Both are essential, but how are they different? It’s all about quantity.
Macrominerals (like calcium, sodium, and magnesium) are needed in larger amounts in the body, while microminerals (or trace minerals) are needed in smaller amounts. (1) These trace minerals include: iron, iodine, copper, zinc, molybdenum, manganese, cobalt, selenium, and fluorine.
Mineral Deficiencies on the Rise
Goats are browsers and have a reputation for nibbling on anything from your hat to the kitchen sink. But in reality, they are much more discriminating about what they consume.
Goats obtain their mineral needs from forage, feed, and sometimes water supply. However, feeds and forage today often lack the correct quantity and spectrum of minerals goats require for optimum health—which is why deficiencies are on the rise.
According to Mamoon Rashid, sheep and goat specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, Food, and Rural Initiatives, a free-choice supplement of loose minerals and salts will effectively help you meet the minerals demands of your herd. (2)
7 Essential Microminerals
Rashid said there are 8 microminerals commonly supplemented in goat rations: iron, copper, cobalt, manganese, zinc, iodine, selenium, and molybdenum. Because molybdenum deficiencies are rare, we will take a closer look at the other 7 microminerals, which physiological functions they support, and how to recognize deficiency symptoms. (3)1. Iron: Major component of hemoglobin (carries oxygen and nutrients to the cells).
Deficiency symptoms: Anemia (you can spot signs of anemia in your goats if they are lethargic, off feed, or the undersides of their eyelids appear pale pink to white).
2. Copper: Red blood cell formation, hair pigmentation, connective tissue formation, and synthesizing of enzymes, supports healthy immune function, and nerve conduction.
Deficiency symptoms: (Copper is one of the most common mineral deficiencies in goats) Bleached or rough hair coat, anemia, diarrhea, and weight loss.
3. Cobalt: Synthesis of vitamin B12 (which is responsible for appetite, energy, and weight gain).
Deficiency symptoms: Lack of energy and appetite, anemia, and decreased production.
4. Manganese: Bone formation, reproduction, and enzyme functions.
Deficiency symptoms: Low birth weight, reluctance to walk, deformity of forelegs in kids, and delayed onset of estrus (poor conception rate in nannies).5. Zinc: Immune response, skin growth, enzyme systems, and protein synthesis, male reproductive functions.
Deficiency symptoms: Thick/dry patches of skin, lesions, hair loss or poor hair growth, and swollen feet.6. Iodine: synthesis of thyroid hormones (regulate energy metabolism and reproductive function).
Deficiency symptoms: neck goiters7. Selenium: Antioxidant, aids muscle function, reproduction, and affects the metabolism of vitamin E and other minerals.
Deficiency symptoms: Poor growth rate, white muscle disease, heart attack, progressive paralysis, and retained afterbirth.
Microminerals in Redmond Goat Products
Portioning out your goat herd’s mineral needs on your own can be complex and confusing. There are many factors involved. Too much of one mineral can offset another. Forages and soils may be deficient in some minerals, but have high levels of others. It can be difficult to know whether your herd is getting all the minerals they need—and getting them in the right balance.
Delicious Minerals Your Animals Will Crave
At Redmond, we believe nature got it right. Our Goat Mineral Mix and licks contain a complete balance of 65 essential natural minerals—including all 7 commonly supplemented microminerals discussed above. (Find a complete analysis of Redmond macro- and microminerals here.)
Have your goats been difficult with mineral supplements in the past? Thankfully with Redmond Minerals, coercing stubborn animals will be a problem of the past. Animals crave our delicious mineral mixes so you can rest assured that your goats are getting the nutrition you are offering them.
- “Minerals,” Texas Agricultural Extension Service,” The Texas A&M University System, http://animalscience.tamu.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2012/04/nutrition-minerals.pdf
- “Goats and their Nutrition,” Manitoba Goat Association, (updated March 2008), https://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/livestock/goat/pubs/goats-and-their-nutrition.pdf
- “Goat Nutrition Minerals,” extension, United States Department of Agriculture, (August 14, 2019), https://goats.extension.org/goat-nutrition-minerals/#Micro_or_trace_elements