Due to their short gestation period, goat health often gets more attention during lactation. However, the foundation for healthy kids and milk production is laid during pregnancy. Here we will learn more about which minerals are needed to help your goats thrive before, during, and after kidding.
Unlike other animals with longer fetal development, goat gestation is only broken into 2 distinct stages:
- Early-mid gestation: Day 1-100
- Late gestation: Day 100-150
Little development occurs during early-mid gestation, so your goats' energy and nutritional requirements are only slightly higher than normal. The majority of fetal growth and development (around 80%) happens during late gestation (the last 50 days). Due to this intense growth rate, Cornell University suggests goat’s nutritional needs are 1.5 - 1.8 times greater during the last 50 days of pregnancy than during regular activity.
Pregnant Goat Nutritional Needs
A well balanced diet during pregnancy is an investment in the future health of your does and kids. Proper nutrition during pregnancy comes from 6 nutritional categories:
Mineral supplementation unlocks the nutritional benefits from all these categories and helps your goats get the most out of their feed, forage, and hydration. According to Penn State Ag Extension:
“goat producers should also provide free choice access to a trace nutrient mix formulated for goats. These mixes contain salt to stimulate intake and contain a combination of minerals and vitamins formulated specifically to meet the micronutrient requirements of goats. A well-balanced goat mix should be available at all times throughout the year.”
Gestation Related Health Concerns
Penn State further says that:
“Failure to supplement these micronutrients results in poor fertility, weak kids at birth, reduced milk production, impaired immunity, and can lead to numerous metabolic disorders.”
Providing your goats with a full spectrum of macro and micro (trace) minerals can help protect your does and kids from common gestation related health problems.
- Pregnancy Toxemia/Ketosis: a metabolic disorder that usually occurs within 2 weeks after kidding. After giving birth, milk production and physical recovery consumes a lot of energy which can cause a negative energy balance. As body fat is metabolized, non-esterified fatty acids (NEFAs) build up in the blood and overwhelm the liver. Mineral supplementation during the dry period can correct metabolic imbalance and prepare your goats for the added strain of kidding and lactating
- White Muscle Disease: preventable with mineral based immune support, mainly selenium
- Hypocalcemia/Milk Fever: When blood calcium levels are too low, your goat’s body begins “mobilizing” calcium stored in their bones. For short periods of time, this natural mobilization is not a concern but can be detrimental over time. However, it is best to avoid heavy supplementation of calcium because your animals can become over-reliant on supplements, excess calcium is wastefully excreted, and can have harmful effects within the body. Metabolic stability can be achieved when animals have access to a balanced profile of electrolytes, other macrominerals, and trace minerals.
Essential Minerals for Pregnant Goats
The following minerals and their functions are deemed essential by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Cooperative Extension.
A Note About Multiple Pregnancies
During twin or triplet pregnancies, there is not only competition in the womb for space but also nutrients, especially during the late gestation period. Consult with your veterinarian on how to properly increase energy and nutritional intake for your multiples.
- Calcium: milk and bone formation, essential electrolyte powering nerve, muscle, and cardiovascular function.
- Phosphorus: bone formation, cell growth, energy utilization, acid base balance, rumen microbe growth
- Magnesium: essential electrolyte, metabolizes fats and carbohydrates, a component of many enzymes
- Potassium: essential electrolyte powering nerves, muscles, fluid balance, cardiovascular function, metabolism, and pH balance
- Sodium: essential electrolyte powering nerves, muscles, fluid balance, and cardiovascular function
- Chlorine: essential electrolyte powering nerves, muscles, fluid balance, and cardiovascular function
- Sulfur: milk and hair production, important component of amino acids, hormones, hemoglobin, connective tissue, enzymes, and vitamins biotin and thiamine
- Iron: cellular respiration and transporting oxygen in red blood cells
- Iodine: regulates metabolism and thyroid function
- Zinc: powers immune response, protein synthesis, and enzyme function
- Selenium: essential antioxidant, works with vitamin E to prevent white muscle disease, retained placentas and protect from parasites
- Copper: supports immune and nerve function, formation of red blood cells, hair pigment, connective tissue, and enzymes
- Cobalt: important component of vitamin B12 and rumen microbe growth
- Molybdenum: helps balance copper levels (found easily in forage, typically does not need supplementation)
- Manganese: important for bone formation, reproduction and enzyme functioning
Gestating Goat Minerals from Redmond
Since the 1950s, Redmond has supported all classes of livestock with nourishing animal supplements from our rich sea mineral deposit. Redmond Goat Mineral Mix contains our unique, nature balanced blend of macro and microminerals and is further fortified with the vitamins your herd needs. Your animals will love the taste of our higher salt to mineral ratio, and you will love not paying for unnecessary fillers and attractants.
Simply mix Redmond Goat Minerals with our volcanic Conditioner to help your goats get the most out of their intake. Redmond Conditioner is an efficient rumen buffer and makes sure your animals’ minerals go to work, not to waste. Give us a call today at to see how Redmond can help you get back to what you love about raising animals!