Copper toxicity in Goaties???

Discussion in 'Goats' started by jill.costello, Feb 27, 2005.

  1. jill.costello

    jill.costello Well-Known Member

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    Hey all-
    Nice to be back in the forum; I've been killling myself trying to come up with concrete information about Copper Toxicity in Goats... I recently switched my horses over to a new feed, and on the bottom of the new bags is a warning "WARNING: this feed contains Copper, do not feed to Sheep or Goats". Well, of course, I don't FEED it to them, but they do go around the barn AFTER the horses have been fed and vacuum up what they dropped on their stall floors.
    I've gotten mixed info on this- some sources say only Sheep really need to be careful; that goaties are much tougher to hurt w/copper....Other sources say it's just as dangerous for both....I guess my main concern is that ONE DAY, someone is going to accidentally leave my feedroom door unlatched and those goats are going to feast on this new horse feed..... I know we all try to be religious about locking that darn door, but eventually DH or a friend will forget......
    What do you all think?? Switch the horses back to their old food??

    Thanks! -Jill
     
  2. Milking Mom

    Milking Mom COTTON EYED DOES

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    Copper toxicity in Sheep is very possible. However, goats need a certain amount of copper in their diets. I feed a loose mineral to my goats that is a cow mineral and it contains 2500 ppm copper. If your sheep and goats run together then you probably need to give copper bolus to your goats.
     

  3. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    Sheep and goats is one word with the USDA. It also means Sheep and Angora goats. I don't have angora's but perhaps they have slow metabolisims like sheep do, no clue. But in all other classes of goats you can take all the sheep information and throw it out the window. Goat metabolisims are faster than sheep, horses and cattle. So what sluggishly goes through a sheep, stays in the blood and liver longer, so toxcicity can build up. Not so with a goats. Why you use less drugs, less wormer and have higher milk and meat withdrawals on sheep than you have goats.

    Unless you are going to do copper liver studies on your goats it's best to listen to someone from your area, who are doing to their stock what you are doing, milk, meat or both. Same with Bo-se an worming. Without copper in the diet or too little, you have bald tail tips, retained placenta, worm burdens out of control, and overall more sickness from stress than someone who does not have nutritional defficiency/stress in their herd.

    I use a horse,cattle,goat mineral that has 2000ppm of copper in it. Your mineral mill/dealer is sadly out of touch. I use the Bluebonnet Techmaster Minerals Complete that come from Tractor Supply. Offer no other forms of salt so they only go to their mineral for their salt needs, which keeps consumption up . Vicki
     
  4. jill.costello

    jill.costello Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Vicki- that helps alot...I'd love to try the Tractor Supply Minerals if it will work for the horses and goats; I have been trying to keep my horses on the MoorMan's Feed program- they claim that their "Gro-Strong" minerals are superior to others because the minerals are "chelated" (more absorbable/ easier to utilize)...I try to be very careful with my mineral ratios because I breed Hanoverian horses; they are slower to mature than your standard hotblood; they lay down a tremedous amount of bone over a long period of time; it is common to see angular limb deformities if there aren't enough minerals supplied to back up the growth.

    Please tell me the "range" of copper allowance for goats, i.e. 1800-2200ppm????? It could very well be that the Gro-strong minerals can be safe for everyone, as well.....let me check the label.....
     
  5. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    Without things like iron ore in your water, or watering out of galvanized troughs you could possibly get by with your copper much lower, say in the 1000 ppm range. I fed Purina loose horse or beef cattle minerals for years here they are milled in the 1200ppm to 1800ppm range and had no problems moving from one to the other as long as they were loose and as long as they were mixed 1 part kelp to 4 parts minerals, to keep them eating the minerals. I love the Bluebonnet minerals because they contain kelp, probiotis and nutritional yeast in one easy to feed, no running to the coop 2 hours away to pick up kelp and yeast!! Yeah! TSC will either be great in your area about getting this for you and keeping it or a PITA an soo unhelpful you will never be able to find it :) According to Bluebonnet if they carry any of their products the Tech Master Mineral Complete is a floor order they can add 1 sack or 20 to the order of other products for you.....but some of the folks who order will tell you a whole nother story! Here near Houston our Porter store carries them for us.

    Initially we bolused (information on saanendoah.com) for a much quicker fixed, now I just bolus incoming stock when purchased from folks who do not deal with their copper issues, then with the bolusing and the improvment of minerals the does are fine from that point forward. Vicki
     
  6. jill.costello

    jill.costello Well-Known Member

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    I checked the Gro-Strong bag, and it provides 1800 ppm. It is loose granular and I mix it with a rice bran/flax supplement that smells like cookies baking... no problem with the horses or the goaties eating THAT up! (would they eat too much if it was too tasty?)
     
  7. pinemead

    pinemead Well-Known Member

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    Ok, now I'm in PANIC MODE. I have Angoras. Vicki, do you have or where can I find information on what you said about them? (Sheep and goats is one word with the USDA. It also means Sheep and Angora goats.)
     
  8. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    I could send you a copy of the next USDA census I take, it clearly lists sheep and angora goats on the same line. They certainly are not talking about or counting meat or dairy goats! My information goes on the line titled "Other" :no:

    I know nothing about angoras to be able to tell you what their copper needs are, being hair goats if they are the same as dairy and meat goats or not. I know your protein needs are higher than ours but that's about it. Certainly with the massive herds of angoras in Texas, there are yahoo groups that are specific to your breed. Find the goat guru of Angoras who runs her own tests on her goats and find out. It really does seem that each breed of goat and species of animal has their own 'goat lady' who has taken it upon themselves to simply learn this stuff, I met the Vicki (her real name) of donkey goodess fame on a yahoo list when looking for donkey info... Let us know what you find out! Vicki
     
  9. pinemead

    pinemead Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, I'll do some research and will post anything I find.
     
  10. DMC_OH

    DMC_OH Well-Known Member

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    pinemead,
    I also raise angora goats the copper has me wondering also. Wether you have found an answer or not I have asked an angora goat group (on yahoo) about it. I hope to get answers soon. When I do I will post it here.
     
  11. animal_kingdom

    animal_kingdom Well-Known Member

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    Great information Vicki!

    I have posted somewhere else about copper deficiency. My turn came when I thought the bag labled Sheep and Goat minerals was just going to be saving so much time and hassle separating them for minerals...

    I have had more hassle and stress getting my girls back up to par because they ended up with major problems: mange, weight loss or unable to keep weight on, baby born with limb problems, low birth weight babies....etc. ALL due to copper deficiency.

    Now I will be separating all the girls: sheep and goats, to be sure each gets what each needs.

    I hate learning the hard way...I was warned- just thought I would "overcome" the warning....:bash:
     
  12. rhjacobi

    rhjacobi Well-Known Member

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    Hi Jill,

    I have been told that parts of Texas are not deficient in Selenium also. We aren't deficient here in our location and it is a whole different world since there is a fairly small safe and necessary window for Selenium in goats. We have to be very cautious with it. Symptoms for Copper deficiency, Selenium deficiency and Selenium Toxicity are all very similar.

    Bob
    Lynchburg, TN.

     
  13. Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians

    Vicki McGaugh TX Nubians Well-Known Member

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    Knowing if you are copper or selenium defficient in YOUR AREA is really not telling you much unless your goats are only eating hay and grain grown on your property. Yes my goats browse the woods, but sustain themselves, not even close. Not even my hay comes from my area of Texas, certainly not the grain nor the ingredients of the alfalfa pellets...and why at some point you do have to stop listening to all the rhetoric and test. At the very least find someone in your area who does blood test for selenium levels and runs copper liver enzymes for copper and follow their lead.

    Once again, why belonging to a local club is so great, you can brainstorm on nutrition, bring in nutritionist from local mills, parisitologists from the local University and all areas have the "goat guru" who tests, runs fecals and 'does things differently' to pick their brain for info. Vicki
     
  14. vaponydoc

    vaponydoc Well-Known Member

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    Goats are susceptible to copper toxicity, however they are less so than sheep. It is safe to feed goats mineral mix that is made for cattle or horses, whereas it is never safe to feed this to sheep.

    Young goats are more likely to suffer from copper toxicity than older goats.

    I would try to prevent access to the horse feed by your goats -- they likely don't need the extra grain (especially if you have wethers) and an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Having seen a kid die from copper toxicity, I highly recommend you prevent it. This kid had a totally inappropriate diet and though very young had already accumulated enough copper to kill it.

    Goats can also have copper deficiency. The requirement for copper in goats is 10ppm in diet -- obviously salt will have much higher ppm, but total dietary ppm should be 10ppm.
     
  15. DMC_OH

    DMC_OH Well-Known Member

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    Here is an article an angora goat breeder wrote.
    _______________________________________________

    Copper Nutrition for the Angora Goat
    Vernon Bewley, Nutritionist

    Copper nutrition for goats has received much attention from
    producers and researchers the past few years. Due to research it is known
    that goats in general are less susceptible to copper toxicity than sheep,
    however it is believed that the Angora is less tolerant of increased copper
    levels than other breeds of goats. If you are satisfied with the current
    health and growth of your goats with your current nutrition program then I
    wouldn't suggest changing anything. The information here is designed to help
    the producer make informed and educated decisions should they suspect or
    encounter problems that may be copper related.
    To begin to understand the complexities of copper nutrition lets
    take a quick look at why copper is important to the health of the animal. It
    is known that copper is essential for reproduction, bone development,
    growth, connective tissue development, development of the central nervous
    system and color pigmentation of hair or fleece. Copper is also important
    for a number of enzyme functions and for the utilization of iron. I will
    caution using fleece color of the colored Angora goat as an indicator of
    copper status as there may be other factors involved.
    Like other nutrients, copper has a range that is necessary to meet
    the needs of the animal, outside of this range and problems may occur. To
    complicate issues there are other minerals that if in excess or deficient in
    the diet can affect the copper status of the animal. The most influential
    mineral on copper absorbability is molybdenum. Molybdenum is an important
    trace mineral, however high levels of molybdenum will decrease the
    absorbability of copper. This can result in a secondary copper deficiency,
    causing symptoms of deficiency even though copper levels in the feed are
    adequate. High levels of sulfur and iron may also interfere with copper
    absorption. If these antagonistic minerals are deficient in the diet, and
    copper is in the upper limits, then copper toxicity is a possibility. Young
    goats, particularly pre-weaned goats, are able to absorb a higher percentage
    of copper than adult goats. For this reason there have been many cases where
    copper toxicity has been observed in young Angoras. If you should have to
    bottle feed use only milk replacer developed for goats. Goats in general are
    more efficient at absorbing dietary copper than sheep, this being why under
    normal conditions they can do very well being pastured and supplemented with
    sheep.
    So how much copper should there be in the diet? Many sources suggest
    between 7 and 10 ppm, I feel that 9 to 12 ppm in the total ration is a good
    level. Greater than 25 ppm is considered toxic levels. Under normal
    conditions where soil copper levels are adequate, copper requirements of the
    goat are usually met by copper in the feeds. When evaluating or calculating
    a ration for copper the amount of molybdenum, sulfur and iron in the diet
    should be considered as well. The copper to molybdenum ratio should be no
    less than 3:1 and no more than 10:1. Sulfur and iron levels should also be
    within the suggested ranges. If copper, molybdenum, sulfur and iron are all
    within the suggested ranges then there should be no problems related to
    copper.
    Copper deficiency may manifest itself in a number of clinical or
    sub-clinical ways. Some of the most observed include anemia, poor
    reproduction performance, depigmentation of color, poor growth, weight loss,
    swayback and enzootic ataxia in kids, poor bone development, abortions and
    stillbirths. With the clinical symptoms it is important to remember that
    like other minerals these manifestations are rarely specific to copper
    alone, but may point to another deficiency or disease while copper is
    sufficient. While color has been used as an indicator, it is not specific to
    a copper deficiency. Fading or graying of color has also been noted in a
    number of vitamin deficiencies. Recent research has indicated that
    intestinal parasites may decrease copper absorption and result in an
    apparent copper deficiency. Because of the generalities of symptoms and
    other possible causes of copper deficient symptoms it is important to follow
    the proper steps to identifying an imbalance in copper as to prevent a
    costly mistake.
    Copper toxicity manifests itself quickly with little warning. There
    are two phases to copper toxicity, the first is clinically silent and
    involves the accumulation of copper in the liver. The reason why goats are
    less susceptible to copper toxicity than sheep is due to them being more
    efficient in the excretion of copper from the liver than sheep. Angoras
    however are believed to be less efficient than other breeds of goats. During
    this accumulation phase the animals appear to be healthy and show no
    clinical symptoms. The second phase is usually triggered by some sort of
    stressful event. This could be shearing, physical injury or fright. What
    happens at this point is that the copper stored in the liver is released and
    the blood copper levels increase dramatically resulting in hemolytic crisis
    quickly resulting in death. Because of the silent step it is important that
    producers know the dietary levels of all the minerals involved before
    supplementing copper in the diet. A note here concerning using chicken
    manure to fertilize pastures or hay is that chicken manure contains high
    levels of copper and ground routinely fertilized with chicken manure may
    produce pasture plants or hay crops that have a high concentration of copper
    that could cause a possible copper toxicity if not taken in account for.
    In order to identify a copper imbalance four diagnostic steps should
    be done before a deficiency (or toxicity) can be positively identified.
    Step 1 The observation of clinical or sub-clinical copper deficiency
    symptoms. Remember that other nutrients may manifest in similar symptoms as
    well as antagonistic minerals decreasing the absorption of copper causing a
    secondary deficiency.
    Step 2 Identifying the diet levels of copper, molybdenum, sulfur and iron.
    Begin by sampling and having a qualified lab analyze your forages. In the
    case of pasture it may be difficult to collect a representative sample of
    what the goats are actually consuming. Along with the analysis of your grain
    and mineral calculate the amount of copper, molybdenum, sulfur and iron in
    the daily diet and compare to the recommended levels. A nutritionist,
    veterinarian, feed salesman or county extension agent can help you with
    proper sampling collection, reading laboratory analysis and calculations. If
    these figures seem normal you can direct your search to other areas, however
    it still may be of benefit to continue to step three.
    Step 3 Obtaining biochemical evidence of subnormal tissue and/or blood
    copper concentrations. An analysis of liver tissue is the best for
    identifying copper concentration levels, however it is not always the most
    practical. Blood serum levels are commonly used, but a less accurate
    indicator of copper status. You veterinarian can help you through this
    process. It is worth noting here that even if you are not having any
    problems it may be worth having liver tissue concentrations analyzed if
    there is a farm mortality to help identify potential problems.
    Step 4 If the first 3 steps point to a copper deficiency than it is probable
    that there is a problem. Step 4 is the final test and includes the
    supplementation or other adjustment of copper (or adjustment of other
    minerals) and a positive response to the change of the ration. If you have
    any questions regarding making the needed adjustments then consult a
    nutritionist, feed specialist or your veterinarian for help. If after an
    acceptable period of time a response is not seen, then the problem may have
    been caused by something else or in combination with copper.
    The most important thing to remember concerning trace mineral
    nutrition, particularly with copper, is that there is no magic number that
    applies to all situations and all farms. What works for one herd may not
    work for the next due to the many factors involved and the different feeds
    fed. Learn about the feeds that you use and monitor the health of your herd.
    If you suspect that you have a problem follow the steps to above and seek
    the assistance of your veterinarian or a nutritionist. Remember that by
    shooting in the dark you may shoot yourself in the foot.