This is my second attempt at posting this today. I got halfway through the last time when our ancient kitty decided to jump onto the keyboard and crash my computer. ~sighs~ Those who enjoy my stories, read on. Those who do not, scroll to the where you see the ***** for the management discovery. As many of you know, the past year and a half has not been kind to my property, myself, or my goats. Winter before last caused me to have to replace nearly all of my plumbing. Last year's drought ate up our savings in buying exorbitantly priced hay and feed. Then we were finally blessed with the winter rains, and along with them came wind storms and tornadoes that took my outbuildings away. Then came the blessed (never going to complain abut rain again!) spring rains, and more wind and tornadoes, that damaged my fence and barn. (Side note on the damaged fences: Took me a couple of weeks to fix them, and for that time, all of my goats were in a single herd. This is beginning of March. All of my does were either still pregnant, or had kidded just a couple of weeks back. No big deal, right? RIGHT? I guess that would have been true....except for the two Mini-Nubians. THEY decided, unbeknownst to me, that they were going to INSTANTLY cycle. Brie is currently as big as a barn and looks to kid any day now; and Mardis Gras is getting rounder by the moment. No due date, of course, and they are PLAYING that angle. Needless to say, they are getting a FULL year off from breeding. The good news: I'll have milk through the winter!) Well, things got worse. DH was laid off. Then more storms came through and damaged my house, and a lot of the barn roof. All of the feed, the bagged mineral, ect., in the barn, was ruined. The cabinet in the barn where I keep things like supplements, Copasure, nitril gloves, etc., gone. The March storms had destroyed my spring garden, and these took care of my summer garden. I was feeling pretty overwhelmed, depressed, and generally down. I didn't feel much like coming online because, well, I didn't want to give out advise when my own place was in such shambles, and what advise could anyone give me? "To avoid having Mother Nature ruin a bunch of things you worked so hard for, you should move......off of Earth."? But every cloud has a silver lining, right? On with the story. I first sold off all but one of the horses. Then I sold off all of the bucks, and all but two of the "keeper" kids. I let a neighbor pasture two of his horses in with my one mare, to keep her company, and in trade for him buying feed for all of them. I was down to 4 does in milk (2 pregnant, but I didn't know at the time), 1 dry doe, 2 doelings, ~sings~ and an hermaphrodite trying to climb a tree! By this time, my goats were just starting to show some mineral deficiency. Not bad, but you could tell they had done without loose mineral for a few weeks and that they were due for their boluses. I took the money I had made off of horses and goats, and went to town with it. Literally. Town is 26 miles away. I spent ALL of it. On materials to fix the house, and get a portion of the barn usable, then on feed, and then the last little bit I had left I used to buy a single bag of Cargill Right Now Onyx. Then off to home I go. Just as I get inside the gate of the pasture, I notice something funny about the corral. Oh Heck! It's full of water! Off I go, a pipe had broke to the water trough. Thank God I still had a bunch of plumbing supplies left from when all of our pipes froze. So, I spend an hour fixing that, then go back to the truck to unload. All of the horses were gathered around the truck. I didn't think much of it, as I had made sure the feed was UNDER the building supplies when it was all loaded, where they couldn't get at it if they got to the truck before I unloaded it. Or, it was.....as I got closer, everything was fine. Except the bag of Cargill, which was OUT of the truck, ripped open, and scattered through the gravel. I guess that was the last straw. I just sat down in the gravel and started bawling. I kept thinking that I was going to have to sell the rest of my goats, because I couldn't take care of them properly, and how much I was going to miss them. All the while, horses and goats are staring at me like I had lost my mind. Maybe I had. I don't know how long I sat there crying. Eventually I got up, shooed the horses and goats away, and unloaded the truck. Got everything put away where it was supposed to go. Then I went inside. I decided to go through all of my livestock meds and such that I keep inside, organize, and see if I had even a LITTLE bit of made-up boluses or anything to give them. Wormers? No, I checked fecals last week. Have thiamine, B-complex, Bo-Se, all injectables. Antibiotics. Probiotic pastes. Here's the stuff for the horse, more wormers, what's this? I wave the large tube towards the living room and say, "Honey, when did we get this? And why did we get it?" A mumbled answer is returned, "I dunno. I think I got it for Truffles. I don't know why, just seemed like something handy to have." ********************************************** "This" was a tube of MAAC Replamin Plus Gel. I put on my glasses to start reading the label. "DO NOT FEED TO SHEEP OR GOATS--CONTAINS ADDED COPPER", it read. I started getting excited. I continued reading. "Copper Amino Acid Complex-- 5,200 ppm" Oh my! I went on....every mineral that I had always wanted my goats to have, and the only sulfate was cobalt sulfate! Everything was utterly and completely bio-available! I read the dosages, it is by weight, of course. Up to 150lbs-- 5cc. Then I read: "For severe deficiencies, give one dose per day for seven (7) days. Can be used for maintenance. Maintenance dosage: Dose by weight, once per week." "Honey!" I call into the living room, "You are donating your gel to the goat cause." "S'okay," he says. "I haven't used it." So, off I go to dose my goats (Didn't do the "severe deficiency" part, because they were not THAT bad off. Just gave them 2 doses, one day apart.). How amazing! Most of them LIKE the stuff! The worst I had to do was mix it with a handful of feed for Yaiza. Mardis Gras sucked it, literally, from the tube! No fighting! I didn't have to work to get it down! They like it! Hey, Mikey! Then comes what changed my management practices. Within four days, old hair was shedding like crazy. I gave them a weekly maintenance dose at 7 days. At 10 days, new coat was coming in. I gave them another weekly maintenance dose at 14 days. By that time, production had gone up over 35% and I was starting to drown in milk. At 21 days, they got another weekly maintenance dose. All new coats had grown in by that time, and they felt like satin. Even my big, older girl who had always had a slightly course coat, was silky. At 28 days, they got what was now their regular weekly dose. That was when I noticed that Mardis Gras had NO flakes in her coat. She had always got a slight case of "dandruff" in the summer...but it was GONE. I have now been using this stuff for three months. The girls look better than I have EVER seen them and I have made the decision that as long as they look like this, I am never, ever buying loose mineral again, and I am never going to force a bolus down a goat's throat again. This stuff has been WONDERFUL for my herd. Of course, DH chimed in. "Cost? What is this going to cost us? We can't afford much." So, I dug out the Co-Op receipts to find what I had been paying for minerals. Called them for their costs on the tubes. Looked online for what another jar of Copusure was going to cost me. Figured out my dosages and how long a tube would last..... I came up with: Cargill Right Now Onyx-- $35 At 8 goats, 1 bag every other month. MAAC Replamin Plus Gel 300cc -- $22 At 8 goats, 1 tube every 7.5 weeks, or just short of 2 months. (These are costs for my area. Your area may be different.) "Honey!" I said as I came bouncing into the room, "It's CHEAPER!" Now, to make the long story even longer: DH has a new job, we are slooooowly rebuilding everything, and I have a brand, new mineral management technique. Oh, yeah, and Brie is as big as a barn. .