Monday, August 3, 2015

Effects of Copper Deficiency on Goats......

One of the very first things I noticed about Tulip when I got to Jennifer's to pick her up was she now had a huge, lacy, white patch on her left shoulder/side.  I commented on it and said "That's new!"

I didn't think too much more of it and brought her home.

I've always been very aware that goats need a great deal of copper, and have always kept out the best loose mineral that I could buy in my area, being Manna Pro Goat Mineral which contains 1350 ppm (minimum) at all times.   The goats love it and eat it right up.  Both Tulip and Star during their pregnancies ate this at a rate of about 8 lbs per month to 6 weeks!

When Star got sick with Barber Pole, I began to do a great deal of research on it and what I was finding was that goats with copper deficiency tend to have trouble with Barber Pole, as well as other symptoms, including coat color issues.

This got me thinking about Tulip's "white shoulder".  I went out and checked her over, and while she had no other symptoms, I did notice that the large, lacy white patch on her left shoulder wasn't nearly as pronounced as it had been, presumably due to the constant access to loose mineral and the rate at which she consumed it during her pregnancy.

I also noticed that Star has white places around her "armpits" and her throat area.

You can also see her black skin along her sides and on her legs.  I thought it was because she was so huge from carrying the triplets that she'd rubbed the hair off her sides, but in my research I've found that hair loss is another symptom of copper deficiency (or can be a zinc deficiency).

I know all about black goats (and horses as well) having a reddish cast when they are copper deficient, but had no idea about white patches appearing or the goat even turning white entirely!

I have copper bolused both girls and am going to bolus the kids as soon as they are old enough.  I am excited to see if Tulip's lacy white shoulder disappears completely, and if Star's armpits and throat area turn back to her regular color.


So I bolused Star the end of April, and then again the end of May.  The first time I dosed her I gave her the dosage for her weight.  Then 30 days later I bolused her again with 1 1/2 times the dose for her weight.  So in 30 days she got almost 3 doses of copper.

Here are is a picture from over the weekend.

Star looks fantastic now.  She's had no more trouble with worms, and her coat is as sleek as it's ever been.  As you can see she's still lighter colored in the armpit area and in her chest.  I'll be curious to see if that ever totally goes away.

I also now think that Bear's interesting coloring is due to copper deficiency.  I truly believe he should be black all over, instead of with the roan type coloring he has on his back half.

I'll be bolusing the whole herd the first of September, and then again in January.  Then I plan to dose them twice a year from here on out.

Keeping goats is always such a learning experience, and I have to say I am very thankful to have access to the internet which is a wealth of information, although you do have to be careful to weed out the crazies, do your homework, and use your head!

Til next time............

God Bless,


  1. Thanks for the great information, Goodwife. We have had good results with the copper boluses for our goats. I found some adult goat size and some for kids. The kid version only has about half the copper and the vet told us they were safe, so we did the whole herd.

    I hadn't heard anything about the coat changing colors from a copper deficiency, and after I started reading your description, I remembered that one of our wethers seemed to have a lot more white on him this summer. He was given a copper bolus about three weeks ago, and I'll have to really look at him again to see how his coat looks. Very interesting, thanks again.


  2. Wow, I had no idea that copper was so important to goats. You've taught me so much about them on this blog and I always look forward to the goatie updates! :)

  3. I havent been in blog world in forever! Glad I'm stopping in tonight, great read, so glad you shared, I have never copper bolused my goats, thinking I need to. Share with me how to go about this please.


If you'd like to comment, I love to hear from folks and I will do my absolute very best to comment back or answer any questions!