I’ve been keeping track of how much my goats and sheep consume of mineral buffet each month since April of 2022. You can see last year’s results here. When I first started researching mineral buffet, I found it so frustrating that no one could tell me how much I could expect my herd to consume. That seemed like it should be such a basic and necessary answer to have on hand because how can we decide if it’s affordable without even a ballpark of consumption totals?
Once I got started, however, I realized why there is no solid answer. And in the year and a half that I’ve been selling mineral buffet, the results have been so varied and across the board in each herd that I now can say with certainty: there is no answer because every herd is going to be so vastly different due to forage quality/mineral content, existing mineral programs, geographic location, life stage, etc.
Still, there needs to be a way to get some idea of the numbers so I began offering my own herd consumption totals as one way to see. Keeping in mind then that it will vary greatly and your herd might come in way over or under these amounts, here is my data for 2023.
A couple quick notes on the actual data. First, the amounts are what I put into the containers at the feeders each month, not what they consume out of it. The end result is the same when you look at longer term data. Second, I have Nigerian Dwarf goats. In tracking, I’m counting weaned kids the same as adults for my head count. I also have hair sheep, so since they’re twice the size of my goats, I count each hair sheep as two goats.
Auto import: The data here is auto filled daily from the spreadsheet I use to track each fill up at the barn. That means you’ll see incomplete info in the current month until we get to the end.
January: Refilled all smaller containers at the doe/sheep feeder in the barn. I topped off all feeders and consumption has been almost nothing so Feb should reflect that. We moved all bulk minerals to a different facility so there was a gap of 2+ weeks where my own feeders didn’t get refilled. I expected a surge as a result, but evidently they weren’t out long enough to bother them.
March: We were out of minerals, waiting on a manufacturer backlog so I didn’t refill feeders until 3/29, which falls in April because the end of the week is in April. As I write this on 3/30, there has been no major consumption out of the feeders I refilled last night, which was a relief because I was worried about the impacts of not having minerals in the last couple of weeks of gestation. Clearly they didn’t get too far down in the meantime. Also in March: lambs are weaning age and are going to be counted due to size.
June: Life got chaotic and we were out of minerals. I decided to get minerals out to them rather than weigh individually because they’d been without and I kept not filling due to needing to gather the scale, etc. So the 20# is an estimate of the total given that month. I did get organized again and begin weighing in July.
|ALK. NEUT. (CL)||1.25||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.63||1.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||2.88|
|ACID NEUT. (OH)||0.88||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||1.50||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||2.38|
|VITS. A, D, E (V4)||1.00||0.00||0.00||4.06||0.00||0.00||2.00||1.88||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||8.94|
|Total by Month:||35.06||11.81||0.00||63.50||9.63||20.00||24.63||28.50||0.00||0.00||0.00||0.00||173.13|