April 26, 2017

Making Dosage Balls for Goats


Several years ago I began giving my goats an herbal wormer from Hoegger Goat Supply. I've been very happy with the results; their coats were shiny and slick and the fecal counts from the vet were good.


While you can just top dress their feed with the herbal powder, I've found that mine tend to turn over their bowls or just ignore the powder altogether on the bottom of the bowl. By making treats with the powder I am sure that they get the entire dose.


There are several different herbal wormers available for goats from various sources such as Fir Meadow, Land of Havilah, and Molly's Herbals. Some are given daily, others weekly; I wanted a weekly dose rather than daily.

This particular brand of wormer comes in a plastic bag; I keep the bag in a coffee can and glued the instructions to the outside of the can. I keep a set of plastic measuring spoons in the coffee can too.


Adult goats are given up to 1 1/2 teaspoons of the herbal powder, while younger and smaller goats are given 1/2 teaspoon. I give my adult goats one teaspoonful; they aren't as large as many full-grown Nubians that I've met. This past spring, because it was so rainy, I gave them the maximum dose of 1 1/2 teaspoons.

To make the treats, I measure out the amount I need for all of the goats. Because I have four goats that each get 1 teaspoon, I measure four teaspoons of the powdered wormer into a bowl.


Pour a bit of molasses into the bowl. Not too much; you can always add more. Stir it gently.


Add a bit more as needed. You want it to stick together but you don't want it to be too wet. You'll learn what looks right after you do it a few times. If you do put too much molasses in, let it rest for an hour or so and it will dry out a bit.


Then empty the bowl's contents onto a floured board, and squish it together into a ball. Add flour as needed so it won't be sticky. With your fingers, form it into a log.


Use a sharp knife to cut the log into the correct number of pieces. Since I have four goats, I cut the log in half and then each piece in half again. Yes, there are more than four pieces in the photo: I often double or triple the recipe so that the treats are ready-made for the next week or two. They freeze well as long as they're covered well with flour so they don't stick together.


When you first start using an herbal wormer, you need to give a larger dose for several days at first. The directions for this brand say to dose the goats two times a day for three days in a row, then weekly thereafter.

Most goats will love their treats. I've actually been bitten a couple of times by an over-eager goat, and I've learned to put their dosage ball in their feed on the milkstand, or feed them over the fence so I don't get trampled.

You can also use this method to give your goats other herbs when needed. I give slippery elm bark for diarrhea for instance, and I make dosage balls with that too. I've even made dosage balls for dogs using peanut butter instead of molasses.

It did take a bit of encouragement at first though, before the goats learned how good these "treats" are. I started giving these goats their wormer when they were kids, so I would open the goat's mouth and pop one in. If they spit it back out, I'd do it again. Eventually they decided I was giving them candy. I "worm on Wednesday" (it's easy to remember) and I think they even know what day of the week it is.

{NOTE: A reader commented about her goats who went rather crazy after consuming dosage balls. You can read about her experience and the alternative she's found by reading the comments below.}


This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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22 comments:

  1. Very interesting, Kathi. Thank you for the directions and pictures. Medicinal goat treats. That's a good idea.

    Fern

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  2. Excellent idea, Kathy. Thank you for sharing.
    Have a great day!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ooops! That's Kathi with an "i", it is.
    Not illiterate, just type too fast. ;)

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  4. Fern, I've found that it's easy to dose a goat with just about anything if they are already fond of these dosage balls. Thank you for your comment.

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  5. Magnoliasntea, I figured it was spellcheck! lol. Thank you for your comment.

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  6. What a great way to give them what's good for them. Love that you can make it up ahead of time too. Thanks for visiting The Maple Hill Hop!

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  7. Impressive post--I'm glad you found something that works for all involved!

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  8. What a creative idea! I'm always having to hide pills in treats for my dogs. Thanks for sharing at the Weekend Blog Hop at My Flagstaff Home!

    Jennifer

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    1. You can make them with peanut butter for your dogs, Jennifer.

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  9. I have featured this today on the Art of Home-Making Mondays. Thank you for joining us and have a lovely week :)

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  10. Thank you, Jes. I hope you have a wonderful week as well.

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  11. Can you put your copper bolus in them?

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    Replies
    1. Jamie, you could but you probably shouldn't. Bolusing is more reliable and probably more effective. From what I've read, the time release properties of bolusing help to distribute the copper rods into all of the goat's "stomachs". Here's a link about using a pet pill gun instead of a bolus gun, it might work better for you: Noodleville Adventures: how to copper bolus

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  12. I don't know a whole a lot about goats but my sister and brother in law are into raising them and showing them. They love their goats. Congratulations on being featured on Homestead blog hop. Have a healthy, happy & blessed day. P

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Marla. What kind do your sister and brother-in-law raise?

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  13. While these work great in getting goats to take their medicine, I strongly urge anyone reading this to be extremely careful if you have a larger herd of full-size goats. I have a herd of 9 NORMALLY VERY DOCILE nubians and after they got a taste of these, they turned relentless. They started biting at my hands and fingers and trying to knock me down and nothing seemed to get them to back off. They rushed my door after I escaped to the house and are literally headbutting my door trying to get more as I type this. They should calm down once they figure out there wont be any more of it and thankfully I wasn't badly injured (my hands are sore though as one went as far as raking their teeth across the palms of my hands repeatedly). It seemed like some of them got a rush too very shortly after having them as my buck at one point was just screaming over and over.

    I wont be able to use this recipe at all from here on out for obvious reasons, but it definitely does what it is supposed to and should be perfectly safe if someone could feed them from the other side of a really sturdy fence or pen.

    The dogs also seemed to like the recipe, nowhere near as much as the goats though. They sort of all spat them back out and sat with them at different areas of the yard to lick their doses so I unfortunately cannot tell with any of them if they all got their full doses or if the goats eventually stole from them.

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    1. Oh my goodness, Sali! Yes, goats absolutely LOVE these, and I always give them their doses from the other side of the fence. I do have to be careful too, and make sure they can't bite my fingers (it's happened). I have full-size Nubians too.

      For my dogs, I made dosage balls with peanut butter instead of molasses. They love them, but aren't as manic as the goats.

      Hope you can find something that will work for your goats AND for you!

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    2. It took a few days but they eventually calmed down. My goats currently roam my entire property as it is new land and completely wooded (they are being used for land clearing purposes) so there was no fence for me to feed them through unfortunately. For their next doses this weekend I'm going to try balling up slices of bread with the wormer in the middle. Will let you know if that works for future posters who may have the same problem as me. (This would have been perfect if I had a fence protecting me).

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    3. I'm relieved that they finally calmed down, Sali. Let us know if the bread works better for you.

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  14. The bread worked out perfectly. Just put the wormer in the center of a slice, pinch edges together then roll and feed crust first. All of them took it and got the wormer and noone tried to mob me too terribly. :) So good option for people with food obsessed goats.

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    1. I'm so glad this alternative worked out so well, Sali. Thank you for sharing this with us, I'm going to let others know too.

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    2. I'm so glad this alternative worked out so well, Sali. Thank you for sharing this with us, I'm going to let others know too.

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