Are sea kelp and diatomaceous earth good supplements for goat nutrition?
J.L.IdahoAnswer: A couple of ATTRA publications cover basic nutrition for goats, including Goats: Sustainable Production Overview, and Meat Goats: Sustainable Production. Goats will be healthiest and most productive when they have a diverse selection of growing forages, including browse plants. Given a selection, goats will chose the most nutritious diet for themselves. Providing clean water and a mineral mix is also essential for proper goat nutrition. You specifically asked about sea kelp and diatomaceous earth (DE). A couple of resource articles listed below discuss using kelp and DE. Goat producers that use kelp in their rations seem happy with the results, citing improved hair coats and healthier animals. Most use it as part of their mineral mix and some top dress grain with it. The article listed below shows the nutrient analysis for one brand of kelp. Kelp can be quite expensive, so the cost may be prohibitive. Diatomaceous earth has been said to help control internal parasites in goats; however, no research has shown that DE has an effect on internal parasites. The article on parasite management listed below discusses this further.To locate a source of DE and kelp I would suggest contacting a local feed mill or farmers’ cooperative. They may carry these products or may be able to order them for you. You can also buy DE and kelp from Hoegger Goat Supply (www.hoeggergoatsupply.com, 800-221-4628) and Caprine Supply (www.caprinesupply.com, 800-646-7736). Resources:Stultz, J. 2004. Sea Kelp: A Healthy Choice for Dairy Goats? Dairy Goat Journal. Vol. 82, No. 3. p. 46, 48. www.dairygoatjournal.com/issues/05_06_04.html#article4Wells, A. 2005. Sustainable Parasite Management for Goats. www.luresext.edu/goats/library/field/WellsC05.pdf