Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
My caprine first-aid kit is not like most. If you looked in it you wouldn’t find any Pen-G, CDT, liquid calcium, or Safeguard. No ‘TODAY’ mastitis treatment, no Coppertox, nor any needles. No, it’s not like most goat keeper’s first-aid kits… But before you call the ASPCA for animal neglect, let me tell you what you WOULD find: Slippery Elm powder, kelp meal, eachinacea, goldenseal, essential oils of peppermint, tea tree and lavender; wormwood, thyme, black walnut, and many other plants. For I am an herbalist…
Five years ago, I stopped using pharmaceutical drugs on my goats, and it was the best decision I ever made. I wasn’t happy with what the drugs were doing to my animals, the price, what it was doing to my pasture ecosystem… There had to be a better way, surely! Then while perusing a thrift store, I came upon a well-used book called, The Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable written by Juliette De Bairacli Levy. Five years later, that book still sits on my shelf. It is tattered and worn, with the spine taped together and pages still threatening to fall out. It has taught me that there are alternatives to the powerful and often times harmful drugs that sit on the feed store shelves. As a disclaimer though, I am not completely opposed to using drugs on my animals. If there is an emergency that require a fast treatment, then I will resort to using something stronger than herbs. But only in emergencies.
Many people ask how they can make their own herbal medicines, or how they can naturally heal a problem that their goat has. So today’s post will go over some simple, yet effective, herbal remedies for goats…
Pregnancy booster for goats:
Dose: 3 Tablespoons per day. 1 ½ Tbsp. for dwarf breeds.
2 Tablespoons dried Red Raspberry leaf
1 Tablespoon that consists of equal parts of peppermint, thyme, and chamomile.
Raspberry leaf: Strengthens and tones the womb tissue, eases labor, and supports lactation. High in Calcium, Vitamin A and C, and Manganese.
This pregnancy booster is my absolute favorite! I have had goats give birth to 10-12 lb. kids and they hardly struggled.
Dose: 1 tsp. Powdered Slippery Elm + ¼ cup water. 3x’s per day.
Put the Elm powder and the water in a small jar and shake vigorously until well blended. Carefully drench the goat with the elm mix three times a day, and then for two to three days more after the scours have cleared up.
Slippery Elm: Contains high quantities of antiseptic, alkaline mucilage that is excellent for all digestive and pectoral disorders.
Dose: 1 Tablespoon, 2x’s per day. Continue use for 1-2 weeks.
1 cup mustard seed powder - powder
2 cups Thyme leaf - cut
2 cups Wormwood leaf* - cut
1 cup black walnut hull (powder, or just finely crushed)* - powder
2 cups sage leaf - chopped
1 cup garlic* - minced
2 cups Rosemary leaf - chopped
1/2 cup cloves - chopped
1 cup psyllium seed powder – powder
2 cups Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.)*
The most crucial ingredients are marked by an asterisk (*).
Mix all ingredients well, and then store. It’s that easy! You can also ½ the amounts listed for a smaller batch. The difference between herbal dewormers and chemical dewormers is that the herbs create an internal environment that the parasites can’t stand or survive in, so they leave; thus the long duration of feeding the herbs. Chemical dewormers destroy the parasite eggs along with destroying the animal’s immune system and the healthy bacteria in the rumen and gut. If your goats refuse the herbs, try mixing it with some brown sugar. That usually helps!
Milk Production Enhancer:
Dose: 1-2 Tablespoons, 2x’s per day.
Equal parts of: Fennel, Borage, Anise, and Fenugreek
Mix together and store!
Immunity Boosting Blend:
Dose: 1-2 Tablespoons, 2x’s per day.
Equal parts of: Echinacea, Astragalus, Garlic, and Fenugreek
Mix and store!
- You can also use herb blends that are specifically made for humans. When using herb blends that were mixed for humans, it’s best to give goats a does that is 1 ½ to 2 times the human dose.
- Store all herbs in a cool, dry place.
- If your goat absolutely refuses to eat the dry herb mixes, but you are determined to stick to herbal treatments, tinctures are a wonderful way to go. Easy to find, easy to use, and easy to make, many people prefer to use tinctures over dry mixes. You can find pre-made tinctures at almost any health food store.
- For premixed herbals, check out http://fiascofarm.com/herbs/
- Or, if you wish to mix your own herbal blends, you can order from http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/
- Look on Amazon.com for used herb books, such as Juliette de Bairacli Levy’s book, ‘The Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable’.
- When in doubt about an herb, either start out with an under-dose, or do without.
What about you? Do you use any natural remedies on your goats? I would love to hear about it!
To read more of my goat adventures, you can visit my blog ‘To Sing With Goats’!