Those of you have been following along a while know that I have been struggling with copper levels in my goats and sheep. We have high molybdenum as well as sulphur and iron in our soil and water, all of which interfere with copper absorption. With the goats I had tried the highest copper mineral salts available in the US, and I was still having serious copper deficiency issues. I had been able to fix my goat copper problems finally with Multi Min (injectable trace element supplement supplying zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium)
, but then the liver zinc levels were too high. So with the goats I have been using Copasure (copper oxide particles) boluses broken down into 2.5 gram capsules twice per year. I have not had the opportunity to recheck a liver copper level in the goats since then because they are doing so well.
But with the sheep we had butchered some yearling rams in 2009 and submitted a liver for analysis. The copper levels came back at 6.5 with deficient in a sheep being <4. I tried increasing the copper in their mineral salt by mixing 1/10th goat and the rest sheep, but the copper levels the next year dropped to 5.1. So then I purchased Cosecure (cobalt, selenium and copper) lamb boluses from the UK and administered them to our flock last spring. This year’s liver analysis above shows a level of 7.6. It is certainly improved with this. I had not noticed any health effects from the borderline copper levels except there was some white banding on a couple of my fleeces from last spring’s shearing.
It was 90 pounds for 50 of these boluses which is quite expensive compared to $40 for 125 of the goat doses. I will have to make calculations to compare the copper dosage for each. But the research done in the UK on copper deficiency is that the problem is actually more thiomolybdate toxicity rather than true copper deficiency and so that is why the cobalt is needed with the copper to improve the sheep’s health. So now I need to decide if I wish to continue to use these expensive but proven sheep boluses or experiment with cheaper pure copper goat boluses. Any thoughts?