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Where do the minerals come from?

 
Lukas Eriksson
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Location: South West Sweden
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I am currently leasing land, but I want to have a farm in the future with animals to provide me and my family. So I am reading a lot about what animals would suit me the best and what I can do to make the animals feel the best. Goat(despite all the warnings) and sheep seems to be the best animals for milk on a small scale, but something that always comes up is "you have to give them extra minerals or they basically die" which I understand, of course you should provide them with what they need. The goat, at least in Sweden for a long time was consider to be the poor man´s cow because how easy and cheap it was to keep and at the same time provided almost everything the family needed. What I don´t understand is how could the poor people in the old days keep goats? I don´t think they could provide the goats extra minerals from outside, so how could they keep goats in a very selenium deficient country like Sweden without the goats dying?

My main question is, where do the minerals we give our animals come from? Is it products from the mining industries? Or does it require a lot of acreage of some crop which they extract it from? I guess what I am trying to say is, how sustainable is it to bring minerals from the outside when I don´t even know where it comes from?

I hope and would be very grateful if someone can give me a good answer because i can´t find anything, not in books or on the mighty internet.

 
Cj Sloane
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Lukas Eriksson wrote:What I don´t understand is how could the poor people in the old days keep goats? I don´t think they could provide the goats extra minerals from outside, so how could they keep goats in a very selenium deficient country like Sweden without the goats dying?


A very good question. Maybe they were getting enough to live but need more to really thrive? I know my area is very low in selenium but for a short period about 150 years ago there was a tremendous sheep boom.

Goats will browse tree leaves and trees have much deeper roots than grasses/forbs. Deeper roots can pull up more minerals.

Here's a good thread to check out.
 
John Pollard
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All minerals come from the ground and I'm sure most things are from mining but I have no idea how they extract them. So I don't really have an answer to your question but do have a theory regarding keeping goats.
Kiko goats from NZ are considered to be fairly self surviving. Meaning they don't particularly need all the supplements. The highly bred goats and especially dairy goats do need supplements. That's the difference I think. I have my doubts as to people in the old days keeping goats for milk. I suspect it was for meat. Even the highly bred dairy breeds won't give any surplus milk above what their kids need unless fed very well. I also suspect that where people were able to get milk from non supplemented goats that you'd find the environmental/nutritional conditions were just right but that they still got a whole lot less in quantity. A highly bred, well fed dairy goat puts out an unnatural amount of milk in my opinion. Most dairy breeds originate from Switzerland so maybe they have good stuff in the ground.
I read a post one time on another forum that the person was building up selenium in her soil for the future when/if it was no longer available. She was a prepper. I have no idea how she was doing it.
I'd say a few hundred years ago that all mammals got milk from their mommas for the beginning of life and that was it.
 
Cj Sloane
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Here's a link to a chart that has floated around for a while. Selenium isn't on there but there are plants that accumulate it if it is in the ground.
 
Lukas Eriksson
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Location: South West Sweden
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Thanks for the good answers! I have a few more question I hope someone could answer for me. If I would let my goats eat a diet mostly from bushes and trees, would that minimize the need for extra minerals? When I see pictures of goat pastures it´s often just grass and that makes me think that it´s a very unnatural place for goats and maybe that is why they like escaping so much? Maybe not, but it´s a thought.

Would seaweed give goats some of the minerals they need? If I would make hay for goats should it be from more deep rooted plants like alfalfa instead of grass?
 
John Lewis Morgan
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Lukas.

I think, much like people, goats kept long ago were simply less healthy and didn't live as long. When they were milked back in the day, they weren't milked so intensively so their systems were less taxed. I believe a variety of browse (trees and brush) is important and I only give my goats a tiny amount of extra minerals and this seems to prevent fish tail (copper deficiency) and improves overall health. I would say, use some of those mined minerals while we can. It doesn't take much. If they are no longer available, then worry about it. My goats do not like grass or hay very much at all and i don't think its what their bodies really need. I have seen them eat a whole lot of supposedly deadly brush and they are fine. in fact, my worm load is almost non-existent and I suspect (I do not KNOW) it is from all the "toxic" plants they eat.

Seaweed and kelp are supposedly superfoods for them but i have not tried it. I don't live near a sea.

Also i am starting to think that pure bred animals are mostly trash. Mutts are almost always the way to go for robustness, instincts and intelligence IMO. Back then, animals that sucked, died. animals that were super resilient passed on those genes. Now we coddle animals and plants that are not resilient and "weak" genes are passed on to form breeds that kinda suck.

If it wants to die, let it die. If it wants to live, encourage it.

john
 
John Lewis Morgan
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Also, about hay:

Most goat people are into feeding goats tons of hay. I am not. My boys will eat it. It makes fine bedding. Most of it goes to waste or becomes bedding. My girls basically don't eat it. In the winter, I cut fresh pine trees for them. they love the needles and they strip the bark for the sticky sap. People have scolded me for this. I say, look at my goats, look at my worm load, and look at my feed costs. enough said. My goats love pine.

experiment. watch your goats. spend time with them and listen and learn.

john
 
Cj Sloane
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John Lewis Morgan wrote:People have scolded me for this. I say, look at my goats, look at my worm load, and look at my feed costs. enough said.


Do they still argue after that?

BTW, cows & sheep enjoy pine too, especially during winter.
 
Mike Haych
Posts: 225
Location: Eastern Canada, Zone 5a
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Cj Verde wrote:Here's a link to a chart that has floated around for a while. Selenium isn't on there but there are plants that accumulate it if it is in the ground.


This information in the link has been rejected by Eric Toensmeier:
I might add that, while Dave and I provided hundreds of footnotes to our sources in Edible Forest Gardens, the dynamic accumulator section is one that needs an overhaul. Most of our data came from Kourick who is about to release an update to his research. In fact I don’t really teach dynamic accumulators in my courses any more at all, until we get some more data. Several folks in academia are looking at the topic here in the states.


from a thread at the old permaculturenews.org website - https://web.archive.org/web/20141110015121/http://permaculturenews.org/2014/03/18/comfrey-really-improve-soil/

The bottom half of this list shows plants that have been confirmed as containing selenium.
 
John Lewis Morgan
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Do they still argue after that?


Cj,
lol. Some people are really zealous about goat care. Yes. They will argue with anybody about anything goat-related that is different from how they do it. "if you don't remove all toxic plants from your goats you are a murderer" - type attitude.

 
Cj Sloane
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John Lewis Morgan wrote:Some people are really zealous about goat care. Yes. They will argue with anybody about anything goat-related that is different from how they do it. "if you don't remove all toxic plants from your goats you are a murderer" - type attitude.


I had a feeling! I try not to argue with people who discount reality...
 
John Lewis Morgan
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I had a feeling! I try not to argue with people who discount reality...


Yep. I just present my own perspective and try to stay open about theirs. I have learned a lot from people who are very zealous. They are usually so hard-headed because they care and feel strongly. The tough part is knowing when to listen and when to ignore
 
Katy Whitby-last
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Lukas Eriksson wrote:Thanks for the good answers! I have a few more question I hope someone could answer for me. If I would let my goats eat a diet mostly from bushes and trees, would that minimize the need for extra minerals? When I see pictures of goat pastures it´s often just grass and that makes me think that it´s a very unnatural place for goats and maybe that is why they like escaping so much? Maybe not, but it´s a thought.

Would seaweed give goats some of the minerals they need? If I would make hay for goats should it be from more deep rooted plants like alfalfa instead of grass?


Letting them browse on a wide range of herbage will certainly help BUT only if those minerals are present in the soil.

I think the key is to remineralise your soil and provide a very wide range of deep rooted perennials and trees for them to eat.
 
R Scott
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re-mineralize and re-fungi-ize the soil. Plants can't take up most minerals without mycorrhiza.
 
Peter Ellis
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If your soil does not have healthy soil biology, then it will not matter what mineral supplements you put on or in the soil, they will not be plant available. If the soil biology is healthy, you won't need supplements to mineralize the soil, and you probably won't need them for your animals either, because they will be getting what they need from their food.
 
Katy Whitby-last
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Peter Ellis wrote:If your soil does not have healthy soil biology, then it will not matter what mineral supplements you put on or in the soil, they will not be plant available. If the soil biology is healthy, you won't need supplements to mineralize the soil, and you probably won't need them for your animals either, because they will be getting what they need from their food.


Even with a healthy soil biology if the particular minerals are not present in your soil then the animals will need them provided elsewhere. Some soils just don't have certain minerals.
 
Peter Ellis
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That theme that some soils don't have certain minerals gets quite a bit of play. You might want to look into what Dr. Ingham has to say on the subject.
 
Katy Whitby-last
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Peter Ellis wrote:That theme that some soils don't have certain minerals gets quite a bit of play. You might want to look into what Dr. Ingham has to say on the subject.


I have and I disagree with what she says based on all of the research into soil science that I have done.

I agree that soil biology is vital in mobilising the available nutrients BUT those nutrients have to be there in some form and they cannot be spontaneously produced.
 
Peter Ellis
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They are not sponta new us ly produced. They are extracted from the rocks, sand, silt and clay.
It would be interesting to get an analysis of the actual mineral/elemental composition of a given sample of "dirt"and then run comparison of what was in there against what plants require and then against a "soil nutrient" analysis of the same soil.
That is the data required to actually resolve this one.
 
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