Do your goats receive regular copper supplementation? Find out why it’s so important and how to properly give copper bolus for goats!
Copper Bolus for Goats
Do you give your goats copper? If yes, then do your goats like taking their copper bolus?
If you answered No to either of these questions then you definitely NEED to read this Post!
First of all let’s talk about what a copper bolus is and why goats need copper.
Copper bolus is basically a copper supplement for livestock.
It is a capsule that contains copper oxide particles. They are tiny little copper rods that, when ingested, lodge in the lining of the stomach and slowly release copper into the blood stream over time.
Copper bolusing is the best way for livestock to get the proper amount of copper.
While feeds and mineral supplements contain some copper, it usually isn’t sufficient. And depending on where you live, there probably isn’t enough copper in the soil to keep your goats healthy!
If you would like to watch a video showing you exactly how to copper bolus your goats, you can get it for FREE by scrolling down below and entering your email! You will receive the video directly in your inbox!
Copper is an essential nutrient for all livestock. But different animals require different amounts.
Sheep should never be given copper supplements, while goats, cattle and horses require copper supplementation. It is a very important dietary requirement in goats!
Copper Deficiency In Goats
Copper plays a part in enzyme production which in turn helps a number of different body systems to maintain balance. This provides vitality, health and productivity.
Copper is essential for the formation of collagen which helps with proper bone formation. It also helps to strengthen blood vessels and arteries as well as being excellent for ligaments, tendons and the skin.
It is also important for the central nervous system, iron metabolism and it protects the body from oxidants.
Also, one of my favorite benefits of copper is it’s ability to treat internal parasites and worms! While it doesn’t completely rid the animal of worms, it does help greatly! Supplementing your goat with copper in addition to a natural wormer should take care of any internal worms!
How awesome is that?! Are you convinced yet that your goats need copper?!
Copper for Goats
Ok, now that we know that they need copper, let’s get to the fun part! I’m going to share with you the EASIEST way to copper bolus your goats!
Normally copper boluses are administered using a balling gun, which is basically a long plastic or stainless steel stick!
You place the pill on the end of the stick, grab the goat in a head lock, and shove it in their mouth all the way to the back forcing them to swallow it.
Not a very pleasant experience for you or the goat! The method that I use is much less stressful for both of you!
I actually learned this method from my good friend Maureen at Earthsong Farms. She has taught me almost everything that I know about goats!
Maureen and her daughter have been raising dairy goats for show and milk for years. She has so much knowledge about anything goat related! I really don’t know what I’d do without her, she’s amazing!
Here is a list of what you will need to copper bolus your goats using our method:
Copper bolus (I buy this big copper bolus for cattle called copasure because you get more for your money and we’re going to open the capsules anyways so it doesn’t matter that they are bigger.
Or you can get this copper bolus for goats. I still recommend opening the capsules and weighing it out according to your goats size.
A kitchen Scale that has TARE and can weigh in grams.
Pen and paper
Bananas and a knife (you will probably need one banana for every two- three goats depending on how big your bananas and your goats are)
Ok, are you intrigued yet?! Now that we have all of our ingredients let’s get busy!
Copper Supplement for Goats
First you want to cut your bananas into chunks, peel and all, like in the picture.
It is easiest if you put your goat on a milk stand before starting.
Then, using your weigh tape you are going to determine how heavy your goat is.
You are going to measure the girth of the goat just behind the front legs and shoulders. Some also measure the length of the goat to get a more detailed estimate, but I measure just the girth.
To keep everybody’s weights and dosages straight I write down everything on a piece of paper. I include the goats name, weight, the name of the supplement or med that I’m administering, the dosage, and also the date. It should look something like this:
Copper Bolus for Goats Dosage
Next, we are going to calculate how many grams of copper our goat needs based on our weight measurement.
You are going to give one gram of copper for every twenty-two pounds.
I don’t recommend giving a goat younger than 4 months a copper bolus and I personally wait until 6 months.
After we determine the dosage and write it on our paper, we are going to weigh it out.
You need a scale that can weigh in grams. I place the lid of the bolus container on my kitchen scale, hitting the TARE button so that it doesn’t include the weight of the lid.
Very carefully open a copper capsule and slowly dump the tiny rods into the lid until you reach your desired weight in grams.
Next take a knife and cut out a chunk of the banana on one end of one of your pieces, leaving the peel intact.
Carefully dump the copper out of the lid into the hole in the banana.
Then press the chunk that you cut out back into the banana so that the copper is sandwiched inside the banana.
Now the only thing left to do is to give it to your goat! Most goats love bananas!
The majority of my goats inhale it, making this process super easy.
Now, I will tell you that a few of my goats do not like bananas.
Most of the time it’s because the goat wasn’t fed bananas as a kid and is not familiar with them. If you give your goats banana treats regularly you will not have a problem.
For the goats that are not interested in bananas I do unfortunately have to shove it in! But the majority of my goats love them!
This is especially nice when copper bolusing stinky bucks! I don’t know about you but I avoid getting that stench on me as much as possible!
You want to start copper bolusing your goats when they reach six months of age.
And depending on where you live and how much copper your goats get in their diet, you NEED to copper bolus two to three times per year.
I live in south Florida, and we have nothing in our soil. Actually it’s more like sand! So I prefer to copper bolus my goats 3 times per year.
And that’s it! Super simple and much easier on your goats than the traditional bolusing method!
Have you ever copper bolused your goats before? If so how do you do it? Do you have a special technique that works for you? If so please share, I’m always interested in hearing new ideas from my readers!
Great tip! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks Delci, I’m glad you like it:) Be sure to let me know if you give it a try!
Do you suppose this will also work with wormers?
It really depends on the type of wormer you are using, and the way that it is supposed to be administered. Some medications need to be administered in a certain way. Herbal wormers that can be mixed in feed or given orally should be fine to administer in this way.
I’m new to goats and have been fighting worms since the get-go. I’ve lost several due to worms and lack of knowledge. I’ve been trying to figure out an easy way to get copper into their systems. This is a great idea. Anything that makes taking care of goats easier.
This way works well for my herd. I hope it helps you!
We tried bolusing, but that was a fiasco. Now I use bananas for all except for our herd diva. After a very messy round of food testing, we found she prefers canned pumpkin. Not home grown pumpkin puree, mind you; it must be Libby’s canned. (I told you. She’s a DIVA!) It has to be in a small yogurt container and we have to feed it to her with a spoon. Good thing we love her… 😉
Lol that is too funny! We all have that one goat don’t we?! ?
Excellent! Trying this tomorrow. My goats are due. I’ve done marshmellows in the past. Flatten them out or tear them in half and blot the copper… it works but I don’t love feeding them marshmelllows so this banana trick should be great! Thank you!!!
By doing this 2-3 times per year, is it unnecessary to provide copper with their mineral supplements? I’m thinking this would make it easier to put sheep and goats in the same pasture without worrying about sheep getting copper…
I think that you do not need additional copper supplements if bollusing 2-3 times a year. Goat feed will also contain some copper, so they will be getting that as well. My goats do not get an additional copper supplement besides the Bolus. I do give them feed that has copper in it that sheep cannot eat though.
Aargh: I’ve only had goats (3 NDs) for 1 and 1/2 years. Had sheep before, horses always, but never goats. My 2 does are possibly almost 2 months into pregnancy! I found your write-up on using banana to administer copper, a great idea! Unfortunately: the largest doe (abt 110#s) loved it so much that she swallowed hers, then grabbed the other doe’s banana/copasure) out of my other hand, and down the hatch! I’m keeping my fingers crossed, that 10g of copper, instead of the 5g that I had measured for the 110# doe, won’t overdose/ harm her? Thanks for suggestions.
Oh no! I’m not a veterinarian so I can’t really say for sure. I can tell you that a friend of mine knew someone that was giving her goats very large doses of copper without realizing that she could overdose them, and her goats were all fine. The fact that she’s big will help as well.
Jeffers Vet supply in Dothan,Al. sells Copasure for goats and you do not have to weigh out. It come is 2 gram capsules, doseage is 2 gms for kids 25 lbs. and over and 4 gms for adults. I personally give my adult goats only the 2 gm size. I make a cookie dough, roll it into a ball then elongate the ball, take a straw and make a hole into the end of the raw dough the size of the capsule, bake the dough for about 8-10 minutes, take out, cool and then pour the copper into the hole and seal with peanut butter and then give to my goats.
Do the goats eat the banana peeling also? I am going to try using the banana cause I don’t always have help during med time. Thanks
Yes! Use the peel and all! They love it and it makes it a lot easier with the peel on:)
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Thanks for posting this! I’m giving copper for the first time tomorrow. I’m going to try this banana trick. Hopefully, they will all eat bananas!
You’re very welcome Carla:) I hope your goats liked the bananas!
Does it matter that they are chewing the copper instead of the whole capsule going down as a bolus?
No, when you add the copper to the banana they simple swallow the copper and the banana and it all ends up in the stomach just as it would if they were swallowing the bolus.
Thank you so much for this. I’m a bit confused. Is the ultimate goal to get them not to chew but to simply swallow so it goes un-chewed into their rumen with the copper rods in tact? Does everything goats eat go into the rumen initially? So, in the case of the banana, they swallow the banana “meat” containing the copper rods and then chew the peel? Or do they swallow it all without chewing any of it? Thank you!
When you add the copper to the banana they simple swallow the copper and the banana and it all ends up in the stomach just as it would if they were swallowing the bolus.
They are each different. Some might swallow it whole while others might chew it some before swallowing. In my experience the banana, the peel and the copper all go down together for the most part. Some chewing won’t hurt though.
Can you overdoses them on copper? I am nervous that I will give them copper when they dont need it. I Know one is copper deficient because she has a fish tail. But I dont know if my others need it. How do we know?
Odds are if one goat is in need of copper then the whole herd is. It really depends on your area. If your area is deficient in copper and one goat is showing signs then they probably all need copper.
Also, goats need more copper than originally believed. But precisely how much copper is adequate or safe is not entirely known. However, I have heard of people greatly overdosing and their goats were fine. I think that because the copper bolus is slow release it would be hard to overdose.
Other methods of copper supplementation such as top dress copper are easier to overdose.
If the capsule is designed to be slow-release as you mentioned, emptying the contents into the banana like that would mean that the entire bolus will hit the system at the same time. My concern would be liver damage over time if using this method of delivery – as copper can accumulate there. Of course I’m not a vet! I’m just a human registered nurse – and I know that slow-release medications are designed that way for a reason. The impact of emptying the tablet contents and delivering that way can be dangerous in humans.
The Capsule itself is not slow release. The copper rods lodge in the lining of the stomach and will break down slowly. So it’s not the capsule itself that is slow release, its the actual copper rods. Whether they enter the stomach in the banana or the capsule, the rods will then sit in the stomach lining and slowly break down and release copper into the goat’s system.
I love your blog(?) and all the best advice you give. We do not have goats yet but I think it is a much needed addition. They seem to be so versatile. Brightest Blessings.
mix copper in peanut butter
Santa Cruz biologicals in CA is no longer shipping it to TX
do you have another source?
My feed store wanted 3.25 for one coppersure bolus YIKES
Hi Rhonda, I use Copasure copper for my goats. You can find a link to purchase it in the post.
Rhonda, I just received a pkg of copper bolus’ yesterday here in TX from Santa Cruz. They have a local location in DFW area.
I love the ? idea for copper supplements. I have three does they are in heat, with buck is it ok to give them copper through pregnancy?
Yes I give my does copper while pregnant. It is a necessary supplement that they need and is helpful for keeping the worm load down during pregnancy.
So I have never done this before, I didn’t even know it was a thing to do…I have only ever had Nigerian and Boer goats but now I have aquired my first Nubians yesterday and first new goats in 10yrs…I lost my oldest Nigerian to old age, she was 15yrs, the vet she looked great and her teeth even looked great…we don’t feed them feed or hay or supplements on purpose, we give our horse grain and hay and salt block and mineral block and they eat from what she has but the are free ranging so they get whateverthey want wherever, my question is do you think I should do this with my new goats?
It really depends on the area in which you live. You should contact your local extension office to find out how much copper is in the soil in your area and if it is enough for goats.
We out hot water into a copper pot, let it cool, for their drinking water, as well. I read someplace that this will boost copper, in addition to feed/bolus, etc. Thoughts?
I’m sure that using water boiled in copper pots would definitely supply copper. The only problem with this method is that you can’t determine how much copper they are getting. Copper is one of those minerals that can be overdosed in goats, which is why I like to copper bolus to ensure that they are getting the correct dosage.
Thank you for information great help and will use tomorrow. I have two weathers which are Nigerian Dwarfs feed them hay and water freely and a handful of grain as a treat 1-2 times a day. They also have time to graze..
Do you think giving grain is ok.?
I personally feed my goats grain. It really depends on different factors. Such as how much forage you have available, if your goats are underweight or overweight, etc. But I do give all of mine some grain. Especially my does that are pregnant or in milk. I also think that bucks that are in rut probably need grain sometimes as well to keep from becoming run down.
enjoy your posts