Using Garlic to Improve Herd Health

Garlic (Allium Sativum), is our #1 natural health food staple in our goats’ diet. It is my favorite supplement for goats, and it is my go-to treatment for most things! 

WHEN WE GIVE GARLIC:

When we first started our journey with goats, we used no garlic at all, and experienced multiple parasite problems as well as other health issues. I had heard from multiple goat care books and online resources that garlic was good for goats, so I decided to try it. I began introducing it to our goats occasionally, and then sometimes for a longer period to help with a worm or respiratory issue. During the time that I refrained from feeding them garlic, I noticed that our goats were more prone to illnesses, and seemed to have small (not serious) health issues. When I began giving the goats garlic daily, their immune systems thanked us profusely! Healthy goats are happy goats! Now, we also give the goats larger amounts of garlic, in different frequencies (see more details below) if we need it to treat a specific issue. 

HOW WE GIVE GARLIC:

As explained briefly in another Post – How We Started Herbal Deworming for our Goats (please go check it out!) we tried many different ways of feeding the garlic to our goats. First, we tried to get our goats to eat a clove whole… sure enough, they wouldn’t take it. NOTE: When I mention a garlic “clove” I am referring to the individual sections of a garlic “bulb.” Cloves vary in size but I like to say that the size of an average garlic clove should fit within the diameter of a quarter. Katherine Drovdahl from Fir Meadow LLC has suggested in her book, The Accessible Pet, Equine, and Livestock Herbal, that an average sized clove should be about the size of “a woman sized thumb joint.” Garlic size can vary, so don’t be too caught up on how large each clove is, especially because when garlic is crushed you can tell more easily how much to give. My go-to dose for dwarf goats regularly, is about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of garlic when crushed. 

Now that we have gone over the size, we can talk about how it is given. Every goat has different preferences, which means that you as an owner will have to decide how to administer the garlic. You can try it coated in honey, molasses, or even just tossing it in their feed whole can work! Most importantly, the garlic should be raw, and I highly suggest that it is crushed (as opposed to garlic un-chewed and taken whole) because crushing garlic releases more beneficial healing properties, such as an enzyme called allicin. If the clove is not crushed or at least “well chewed,” it might not help your goat as much as it could. 

Here’s how we give garlic to our goats: I start by crushing 1 clove (this would be for 1 goat … I feed each goat an individual serving, although if you have many goats you might want to multiply the amount and feed them all the garlic together if you are doing it by this method). Then I add approximately 1/2 tsp to 1 tsp of organic applesauce, and a good pinch of slippery elm bark powder. I mix it together, and when I feed it to the goats they just lick it right off the plate! I often try to feed supplements without having to do it forcefully by drenching syringe, or other methods. If you choose to do my method of feeding garlic, take note that it does not have to be done in applesauce. Mashed banana or pumpkin puree works well too if that is what your goat likes. I use this technique to feed herb mixes to the goats as well. The slippery elm bark powder is really only used to make it tastier for the goats, as most goats adore slippery elm! However, slippery elm is also a very healthy supplement for goats, as it coats and soothes the stomach and throat.

USING GARLIC FOR SPECIFIC ISSUES INSTEAD OF PREVENTATIVE

When using garlic to help with a health issue, I often enact a specific rigorous garlic regimen. It always depends on the situation, but as a baseline I usually feed 2-3 cloves daily for 3 days (spaced out throughout the day), then 1-2 cloves daily for 5 days. Then I continue on with 1 clove daily as per usual. *I am not claiming that garlic should be used as a treatment, and that it is a “cure” for anything, only that it has helped our goats in certain ways.*

Garlic has helped our goats through multiple health issues, and they benefit from getting it in their routine diet. I will go further into other situations where garlic has helped our goats in future posts about those exact issues, but for now I really wanted to focus on how to easily include garlic in a feeding regimen.

The downside to using garlic in your herd, is that it has a very strong taste and smell. If your goats are in milk, beware that the garlic will flavor the milk; and if you are selling milk or don’t like the taste of garlic, you might want to refrain from feeding garlic while your goat is in milk, unless you need to use it to treat a specific health issue. Our boys do not get milked, but we do have garlic-breath-goats, which doesn’t bother us one bit because we know the benefits that garlic breath brings!

I also wanted to mention that garlic can help with a range of problems, not only the two that I mention often (worms, and respiratory issues). Garlic also is said to help with external parasites. In my experience, we had a very large issue with ticks when we first got goats. After getting them on daily garlic, I haven’t found a single tick on them.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out, especially as feeding garlic is often subjective to an individual goat. For instance, young goats and dwarf goats will have smaller dosages than full sized and adult goats, so be sure to take that into consideration when feeding garlic.

I constantly add to this list, however, here are some of my top favorite ways to give garlic to goats:

1. Whole cloves (goats take them as treats)

2. Whole cloves coated in molasses or honey

3. Suggestion #1 but tossed with feed

4. Suggestion #2 but tossed with feed

5. Crushed or chopped garlic in feed

6. Suggestion #2 but crushed or chopped in feed

7. Crushed garlic mixed with a teaspoon of applesauce

8. Crushed garlic mixed with a teaspoon of mashed bananas

9. Crushed garlic mixed with a teaspoon of pumpkin puree

10. Suggestion #7, #8, or #9 with Slippery Elm Powder added

11. Crushed garlic mixed with a bit of flaxseed meal and molasses to form a ball

12. Suggestion #11 can be shoved into the mouth of a goat a few times forcefully if they don’t like it at first

13. Suggestion #11 can also be tossed into feed, or broken up slightly, then mixed with feed.

14. Garlic can be put into a peanut hull

15. Take a banana slice about an inch thick, scoop out the middle leaving a bit on the bottom, stick the clove in (or crushed garlic) cover the top, and offer to the goat or forcefully put into the goats mouth until they realize it is tasty.

In emergency (non-regular) situations

16. Crushed finely and mixed with water to drench carefully

17. Crushed finely and mixed with juice (carrot, fruit) to drench carefully

18. Crushed finely and mixed with olive oil to drench carefully or feed from a spoon

DISCLAIMER: I am not a vet, nor am I a licensed professional. I am in no way a “goat expert” and my opinions are only that of personal experiences, and my insights shared are not medical treatment suggestions, care suggestions, or any directions for raising goats at all. I am simply sharing my own personal opinions. Any and all changes to your goats’ health regimen, care, etc. should be approved by a veterinary professional or licensed professional. I also believe that every goat owner has their own way of doing things, so just as my opinions are my own, and cannot apply to anyone else, your opinions are also regarding your individual goats, and I welcome you to share them in a kind, constructive manner. Disclosure: This post may contain Amazon Affiliate Links, from which I will earn a commission. 

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