If you’ve raised goats, you know that it’s HARD. They are so prone to parasites and other things. Most goat owners use toxic chemical products to keep their parasite load low.
When we got goats, I knew without a doubt that I was going to raise them naturally. That’s how I do everything and it’s always worked. But what I didn’t realize is that this hasn’t been done successfully very often. Even herbal groups were having a hard time keeping their goats healthy with just herbs.
We used herbs, garlic, copper (goats have a high copper requirement), and other things. And we still were battling for their health constantly.
I almost gave up, but my discouragement is what always leads me to endless hours of research. And that research has been the most amazing thing that has happened to our adventures in raising goats. We have had the most incredible, amazing health in our goats since I found this research and have been putting it into practice that I want the whole goat world to know it!
So let me share with you what we’ve learned and how we use essential oils to keep our goats healthy naturally.
First Things First
The first and most important thing, though, is purity. 98% of essential oils are produced for the perfume industry. These are laden with toxic extenders, other plant products than what is listed on the bottle, and they are not produced to provide therapeutic benefits.
If you spend hours reading the research studies, you’ll notice that many of them actually produced the essential oil themselves for the study. Those are the most reliable studies because you know the results are actually from the plant properties and not altered by any adulteration of the oil.
And even if you buy one that says things like “100% pure” and even “organic,” that doesn’t matter if the essential oil was not distilled correctly to retain the therapeutic benefits. Because let’s face it–using something that isn’t going to work, even if it doesn’t have any dangerous additives, is dangerous because it’s like essentially doing nothing. And with goats, time is of the essence!
If you missed my post detailing this and other things I discovered in my two years researching essential oils, click here and read it now! It’s very important info, especially when you are relying on something to keep your animals (and family!) healthy!
Another reason I only use Young Living essential oils is because they are the first and only company to have a dietary line of essential oils. (Click here to learn more about that.) If I am going to be using essential oils internally/orally with my goats, I want them to be safe for that use! And most essential oils are NOT safe for internal use!
Please, I beg you: Do NOT use store-bought essential oils on your goats at all, but especially not orally.
The Research I Found for Goats
So after my hours and hours of scouring research for goats, here’s what we use for our goats:
We use orange, R.C. (for its blend of eucalyptus oils), and oregano essential oils with our goats regularly.
Please take the time to read each of these reference links below to see exactly which oils can help for various needs specific to goats.There are some legal compliance regulations that prevent me from being able to state specifically what I use these oils for, so you’ll have to click on the research and read it for yourself!
Eucalyptus citriodora: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21961753
Eucalyptus globulus: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3141301/
Eucalyptus staigeriana: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304401710003377
More information on ParaFree: https://www.youngliving.com/en_US/products/parafree-softgels
So here’s what I do (trying to phrase this all to keep it compliant here as I am limited to what I can say…):
We give our goats the above-referenced essential oils (orange, oregano, and eucalyptus blend) in their organic grains for three days every week. (Myrrh is expensive and as you can see from the study above, is only indicated for one particular thing so we use that one sparingly.)
Interpreting the dosages used in the studies above proved to be quite difficult, even with recruiting some veterinary help, so what we do for maintenance dosing is 1 drop each of oregano and eucalyptus blend per 40 pounds and 2 drops of orange per 40 pounds.
What we could interpret from the studies is that the amounts the animals were given to be effective were quite high, much higher than what most people would even use, and that lower amounts were less effective, so getting a high enough dosage is crucial. Insufficient doses will make it appear that the oils are not working.
The dosage above that we use is for maintenance dosing. In the event of an acute situation, dosages would need to be higher of course.
Since our goats normally only get grains during milking season, I had to figure out a way to get them their oils without grains. As you may know, adding essential oils to water isn’t that great because the oils settle on the surface of the water, making it hard to get all the goats their specific dosages evenly.
So what we do for using essential oils in their water trough is using a few dispersants. Dispersants help keep the essential oils blended throughout the water, making sure that all of the goats get the essential oils.
Here is a post with a good list of various dispersants that can be used: http://www.holistichealthherbalist.com/forget-mustache-use-dispersant-mix-essential-oils-water/
For our goats, we mostly use aloe gel/juice, bentonite clay, and sometimes molasses. Food-grade diatomaceous earth works fairly well too. All of these things are safe and beneficial for goats, especially the aloe gel.
To use these, mix your chosen dispersant in a container with the essential oils and mix well. Add the dispersant and essential oil combination into your water container and fill with water, mixing as you fill. You can experiment a little with small containers in your kitchen to find what things work best for you and your goats as a dispersant.
Another way to dose goats with essential oils, and a way we use with (goat) kids especially, is using an oral syringe and mixing with a carrier oil like olive oil.
Concerns About Liver & Gastrointestinal Effects of Essential Oils
Some have concerns about the effect of the oils on the liver and gastrointestinal health of the animal. With pure oils, research has shown us that they are actually very beneficial to liver and gastrointestinal health:
Despite what some bloggers say, essential oils have actually been proven to SUPPORT healthy gut flora!
Here are just two of the many studies proving this:
(Note in this one, it actually increased beneficial flora!)
Not only do essential oils support healthy flora but they also multiply it due to the synergistic, complementary effects! The following study concluded:
“Probiotics and essential oils… show a synergistic effect that is normally higher than any known drug due to their complementary actions. Since most of these medicinal plants are edible, their extracts as food product do not have any side effects with low dosage. Therefore, these products may be very beneficial for human beings.”
I encourage you to read the full study for yourself as there is so much more in it! http://www.hindawi.com/
I have also found specific research that has studied the effect of essential oils on ruminant animals, and they all found the same thing: That they did not negatively affect rumen health or function and reduced methane output. 😉
You can click here to read my in-depth post Ingesting Essential Oils: Getting the Facts Straight.
There are many other ways we use essential oils with our goats. For instance, lavender to help calm them down when they are going to a new home or for blood draws (pregnancy tests), the Thieves blend for topical/skin needs, etc. We also use Thieves dishsoap as an udder wash and make an udder balm with peppermint and other essential oils.
Using pure essential oils with goats is a win win!! I hope you’ll give pure essential oils a try with your goats!
Do you have other farm animals?! Check out my post with more research on using essential oils for chickens, pigs, etc! http://yldist.com/godscents/essential-oils-for-the-farm/
If you aren’t already a wholesale member with Young Living, there are some pretty awesome benefits to signing up as a new member through me. My team consists of other goat owners and farmers; we have a private Facebook group where we share wisdom and post questions, etc. We also have fun contests, prizes, and more to keep connected. Having extra support is so important when choosing to take the path less traveled with our families’ and our animals’ health!
Be sure to subscribe to my posts via email in the box on the right side; I have lots more posts coming about raising goats naturally!
Blessings of good health,
~Sara Jo Poff
Holistic Health Practitioner and Holistic Homesteader