I am only giving information on things I have used here with our animals (or ourselves). I am NOT a vet nor am I a "licensed" herbalist or nutritionist. Please do your research, especially when wildcrafting. You MUST be ONE HUNDRED percent sure you are gathering the correct plant, the correct part of the plant (leaves, flowers, seeds, roots, etc) and at the correct time of year. At some point I may get more indepth on how to preserve the things we gather but for now I will continue to concentrate on the what more than the how in these pages. Note that most of the things here will relate to goats, I will specify if I am referring to another species!! Many of the recipes can however be interchangable between speices (including humans).
Also when mixing formulas and the indicated amounts are in parts - each part is measured by WEIGHT not volume. A small digital kitchen scale is a great investment when working with herbs.
PREGNANT? USE CAUTION AND DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE USING OR INCREASING ANY DOSAGES YOU FIND. (EVEN WITH COMMERCIAL HERBAL PREPARATIONS)
Always give herbal treatments 3-5 days PAST the time you no longer see symptoms.
When giving long term daily internal treatments you should give the body one to two days of rest out of each 7 to 10 days.
Depending on the severity of a situation or the symptoms exhibited and depending on whether a problem is acute (severe, quick onset, rapidly progressing, ) or chronic (long lasting or on-going issue with really no change in severity), you may want to follow stronger doses and/or more frequent doses.
NOTE: We have purchased many of the herbs we use (that are not wildcrafted or culivated by us) at our local health food store. When buying, be sure you are buying from a very reputable source as some sources A) don't have the correct item in the bottle B) don't have MUCH of the active ingredient in them C) have very low quality herbs in them (with low efficacy). You can also purchase on line....do your research before buying. In late 2014 we started purchasing some herbs and EO through Mountain Rose Herbs and really like them so far. I have also had Frontier come highly recommended (and that is where our local healthfood store obtains their bulk herbs). Land of Havilah also comes highly recommended and Kristie's service and knowledge is invaluable.
Never EVER be afraid to go to commercial/conventional medicines if you feel you need to. It happens, plain and simple. I personally feel that there are situations....whether because the condition is so severe or perhaps because of the duration of a condition or other reasons.....that require the help of conventional/chemical practices. I refuse to loose any animal because I'm trying to uphold my principles. I feel there is no shame in doing whatever must be done to save the lives of my animals.
Dewormers (also includes coccidiostats)
Anti- diarrheal (general, goat and piglet)
Broken (or crushed or chipped) bones
How do I get my livestock to take their "medicine"?
After kidding pick me up (for mom)
After kidding pick me up (for kids)
Helpful herbs for milk production
About the heat (will open in new window)
Goat Polio (Polioencephalomalacia) (also see Formula #1 under Iron formula for anemia)
Items containing high levels of iron:
Blackstrap molasses (CHECK THE LABEL for iron content) - A good source of iron and energy for an anemic animal. However use with caution as it can cause or exacerbate diarrhea.
Yellow Dock ROOT - a great source of iron. This herb is one we have growing "wild" in our yard and when harvested at the proper time of year is a wealth of iron. Harvest in late fall or early spring......the root should be a creamsicle orange color. The brighter the orange the better.
Depending on the cause of anemia there are other supportive herbs that can (should) be added to an iron building formula. More info on those soon.
Well we had to come up with something pretty quick when we ended up having a young buck with bottle jaw. We think a fast worm die-off may have been the culprit. Another factor of his poor condition may have been Polioencephalomalacia (goat polio) so we tailored this formula to cover that as well. (Not quite complete yet, but will finish soon)
Blackstrap molasses (1/2 cup)
Yellow Dock root (1 tbl powder)
Stinging Nettle (2 tbl dried herb)
Iron complex (mineral based - 6 pills)
B-12 (3 pills)
B-complex (3 pills)
Catnip (1 tbl dried herb)
Spirulina (2 tsp powder)
Cayenne (2 tsp powder)
Burdock root (2 tsp powder)
All items were ground to a fine powder and mixed with the molasses and enough ACV to make a drenchable mixture. And yes the formula is a little sketchy since I realize formulas should be measured out by weight.....going by volume when following a recipe that says "parts" should typically be measured out by weight. The measurements above made about 80cc of drench.
Drenched approximately 40cc about every hour until I noticed a change in strength, attitude and the bottle jaw swelling began to subside. After that I went to 20cc about 4 times a day and let him rest at night. Kept up with the dosing (went down to twice a day) until two days after the bottle jaw was gone.
Some natural anti-diarrheal treatments include:
Activated charcoal - by far my favorite to date. It works great to remove toxins that may be causing the diarrhea in the first place (i.e. from something ingested, worm load die-off, etc). It has worked for us when not even commercial anti-diarrheal medications would. We dose one capsule per goat (large or small).
Raspberry leaves - you can make a tea (better for people, the leaves aren't THAT tasty to me!!) which will also help with hydration. I prefer to just give handfuls of the leaves to the livestock. Works rather well with mild scours or simply just the "bee hive poops" (term coined by a young visitor to our farm) often caused by something different they may have come across in a hay bale.
We had a piglet that was stepped on and severely injured. We brought her into the house to recooperate at less than 24 hours old. About 24 hours after that she began to have watery stools....normal "baby yellow" but liquid instead of solid. I mixed up the following mix.
Slippery Elm (powdered)
Activated Charcoal (powdered)
I mixed equal parts of the above . To dose her, in syringe I mixed two "pinches" with just a enough of her formula (goat's milk in this case) to liquify it, then carefully drenched her. I think I probably wore half the dose though!! Repeat dose every 3-6 hours until stools firm up.
Many things can cause respiratory problems in goats: pneumonia (bacterial or viral), lungworm, dusty conditions, weather changes, etc.
While antibiotics are common treatments for the bacterial pneumonia (and secondary infections when dealing with viral pneumonia) I will stick with natural ways of working with respiratory issues.
The following is a mix we used for a round of snotty noses in the fall (quick weather change). Just a note here on what we did and why. I didn't feel that the cause of the handful of snotty noses was a reason for alarm, like I said I believe it was only due to a large weather change. I chose to treat HALF of the goats who were exhibiting the runny nose and not treat the other half. The results were that in a few days the TREATED goats cleared up completely. The untreated goats took about a week longer to clear up.
Garlic - FRESH
Honey - RAW
Apple Cider Vinegar - I will mention this here and probably a dozen other places....be sure your ACV is REAL (not just "flavored") organic and has the mother.
I made a drench the following
1 part chickweed
1 part lobelia inflata
1 part goldenseal
1 part burdock root
1-1/2 parts marshmallow root
2 parts mullein
I used approximately two tablespoons per adult goat as one dose and one teaspoon for young kids under 4 months. Depending on the issue and the severity of the issue basic dosing can be dosed approximately 4 times daily.
For each dose made I also used one (large) clove garlic, 1 tablespoon raw honey and enough ACV to liquefy all ingredients in the Magic Bullet.
During the winter 2013/2014 we had more goats confined (well more of a self imposed confinment as none of the goats wanted to go out in the horrible weather) than in any previous years. I think it caused the goats to be a bit crankier than normal. I somehow ended up with a young myotonic buckling with an injured hock. After treating with BF&C orally for a week with no change in status I decided to take him in to the vet. Well Xrays showed us that he had broken the tip of the bone off in his right hock. As of the writing of this we are only 3 days past the vet visit, we will keep updating when we can.
Here is the treatment we chose to implement.
Orally 2-3 times a day one capsule of BF&C formula (without comfrey). Although the BF&C formula we found didn't include comfrey, I did include it in his treatment. I am giving him approximately 1/8 a tsp of powdered comfrey leaf at the same time I'm giving the BF&C capsule (so 2-3 times a day).
Topically 2-3 times a day I have been covering the hock with a mixture of grapeseed oil (it was what I had on hand - you could also use olive or coconut oils) comfrey tincture and BF&C tincture. I mixed approximately 4 tablespoons of the oil with 4 dropperfuls EACH of the comfrey and BF&C tinctures. The mixture will separate but a quick shake will mix it back together before each use. I used a syringe to draw up some of the mixture (about a tablespoon) and then squirt it right onto the hock and rub it (carefully) in.
I did change the topical formula listed above after the first two weeks. I quit using the grapeseed oil as I remembered some plantain infused olive oil that I had made. Using the plantain oil I continued to use the comfrey and BF&C tinctures but also added some white willow bark tincture (about 1 -2 dropperfulls) and some cayenne tincture (about 2-3 dropperfulls). I did increase the amount of comfrey and BF&C tinctures to closer to 5 dropperfuls each.
last update: 3/16/14
Well make it taste good of course!! Okay that is probably a bit over simplified, but it is the basis of the how-to! I put a bit of info above in the "Dewormer" section on how to administer to different critters. However for the goat (and even the dogs) we have found our best luck in dosing has been using (raw) honey as the binder/liquefier with the powder herb mix and the raw garlic. If needed I also add a bit of raw apple cider vinegar to help make it a bit more liquid. If I need to make a batch LESS liquid I add a few scoops of wheat germ. You can also use Molasses in place of the honey. Making a thicker mixture can allow you to roll it up into dose size "balls". Using oatmeal, wheat germ or even an added powdered herb (comfrey, raspberry leaf, etc) can hlep "thicken" the mixture. The balls tend to be sticky but can be rolled in a powder to coat them in an "unsticky" medium. Slippery elm, comfrey, kelp.....whatever you find your goats like the best.
Dogs or cats can be mixed with either some raw meats (chicken or rabbit pounded flat with their dose rolled up in it works great) or with canned food.
Fleas (NOT for use on cats):
I used ACV as a carrier but you could use olive oil instead. I also contemplated using a white distilled vinegar instead of the more expensive ACV. I put lemongrass EO, eucalyptus EO (about 10-15 drops of each to about one cup of carrier liquid) into the ACV and then used a needleless syringe to apply to the back of each dog. I applied a thin line from shoulder blades to base of tail. I also put two drops of pure lemongrass EO on each dogs collar(not directly on the dog). We had NO fleas or ticks!!
Fleas on Rabbits:
I made a flea powder of the following:
1/2 DE and then half the following mix (approx equal parts each dried and powdered herbs) Rosemary, peppermint, lavender and catnip. When I get some sage dried, I'll be adding that and omit the powdered lavender. if I need to make this againTo the approximately two cups of powder I mixed about 10 drops each of the following EO: Eucalyptus, lemongrass, and then about 5 drops lavendar EO. Then about 10 drops of a yarrow tincture.. Blended it all well and put a few shakes on each rabbit. For seven rabbits (including the wild rabbit who started our whole flea issue!) I didn't even use 1/2cup I bet.
I again used ACV as the base, but I have heard that maybe oils would be better for "sticking power" (or for cost efficiency I could use the white vinegar also). I mixed about two cups of ACV with 10 drops each of Lavender EO, 15-20 drops of Eucalpytus EO and 5 drops of Tea Tree oil. (use tea tree oil with caution....can be dangerous if ingested). Next time if we need to do this again we may skip the Tea Tree oil and go with a Rosemary EO instead.
last update 3/9/14
ON PIGS: Oh now those are some NASTY looking things!! We brought in a new pig in June of 2014 and about two weeks after that noticed she was crawling with lice and covered in eggs. Treated them with DE (both on they pigs and their grounds) and a Eucalyptus EO and vinegar spray. And **gasp** Ivermectin horse paste. WE will continue the natural side of things (DE and the EO spray) and see if we can still conquer them once the nits hatch. UPDATE: It worked!!
last update 6/27/14
On goats we have used a neem oil solution that included an EO blend. NOTE: Neem oil is said to cause temporary sterility in males.
We used an olive oil based mixture with essential oils.
about 1/2 cup of olive oil
about 10 drops EACH of the following essential oils
Peppermint (only 5 drops)
Mix well and apply directly to the affected area(s). Once daily. If the scabby detris of mites is on the skin, allow to soften for a little bit after applying some oil. Rub off what detris you can and re-apply more oil. Treat for 5 days , give 2 days off and repeat sequence as long as needed.
last update 10/29/14
While we don't give much, and in most cases nothing, to newborns there are times I feel that they may need something. In those cases I will give them 1-2 drops of cayenne tincture and 1-2 drops of tinctured catnip. If needed I will give the cayenne dose a second time an hour or so later and the catnip tincture dose 4-6 hours later.
The tincture menstrum recommendation for using on newborns would be to use ACV for both the cayenne and the catnip tinctures. I still haven't gotten around to making an ACV based cayenne tincture but the ONLY way to tincture catnip in my opinion due to "drug interactions" is in the ACV.
The cayenne is used for an energy boost.
The catnip is a good appetite stimulant and source of selenium.
You could possibly also just use a finely ground powder of both the cayenne and the catnip and put them in the newborns mouth....I know many people do this with the cayenne in newborns.
First off I usually put about 2-3 tablespoons of molasses (check for unsulpured...you want the minerals and the high iron content on the label) into an old gallon jug and fill it with hot water.
A nice thing to have on hand also is a premade mix of cut/sifted and/or powdered herbs in a jar so all you do is add hot/boiling water to it while you make your mad dash out to watch the kidding take place. In a quart mason jar you can mix all or a combination of the following:
A handful of red raspberry leaves
1 tablespoon lobelia inflata
1 tablespoon alfalfa powder
2 tablespoons nettle leaves
1 teaspoon white willow bark
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 teaspoon powdered ginger (or add fresh root when you add the water if you have the time).
2 tablespoons dandelion leaf powder
1 tablespoon catnip
1 teaspon fennel seed (powdered)
Fill the jar almost to the top with very hot water. Shake a few times and allow to steep while kidding commences. I usually mix this quart jar (unstrained) in a water bucket with the gallon of molasses water for the doe. All but one so far guzzle it right down!
These herbs provide a variety of benefical actions for a new momma, including (but not limited to) increasing milk flow, energy, balancing blood pressure, added calcium and pain relief.
NOTE: Although the recipe is my own variation of a given recipe, the idea itself is not my own...thanks and credit should be given to a gal, Rachel, on the Facebook group TNG for the great idea of what she calls her "Mama Jars".
Great informaiton (and herbs) to have on hand if you have animals producing LARGE litters where you feel a boost won't hurt as well if you happen to have a new mother just not producing well as expected. However be sure to make sure there are not underlying reasons behind it....mastitis, uterine infection, genetics, etc. Some of the listed herbs should ONLY be given after kidding.
There are different ways to dose the above herbs, but making a tea and feeding the whole herb (cut and sifted or powdered) are the prefered. Teas are great because with some of the herbs (if tasty enough to the animal) it will increase the water intake which is also an important factor in milk production.
Allowing kid to nurse frequently (if not allowed to be on mom all the time) or hand milking frequently can also help stimulate and increase milk flow.
I was really excited to find a good use for......
We now save the ears on butcher days to be dehydrated and stored for treats.
I put them in the dehydrator at around 150* for about 3 hours. But I think they should start to be checked at two hours. A lot of the "dry time" will depend on how much of the meaty part you have on them.
We have gone through goat polio twice now. Once we believe was brought on by the stress of weaning (for a mother) and a slight food change. The other may have been caused by a chemical wormer we used.
The first case we treated conventionally with a dose of Thiamine from the vet and supplemented with additional B-complex doses. We started the b-complex as injection but after a day or two we went to administering it orally.
The second round of polio we went more natural. I have heard tha Spirulina is a great source of Thiamine (B1), but wasn't something we had on hand. Of course while the injectable form of a B-complex wouldn't be considered "all natural" we did include this with our treatment - approximately 5CC per dose. We also added a drench of the following: catnip and nettle infusion mixed with the following died herbs yellow dock, burdock root, slippery elm bark, yarrow, cayenne and garlic (fresh). We liquified the mix in some honey and ACV - just enough added with the catnip/nettle infusion to make the mix able to be drawn into a drenching syringe. We gave a 20cc syringe full for each dose. Acute dosing (which for polio is a must) would be about every 15 minutes for the first few hours then down to about every hour and after improvement is noticed then down to every few hours. Continue treatment a few days after symptoms seem to be over.
As of the writing of this we are currently using both chemical (on a VERY limited basis) and an all natural wormer called Land of Havilah Wormer (or LOH Wormer). You can purchase it already made from their website. She used to share her recipe but due to "theft" of her blend (I'm guessing somebody was mixing it to sell?) she no longer does. I also see she has changed her blend recently, but I will continue with the same mix I started with and as I learn more I hope to begin a mix of our own. We have been collecting many of our own herbs for this recipe, but have purchased many as well.
Pumpkin seeds (We put these into the blender and add a little ACV and liquefy the entire thing. Then spread the fine pulp onto a fruit leather tray of the dehydrator to dry. Peel up the dried mass and pulverize in the food processor - or magic bullet!)
Male Fern root
Black Walnut Hull powder
Oil of Oregano
If we ever have issues with Liver flukes we may add Myrrh as needed. (Do NOT use myrrh with pregnant animals or animals with possible uterine bleeding.)
When mixed we give our animals the following approximate doses in dried powder (and add raw honey, fresh garlic and some ACV make a mix of it unless otherwise specified):
Kids from about 1 week of age to about 8 weeks of age get a pinch of dry powder once a week.
Puppies from 2 weeks until 8 weeks get a pinch of dried powder once a week. Adult dogs at the time of this writing are still on chemical wormers.
Goats: 8 weeks of age to about 8 months get approximately 1/2-1 teaspoon dry powder in the mix while goats 8 months and over get approximately 1-1/2 to 2 teaspoons dry powder in the mix. (remember we do have large/fullsized goats)
Dogs: 8 weeks of age on up get approximately 1 teaspoon dry powder in the mix.
Pigs: Since we are unable to individually dose our pigs we mix approximately one tablespoon per pig into a smaller than normal feed ration. This way we hope that each pig will get AT LEAST the minimum dosage. (remember we have SMALL pigs that at the largest are weighing in at a maximum of 300#)
Horses(or other equines or camelids): NOTE: do NOT give black walnut to horses. We have not (as of yet) begun the herbal journey with our horses.
Rabbits: approximately 1/4 of a teaspoon. It is hard to sprinkle on food since we use the j-feeders on the side of the cage that have a "mesh" bottom. All the powder just fall through!! A dosage ball works best here.
Chickens: Mix approximately 1/4-1/2 teaspoon for each chicken in a mash they will eat quickly. I make sure that they have enough dishes so they all eat at the same time.
Frequency of dosing:
At the beginning dose twice a day for three days in a row (for adults or newly received young animals, animals born here start out as stated above). After that intial dose it goes to one dose given once a week. Then once a month (or sometimes every other month....yeah I know not the BEST way to keep us worm free) we go back to the twice a day for three days in a row.
NOTE: The orginal wormer recipe I found and used recommended different doses for different sized animals. I used that as a "guide" but found that many other herbal wormers have just a one size dose once the animals reach a certain age (approximately 8 weeks) so as of the writing of this we are working under that dosing.
Coccidiostats are substances which work against the form of protozoa, Coccidia. We have found issues in both our goat herd and our rabbitry.
Formula #1 (rabbits)
We had one batch of growouts exhibit the "classic" spotted liver indicative of coccidiosis in rabbits. We opted to give the entire rabbitry treatment.
Grapefruit seed extract 3-4 drops per 16oz waterer. I added slightly more to any cages that hold more than one rabbit.
Subsequent litters had clean livers. It of course could be coincidence and perhaps only the single cage of growouts were infected.
Formula #2 (goats)
When we were contacted by a customer that one of her goats developed coccida we decided to treat our herd. I can't say for sure if this treatment worked or not as we didn't have a noticeable issue prior to using it.
Oil of Oregano (2-3 drops)
cloves (1/2 tsp)
Olive oil or other carrier oil (1 tsp)
Mix the above as one dose (increase as needed to make multiple doses). We gave one dose per day to each goat 6 months of age and under. We gave it orally via a syringe.
last update: 10/30/14
In late 2014 we lost a rabbit to what we now believe to have been mucoid enteritis. When we had a second rabbit show the same signs, we needed to start a treatment plan.
The symptoms we observed were the following (not necessarily in this order): complete refusal of food, mucous in the feces, constipation, diarrhea, signs of pain (teeth grinding and odd laying positions) weight loss and dehydration.
We began treating as soon as we realized we had the same issue as the lost doe.
We used parts by volume once each was ground to a powder.
Fennel seed (for gas and bloating) 1 part
Slippery Elm 1 part
Peppermint leaves 1 part
White Willow bark (for pain) 1 part
Casca Sagrada tincture (as a laxative - you could use borage or chickweed herb in place of this ingredient) 1-2 drops per pint
Garlic (as an antibiotic) 1/2 part
Grapefruit seed extract (as a wormer) 2-3 drops per pint
Lemon Balm (as an antibacterial; for diarrhea; for bloating and gas) 1 part
The above were ground up as finely as possible then mixed with a little raw honey and a little raw apple cider vinegar and just enough water to make it easily drawn up into a needless syringe.
The rabbit was given approximately 3cc of this formula at least 3 times a day.
Additional things that could be added if you have on hand:
Plantain (for the gut in general)
This formula was made into an infusion and given in additon to the "solid" formula above.
Peppermint leaves (OR 2-3 drops of medicinal grade EO per pint) I used the EO in this situation as that was all I had available.
yarrow (leaves and flowers)
Equal parts of Yarrow and Peppermint were used to make a strong infusion and then once cooled down some, raw honey was added at the amount of approximately 1-2 tablespoons to a pint.
This formula was given at least three times a day and at least 3-5cc were given to help fight dehydration.
Supportive Formula #1B
I gave a dropper of water kefir once or twice daily. During my research I found a few places that recommended yogurt for replacing probiotics/good bacteria to the rabbit's gut. I also found a couple of places that said no dairy for rabbits. To be safe and not to cause more upset to the gut if the "no dairy for rabbits" was true, I went with the water kefir instead of milk kefir.
Supportive DIET CHANGE#1C
I want to add that we did do a diet change while this doe was sick. We continued to give fodder, but pulled any pellets and grains. Hay was given free choice and rolled oats were given. Comfrey leaves (dried or fresh) may be a good choice to get them eating again as it is a favorite and good for them.
NOTE: Mucoid enteritis CAN be caused by diet. If you follow our "feeding rabbits" page you will see we have been experimenting with different feeding programs. Since we have had a couple of instances of this now we have reduced the volume of grains in diet and worked to up the amount of fodder and made hay more readily available to all rabbits.
We had a barn cat who was having trouble urinating and was passing blood when she tried. We knew it was a UTI and treated it as such with 100% success.
Here is the formula we used to take care of the issue.
Cran-active (1 pill)
ACV (1 to 2 tsp)
Parsley (1 tsp powder)
Marshmallow root (1/2 tsp powder)
I first tried to dose this by drenching the cat with a syringe. Have you ever tried forcing something down a cat's throat? Not fun. I got about three good doses into her and changed tactics. Since wet food is recommended to help prevent UTI in cats (over kibble) I switched to that for awhile. I started adding the mixture to her food instead. That worked much better. Just make sure the food is a very stong smellin/tasting one. You may need to put the above mixture into two or three feedings to better mask the taste from your cat. We gave double the above dose every day for at least a week. Make sure your cat also has plenty of fresh water available. I specify fresh as that is more likely to get him/her to comsume large amounts of water.