Reply To: Urinary Calculi

  • theholisticgoat

    September 10, 2023 at 9:10 am

    Many claim that a high alfalfa diet will lead to calcium carbonate stones in the urinary tract that cause UC. This does not appear to be confirmed in any data and indeed, I have talked to many producers feeding only alfalfa as a hay ration who have not had issues with calcium UC.

    My own personal experience: I have fed alfalfa as the only hay ration to my goats for over 15 years. For 8 of those years, they were on a dry lot eating nothing but alfalfa. We have not had a case of UC.

    This study looked at causes and has an important breakdown on diet:

    Diet—The primary types of diet were recorded for 311 of 354 (88%) case goats. One hundred seven of the 311 (34%) goats were fed grass or kept on pasture, 74 (24%) were fed grass hay, 37 (12%) were fed alfalfa hay, 55 (18%) were fed commercial foods (type not specified on the submission forms), 26 (8%) were fed whole grains (eg, corn or wheat), and 12 (4%) were fed hay and pelleted grain mixture (pelleted grains blended with vitamins and minerals).” (Risk factors for calcium carbonate urolithiasis in goats:

    Please, please reply to this with any data you have that confirms the statement that alfalfa is the cause. Until such data emerges, I can only go with experiential knowledge and my experience tells me alfalfa is a safe, ideal hay source for all classes of goats.