Daily weight gain, economic, nutritional and clinical aspects of goats receiving two types of mineral supplements were evaluated during 148 days in Seropédica county, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The animals were daily fed with fresh and chopped Andropogon gayanus or Pennisetum purpureum; the concentrate ration was formulated without a mineral mixture and was offered together with the forage of 300 up to 500 g/animal/day. Sixteen goats were divided into two groups of 8 animals each (4 small and 4 larger goats). For one group a commercial mineral mixture was used, and to the other group a selective mineral mixture containing only Na, P and Cu was offered. The animals were weighed every 30 days and the mineral supplement intake was measured monthly. Blood samples were collected at the beginning and the end of the experimental period. There was no difference in daily weight gain when the selective or commercial mixture was given for both groups. The selective mineral supplementation was 2.3 (for the smaller animals) and 3.9 (for larger animals) times more economic than the conventional supplementation with a "complete" mineral mix. The two groups showed recovery of hair quality and had an increase of hair pigmentation around the eyes, which was attributed to the correction of copper deficiency. In the larger animals the intake of both supplements increased the red blood cells counts, and the haematocrit and haemoglobin values. The forage intake was sufficient to meet the Ca and Co needs of the animals, and for P the concentrate intake was sufficient to overcome the demand for this element. The requirement of zinc was supplied through the forage and the concentrate ration. Thus, when an adequate concentrate and a good quality forage is given, only the deficient mineral element(s) should be supplemented. In this specific case only Na and Cu should be given. The result of this experiment confirms the hypothesis that selective mineral supplementation - i.e. supplementation of the mineral element(s) deficient in the diet - was correct and can result in reduction of the cost with the mineral supplementation of a herd.
Goats; copper deficiency; mineral supplementation; tropical forages