Skip to main content

Minerals, mastitis and miracle cures

Its funny that I have recently read two very different books that both focused on the importance of minerals for ongoing health.  The first book was Natural Cattle Care, by Pat Coleby, as recommended by Bel at Home Grown.  I was eager to read the book as Bella had mastitis at the time and I wanted to know the quick solution. The first few chapters are all about minerals in the soil.  I read them, thinking to myself "yeah, yeah, get on with the natural cattle care!", until I realised that was it.  Pat's theory is that if cattle have all their mineral, vitamin and protein needs met, they will be naturally healthy.  The interactions of the minerals is quite complex.  A deficiency in one mineral can cause a deficiency in another, so its hard to summarise, however the main points for me were:
  • Calcium and magnesium levels must be sufficient or cows will be susceptible to mastitis infection
  • Copper must be sufficient or cattle may suffer from worms
  • Sufficient sulphur will prevent external parasites (ticks and fleas)
  • Other trace elements are important for overall health
  • These minerals must be either in the soil (and therefore in the grass/plants eaten by the cattle) or supplemented in their feed.  I have organised for a soil test so that we can see what minerals are lacking and in the meantime we feed all the cattle a mineral mix, some extra sulphur for each of them and extra dolomite (calcium and magnesium) for Bella.
The second book I read was Norishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon, which again began with a discussion on the importance of minerals and vitamins, this time for human health.  At first I found the similarities a bit weird, but I suppose its no surprise that cattle have similar mineral needs to ourselves.  The premise of both books is that if cattle or humans are receiving sufficient nutrition (i.e. minerals, vitamins, proteins, fats etc) then we will all be in good health.  This is to say that we only get sick when our bodies are compromised in some way and more susceptible to infection (whether by bacteria, virus, parasites or cancer).  This means that they key to good health is not preventative chemicals, as we had been using on our cattle, such as drenches for worms and ticks, and antibiotics for mastitis infections.  If we balance the body's nutritional needs, it can fight infection/invasion without the need for chemicals.



This seems so simple, but it is not common practice.  Is that because the drug companies and agrochemical companies make so much money from letting us think that we need to take medicines to maintain our health?  Balancing our nutrition would be cheaper and easier and lead to long-term health rather than a dependency on drugs.

What do you think?

You might also be interested in my series on getting started with homestead dairy

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What to do with eight acres

Behind the scenes of my blog I can see the search terms that led people to find my blog.  It can be quite interesting to look through them occasionally and see what people are looking for.  Most of them involve chicken tractors, but another question that comes up regularly is “what can you do with eight acres?” or “how much land is eight acres?”.  Today I will try to answer this question.

Of course it is a very broad question, there are lots and lots of things you can do with eight acres, but I’m going to assume that you want to live there, feed your family and maybe make a little extra money.  I make that assumption because that’s what I know about, if you want to do something else with your eight acres, you will need to look somewhere else.

If you haven’t chosen your land yet, here a few things to look for.  Focus on the things you can’t change and try to choose the best property you can find in your price range.  Look for clean water in dams, bores or wells, either on the property …

Making tallow soap

For some reason I've always thought that making soap seemed too hard.  For a start the number of ingredients required was confusing and all the safety warnings about using the alkali put me off.  The worst part for me was that most of the ingredients had to be purchased, and some even imported (palm oil and coconut oil), which never seemed very self-sufficient.  I can definitely see the benefits of using homemade soap instead of mass produced soap (that often contains synthetic fragrance, colour, preservatives, and has had the glycerine removed), but it seemed to me that if I was going to buy all the ingredients I may as well just buy the soap and save myself all the hassle.  For the past several years I have bought homemade soap from various market stalls and websites, and that has suited me just fine.
Then we had the steer butchered at home and I saw just how much excess fat we had to dispose, it was nearly a wheel-barrow full, and that made me think about how we could use that…

Growing and eating chokos (chayotes)

Cooking chokos (not be confused with another post about cooking chooks) has been the subject of a few questions on my blog lately, so here's some more information for you.
Chokos - also known as Chayote, christophene or christophine, cho-cho, mirliton or merleton, chuchu, Cidra, Guatila, Centinarja, Pipinola, pear squash, vegetable pear, chouchoute, güisquil, Labu Siam, Ishkus or Chowchow, Pataste, Tayota, Sayote - is a vine belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, along with pumpkins, squash and melons, with the botanical name Sechium edule.


The choko contains a large seed, like a mango, but if you pick them small enough it is soft enough to eat.  If you leave the choko for long enough it will sprout from one end and start to grow a vine.  To grow the choko, just plant the sprouted choko and give the vine a structure to climb over.  In summer, the vine will produce tiny flowers that will eventually swell into choko fruit.  The vine doesn't like hot dry weather.  And it doesn&#…