could heal. Plus I have been pretty much blind in my right eye. Vision is returning, however, and I even wrestled a few goats the other day. I really appreciate my vision now having gone through cataract surgery on both eyes last winter and now this.
Below, I am reprinting an article that ran in the July Goat Rancher. For those that don't want to invest in a 60-gallon drum of apple cider vinegar, it's available at Kroger and health food stores. It's a lot more expensive that way but easy to get a sample. The brand name is Bragg's.
|Ron buys his apple cider vinegar in 60-gallon drums.|
|The vinegar is fed free-choice in rubber mineral feeders.|
Apple Cider Vinegar Works - Somehow
By Ron Polette
I have been using a hi-copper mineral mix for many years now from Wick’s
Livestock Nutrition, along with many other large goat ranchers around the Midwest, here on my large Kiko goat ranch in Missouri. I have always had
great luck with Mike Wichman’s mineral product. Feeding it free choice, and
mixed with salt, to my herds of goats and to my herd of Scottish Highland
Many generations of goats and cattle have flourished here consuming
this mineral mix for many years and my herd of goats almost always look
great. So when Mike contacted me all excited about his latest nutritional
find, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, made from whole apples, he
certainly got my attention. Apparently the health food stores around the
country have been selling this “juice” to humans for their consumption each
month by the tanker loads, touting the many health benefits to people, but
nobody, with maybe the exception of the Amish here and the Australians down
under, had really used this stuff on farm animals much.
So I decided to trust Mike again and try a barrel of the “juice”. Wow, that ended up being a smart decision.
Well, we got off to very slow start at first getting my Highland cattle
and especially my goats to drink the terrible smelling stuff, but once we
figured out how to train them to the cider they went right after it. The
cattle were the first to really catch on to the juice. We made the 50%
water/cider mix available for them in ground “bull” feeders and after a few
weeks they were visiting it and drinking a few ounces of it almost daily. I
would never have believed it until I witnessed them drinking it. They seem
to know that it is helping them somehow.
Then we noticed an amazing thing with our cows. After a month of regularly drinking this wonder juice, the cows barely had a fly on them. They were
almost completely fly free, and they looked great! How could this be? No
constant jumping and tail swishing from millions of flies. Then another
discovery. The cows manure had very small pieces of stems in it. They were
digesting their food much more completely than before the juice. I began
telling my friends that a chicken would starve to death following behind my
Then after finding that their consumption of food went down and their
body scores went up, I decided to really put this stuff to the test. What we
did this last winter was really something to see. We did not feed the cow
herd anything out of a bag. No grain, no cubes, just free choice minerals,
free choice vinegar, spring water, and round bales of grass hay. They made
it through an extremely harsh Missouri winter, without shelter, with minimal
pasture, and with new fall calves on six of them without a hitch. The cider
had improved their digestion efficiency and in effect supercharged their
digestion of the hay and what little grass they could find in their small
paddock. Their manure from the big bales of hay looked just like it did in
the Spring and Summer. Almost no stems over 1/4 inch. I was really impressed
Mike explained to me what some other Ranchers and Farmers had been using the juice for. He has a couple of customers that raise chickens and they are
reporting much improved feed conversions, greatly improved egg production,
and improved meat tenderness, when the juice is added to their feed or
water. They won’t be without the cider anymore. He has a bunch of dairy cow
customers that report when they feed the juice in the cow’s feed ration they
save about 10% of their feed for the same amount of milk. I’m sure they don’t want to be without this cider anymore either. Also they say that bloat was
almost completely eliminated when they started feeding this vinegar.
Then there are the folks in Australia that drench 20 CCs of the vinegar
mixed with water to their wool sheep and claim it raises the quality of the
wool, which means more money in their pockets, and they claim to save enough
feed to more than pay for the vinegar and the other health benefits are a
Then Spring progressed and goat kidding started up here full swing. Even
though we specialize in Kikos, there are always a few problems with the
crosses and other goats that we pick up here and there when purchasing herds
or groups of goats through the year.
We had our normal share of bottle baby makers that would soon become culls, and of course a few does with the dreaded mastitis that would also be culled. We had put these problem does in with some other nannies that had new kids with them next to one of our barns, so in case of extreme weather we could grab the kids and put them inside.
Since I had to supply water there, I started adding some vinegar to
their water and it gave me a chance to see how much the nanny goats liked
the stuff and how much was needed. I have two, 20 gallon water tanks, side by
side in that small barn paddock. One of the tanks I filled with clean water
only, and in the other tank I added two cups of vinegar. To my surprise they
drank the vinegar water first. Somehow they knew it was good for them. I
kept trying different amounts each time I filled their water supply and
ended up only using one cup to “treat” 20 gallons, but then I added vinegar to
all the water tanks when they got filled. No algae would grow in the tanks
Later when we got ready to go to the sale barn to get rid of the
problem nannies and those with mastitis, we were shocked to find that those
does that had rock hard udders and could not feed their kids earlier had
almost completely recovered in just six weeks. Again we were impressed. This
was a huge find for us. Mike later explained that in the Dairy cow industry
they watch somatic cell counts, which are the numbers of white corpuscles,
and that after a month of consuming this vinegar, that these counts go down.
I am not about to pretend that I know what he is talking about, but I do
know what is working with my goats and my cows and I know the results that I
We had also noticed that the does raising new kids seemed to have
an exceptional amount of milk too. So after this discovery I was completely
impressed with this juice, and I thought it was time to have another talk
with Mike about this stuff and discuss more about what he had learned from
other producers that had purchased some from him. What we have found is that
the unpasteurized apple cider vinegar made from whole apples appears to have
MUCH better health benefits when compared to those vinegars made from
spoiled apple sauce products.
This vinegar has malic acid in it, which I’m told acts as a blood purifier, and is mostly acetic acid, that I’m told helps ruminants supercharge their digestion efficiency. Not to mention the other natural enzymes and trace minerals occurring in vinegar that probably also help with digestion.
Anemia is helped because the juice seems to help
ruminants utilize iron better. Perhaps because it has colloidal copper in it
and digestion efficiency is increased. In long-term studies on herds of
cows, many benefits have been observed, e.g., lack of mastitis, itchy skin,
influenza, respiratory diseases, easier freshening (whelping), lack of
eclampsia, and cramping after delivery of calves.
Well I’m not sure about all this, and I’m not pretending to be an expert in
nutrition, but I know what I witnessed and continue to witness. This juice
is doing wonders for my critters and helping me cut costs.
We recently had a serious bout with Dermatitis (we think) spread through
our goat herds. At first we thought it was mange because there were many
goats that were losing patches of hair, and little kids with bumps all over
their noses and ears. Scales that looked like severe dandruff were very
common. Some of the kids faces and ears where just terrible looking.
My guess was that it might have been caused by all the constant rain, every other day, week after week for months, here in Missouri. With a couple of
tornadoes and flash flooding all over that had made for the perfect
environment for both skin fungus and very wet feet, which could soon become
foot scald on many but the best of my Kikos.
So I decided that for what little it would cost, I would drench the infected animals with vinegar. I figured if it improved the skin and hair of sheep, it would sure not hurt to try it on what looked like bad dandruff in the goats.
WOW, two days later the entire herd’s skin problems were cured and almost completely cleared up. Now I was super impressed. I’m not sure if the juice changed the PH of the goats skin, or if the malic acid in the juice purified
the blood and that got rid of the fungus and/or infections. Whatever the
reason, it had worked great! I had only used a couple two liter bottles of
this juice to treat all my goats and the cost was pitifully low. I’m buying
this stuff for around $5 per gallon. We used 20 CCs for adult goats, with
doses going all the way down to 1 CC for nursing kids. This is fantastic
stuff! I really started to think that all the other goat ranchers out there
needed to hear about this wonderful juice, and asked Terry Hankins to spread
the word about it in his Goat Rancher.
Now Mike Wichman is telling me that he believes this vinegar, coupled with a mineral mix of copper, and iodine, in the right combination and amounts,
could have a huge impact on intestinal worms, and that I should not need to
deworm nearly as much as I normally would need to in my large commercial
Well, I’m from the Show Me State. But after all I have learned about this
juice and the cures and benefits that I have personally seen, added to the
fact that his minerals also work so well, I don’t think I would be surprised
any more, and I’m determined to find out if it works.
I have spoke to a few “experts”, both Vets and PHDs, about this vinegar and they tell me that there is no research to back up these claims, and no good
reason for it to work so well. Experts also stated years ago that the
hi-copper cattle mineral mix would kill my goats too. That did not happen
Most of us commercial goat ranchers have figured out that most of
the products that work on or for goats are “off label” use. So I’m not
surprised, and I don’t really care much about research in this area because
research is rarely done on natural cures and preventions for goats, and
almost entirely funded by chemical, drug, or feed companies. They sure won’t
make a bunch of money selling vinegar, so I sure don’t think the research
will be done.
As for me, I’m completely sold on this apple cider vinegar
for my goats and my cows. I want to save money on feed, medicines and
dewormers, and I have seen it work, despite the fact that nobody seems to
know why it works.
I told Mike Wichman, “I’m from Missouri, show me,” and with much improved animal health and efficiencies, the juice did!
I suppose I better make a disclaimer now about this story and make it clear to all that I am not a vet, a doctor, or an expert in animal nutrition, and I’m not suggesting that anybody do what I have done or use this vinegar the way I
have. If anybody wants to experiment like I have, they should do so at their
own risk. I’m simply explaining what happened when I used this stuff on my
farm, and what my opinion about it is. Happy Trails!
Arcadia Valley Goats
Ironton, Mo. 63650
Wick’s Livestock Nutrition
208 East 5th Street
Atkinson, Ne 68713