Baking Soda… for Goats?

baking soda for goats

We homesteaders sure do love our baking soda, don’t we? I think it’s really only second to vinegar when it comes to being one of my favorite all-purpose ingredients.

From carpet cleaning and deodorizing, to de-skunking dogs, to scouring and cooking, you won’t be sorry if you keep a big ol’ bag in your pantry.

And I’ve found another use for it: feeding it to my goats!

I’ve actually found that many goat breeders offer free-choice baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) to their goat herd.

Why is it Effective?


The most popular consensus seems to be that the baking soda keeps the goat’s digestive system functioning properly by balancing the acid in the rumen. 

The micro-organisms that live in the rumen need a steady level of acidity. Levels that are too high or too low can result in various issues.

It is thought that a stable digestive tract also encourages better digestion overall– and a decreased chance of bloat.

I also found several websites stating that baking soda can help with stabilizing a goat’s urine acidity. However, most goat owners seem to feed it with its digestive benefits in mind.

For those of you who are research gurus– No, I haven’t run across any hardcore clinical studies that have been performed on the efficacy of feeding baking soda to goats… sorry.

However, I think this is something that falls into the “can’t hurt, might help” category. So therefore, it’s a preventative measure that I feel is worthwhile for my homestead.

baking soda

(photo credit: neilwill)

How to Feed Baking Soda to Your Goats

I would suggest buying your baking soda in bulk anyway, but especially if you are going to be feeding it to your animals. Amazon has a 13.5 pound bag right now for $19.07 (plus free shipping.) Sometimes places like Costco also have it priced in bulk.

Simply offer it to you goats- free-choice- in a small container, just as you would your salt and minerals. There is no need to mix it into their feed. Just allow them to “self-dose” when they feel the need.

Refresh and refill the container as the soda becomes old or dirty.

When I’ve offered it to my girls, they always seem to be very interested in it at first, and then become less interested as time progresses. My biggest problem with the baking soda has been keeping them from knocking the little feeder off of the fence, or pooping in it… But that’s a goat for ya. 😉

Do you provide baking soda for your goats? Have you noticed that any health problems have improved with it’s addition to your feeding regime?

Ready for more goat info? Head over to the Goat 101/Home Dairy page—->

This post shared at: Frugally Sustainable



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  1. chasindreams says

    We use baking soda, I mix it lightly in their grain. Apple cider vinegar is good also, exspecially bucks.

  2. basicliving says

    I offer baking soda free choice for my goats – and I sprinkle a pinch in their feed each evening. I lost one to bloat…. and never got over it. I use baking soda as a little insurance.

  3. Mountain Home Quilts says

    I guess I'd never thought of baking soda like that! Thanks for this post. A lady from our co-op purchased a 25lb bag of it last month and I wondered, "What on earth is she going to do with 25lbs of baking soda??!!" Now I know. :)

  4. Kendra at New Life On A Homestead says

    Hey, that's good to know! We'll be trying our hand at dairy goats again soon, and I definitely could use any preventative care I can get! Thanks :)

    • Erin says

      Oh that is so awesome! I love reading your thoughts, Ms Kendra!!! We are getting some goats next year, too!!! And, hey, anything to add to “our list of things to use baking soda for” is a plus!!!! LOL! Blessings!

  5. CAE says

    I have offered it free choice to my goats for years. Don't forget mineral and salt blocks too! They also love black sunflower seeds, which is great for their coats.

  6. Jill of all Trades says

    Wow! I'm a city girl now but I dream of having a little farmette someday. I will add this to my files.

  7. Wild Wings Art Studio & Homestead says

    Thanks for sharring about the baking soda, I had know idea, I deffinatly will be using it from now on. I did some more research and found a site that showed PVC Pipe Plans to make mineral feeders.

  8. sherry says

    WOW! Thanks, just bought my first goat. Need all the help I can get. Also, just found your site. Love it. Thanks, will continue to visit.

    • says

      Goats really need to have a companion as they are herd animals and do not feel safe alone. We got two little cousins that were the same age as our first and just laughed endlessly from all of their antics with each other so having more than one is really really fun too.
      Good luck with the new experience! I have had dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, and by far goats are my favorite!!!

  9. kristina says

    I like the idea of baking soda, but I see that you do all organic and that you mentioned that you buy your b.soda at SAMs, however do you purchase organic baking soda since all other brands are all processed with a high amount of aluminum? Organic is not however. Just wondering

    • Jill says

      Hi Kristina,
      From the research I’ve done, baking soda doesn’t have aluminum- it’s the baking powder that does. So, I feel fine feeding non-organic baking soda to my goats.

  10. Fiona says

    I never thought of using baking soda for a preventative – I had ocassion to use it in a heavy duty liquid brew for 4 goats that had eaten something poisonous and were getting ready to die. Forced down their throats with a syringe over a couple of days and they changed their minds about it, decided to live and never looked back. I thought for sure I was going to lose the first one and was sceptical about the effectiveness of the cure, but now I am a believer :-)
    Thanks for the tip. I also use cider vinegar for my sheep and goats and sometimes add garlic and manuka honey.

  11. Deanna says

    Well I remember my Grandmother use to put baking soda in beans and other gas and bloat causing foods, and I know apple cider vinegar is good for alot of things to, so I give it to our goats, sheep, and horses, use to give it to the chickens to, they all died off except one female ( they were all about 9 years old). Our chicks will be six weeks old Tuesday, and I will start giving them a little applecider vinegar too soon. On the baking soda I think its all in the company who makes it as when any product.

  12. Georgia says

    I’m headed to the goat pin now … Didn’t realize they could die from bloat … yikes. I just bought 4 goats and they have been getting into grain leaking from a silo on the farm. They were definitely bloated today !

  13. Jennifer says

    I have been mixing my baking soda with DE which is a natural wormer and i feed it free feed. they love it! I have heard that baking soda will make the goats milk taste sweeter but i have not noticed a difference. I to did not know about baking soda when i got my first goats. I now buy a ton of it at walmart for 49 cents each. People look at me funny when i buy 8-10 at a time lol with 14 goats, i go thro a lot.

  14. patti says

    Just found your website today and loving it! THANKS.

    I am a fairly new goat owner. I have five about 10 months old now.

    Please tell me what DE is and where I can purchase it.

    • Jill says

      DE is diatomaceous earth. It is basically the remains of fossilized diatoms (algae) and is thought to be great as a natural dewormer. I buy mine from Azure Standard, but there are probably other places to buy online– try a google search. Just make sure you get the food grade stuff- NOT the kind using for pool filtration. Hope that helps!

  15. says

    Hi Jill,
    Stopping at the store on my way home this afternoon to buy some baking soda. 3 of our 6 goats will be delivering in about 3 weeks. Good to feed baking soda to pregnant goats?

  16. says

    If an animal’s chemistry is too acidic, the deficiency is not baking soda, but calcium. Carbonized lime, soft rock phosphate, and kelp (thorvin) should be offered free-choice to all grazing animals. This practice builds bones, maintains all kinds of health, and prevents mineral deficiencies leading to spontaneous abortions. A good resource for information on this practice is found in Joel Salatin’s books as well as others from Acres USA.

  17. Joanna says

    How much DE do you mix with the baking soda for your goats? Can you use the DE with Shetland ponies as well?

  18. says

    Hi Jill, I am just getting into goats. My first was a gift from a friend. He is a pygmy buck and he is so mean! Our second was also a gift. One of our neighbors raises Boars and he had several does to kid at the same time. He lost several does and was feeding 12 kids on his own. So we have a Boar Buckling. We had him banded. For my birthday, my husband gave me a small doe. She is said to be a year old and not sure what breed she is. She looks so very much like our Boar but is very much smaller.
    I love your site and look to it often for advise. I would like to go with Dairy Goats as I do not want to breed for meat at this time. We let ours graze in our woods all the time. We check on them often and so far so good. They all have collars and bells on them and when we call they come right to us. We are looking into getting a guardian animal to be with them. They go up into the pen at night. We live in a heavily forested area so there is lots for them to eat. Thanks for your site. I look forward to seeing more of your posts. I am going to try the baking soda.

      • says

        We used to have coyotes living around the property as we live on a river, and got a donkey to keep the goats safe. They do not do that well together so we keep them separated but the donkey has chased off all of the coyotes on the place and they have never come back.

    • DaLaina Burhans says

      Look into donkeys or even a mini donkey. They are great guards, for other animals and for children, and they are easy keepers. :0)

  19. Angeline says

    I have heard about bloating . I get very nervous about what to feed them becuse I don’t want the to get sick! PLEASE HELP.

  20. Aimee says

    I have been using the baking soda for a couple of years, and almost no bloat cases. Great article!

  21. Laurie Gilbertson says

    I can attest to the fact that Baking Soda should always be readily available. I lost a goat to bloat and it was horrible. I placed a small galvanized bucket inside of an old tire on the ground. And it never got knocked over. You can also use a stainless steel bowl the size of the tire. It works like a charm! Goats LOVE baking soda. When their tummies are upset, they will eat it. It is also a good indication if they are eating it, to watch them closer. If they are not eating it, that’s great! They will consume as needed! A great preventative measure to always offer. For two goats, 1 large bag from Costco lasted two months approx.

  22. Dancer says

    We have had a small herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats for quite a few years now and free feed baking soda and minerals always. It does help with gut and can definitely put a dent in any bloat problems. (We have never had any) Although we do sprinkle a bit of DE on there feed, I cannot find much in the way of info on just how well it works towards worms…except that we have not had any worm problems or had to worm any of our 15 goats for the last 3 years. We do have a closed herd so plan to keep it that way. I do fecals on our herd so have a good handle on there health.

    • says

      Yes- I’ve herd varying reports about DE too… I like to offer it sometimes as well- although mine don’t seem to really care for it. 😉

  23. says

    When you feed baking soda to your goat, are there some food that they shouldn’t eat? What else should they include in their diet if they eat baking soda? And is the goat in the photo yours? It looks cute and fluffy. :)

    • says

      No- that’s not my goat– although I wish it was– sure is cute! (It’s a stock photo.) My goats get pasture in the summer, and grass hay in the winter. I don’t do much grain. And I also offer them free choice salt and minerals. :)

  24. Mary Beth says

    I buy baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) at our local feed store. I get a 50 lb bag and it is much cheaper. I can’t remember exactly what I paid but it was less than $20. My goats get it free choice and will eat it if they need it.

    • says

      Our local feed stores pretty much only sell processed feeds. :( We have feed mills about a hour away, I suppose I should call and see what they have.

  25. Stephanie says

    I have been a registered breeder of show and meat goats for 15 years. I am well versed in goat medicine as well. Baking soda is a good alternative to providing them with a quality goat block but I personally would not give them baking soda 100% of the time in lieu of a goat block. A good 20% goat block will provide the minerals, vitamins, as well as encourage them to eat it because of the molasses content. They need the goat block to form healthy fetuses, to aid in problem free kidding and to build healthy bodies and bone. Baking soda alone will not do this. (Particularly if you live in a selenium poor state) There is so much more to raising healthy goats than just feed and water, it is a hands-on job everyday. Bloat will kill an animal but the cause for bloat is eliminated by not overfeeding. Once in awhile you have the accidental overfeed from an escaped animal who gets into a grain bin that can’t be helped but if bloat is a continual problem then you have to look at the reasons for the bloat and eliminate those reasons. I have never had an animal bloat under normal conditions.

  26. Erin says

    Morning Jill!

    Yep, I do love my baking soda! I use it for everything! We are planning to get a couple of Nubian’s for our home dairying operation!!!!
    Next year! I can hardly wait! I for sure will use soda to supliment, we have lots of brushy land for them to gorge on & are a little nervous about bloat… My darling husband just told me (after a year of me hinting) that I could have his mini-barn / lean-to for our goats!!!! I love homesteading! We are newbies… we have only lived out in the country for a couple yrs, but it has become our dream! We have a good sized garden and can lots! My husband is a deer hunter, plus we built a chicken coop and our sweet laying hens are such a joy! They should be laying eggs in a few weeks!!! We have a couple of farm kids who just love it out here! We homeschool / no school / farm school (its a good combo!) I love to write and I always have a ton of ideas to share & I love taking pictures (I have a couple of very photogenic babes!) & I always have things to say! ( just ask all my friends and family!) You & a couple other favorite blogers of mine have inspired me into maybe starting a blog site…. a little intimidating….but I think I am up for it! Thanks for all you do! God bless ya tons & bunches!!!

    • says

      Thank you so much for your kind comment Erin! Sounds like you have a wonderful start to your homestead– keep up the great work and I hope you get your goats soon! :)

  27. Lori says

    Yikes! That is very expensive baking soda online!!! I buy my baking soda (marketed for goats!) in 50# bags for around $14.50 (this is with tax) from my local Mill. Many small towns have Mill stores that sell grain to farmers for planting, and also animal foods for animals (chicken ‘mash’, rabbit feed, cow feed, etc), including medicated feed for animals who are ill. They sell mineral and salt blocks, along with dog and cat food. My local mill is about a 10 minute drive and is in a smaller town down the road from me. It is the cheapest way to buy bulk baking soda and I use it for all kinds of things from homemade cleaning products (like homemade laundry soap and bathroom scrub) to deodorizing my fridge. Find a mill and buy your soda in 50# bags for less than $20.

    • says

      Yes– it is expensive. I used to buy my bags at Sam’s Club for much cheaper, but I have made the decision to no longer shot at Walmart or it’s stores, so now I don’t have very many options… The closest feed mill is over an hour away from us, but I still might check and see what they have.

      • Lori says

        If you are headed in that direction, make a pit stop and buy a couple of bags! You could always call them ahead of time to find out if they carry the 50# bags, cost, etc, then buy 2-3 bags to last you a few months. Make sure you store them in a dry place where they won’t get hard from humidity or water. I buy 3-4 bags per year, on average.

  28. Becca says

    Goats use baking soda when given “free-choice” just like people due to settle their stomach.
    Being a ruminant (4 stomachs) goats can suffer from acidosis from their diet – especially if they have a high protein (grain) diet, limited selection of roughage or their pasture contains too many things that are not good for them to eat in large amounts.
    Acidosis can cause serious side effect in ruminants. Ulcers – like with people; founder/laminitis like horses, and possible death.

  29. Heather says

    I don’t currently own any goats, but I am in a local goat group( Northwest Wyoming). One of our members is a veterinarian, and very knowledgable about goats. We are having some discussions, and the use of baking soda came up recently. Just for reference, here is the copied and pasted note she wrote us.
    “Britt Whitt
    Baking Soda: so since the initial post has many different topics on it I figured I would start a short one here regarding baking soda. It was mentioned earlier that one “can’t argue with chemistry” and that baking soda is a base most commonly fed free choice to goats for the reason of alkalizing the rumen. With that being said here’s my take on baking soda. Baking soda is a weak base, has a pH of approximately 9 to put that in perspective bananas are equally acidic on the other side of the scale. Nobody thinks of bananas being acidic but baking soda gets touted as being basic all the time.

    Physiology, not chemistry, is where the baking soda argument loses ground in my opinion. The rumen is a large vat that is by design alkaline to begin with, the “bugs” that live there need this environment and also help create it. All forages are alkaline, alfalfa is actually VERY alkaline, a goat’s saliva is alkaline as well and all of this makes the rumen a nice neutral to alkaline environment. Where problems arise is when ruminants are fed feed stuffs that make the rumen acidic, the easiest one that comes to mind is grain or concentrate feed of nearly any make. These are rapidly fermentable which causes a drop in pH to a more acidic environment, good bugs die producing more acidifying elements and the rumen suddenly becomes a toxic wasteland. If you have ever smelt rumen fluid from a ruminant with acute acidosis you know that nothing good is living in it! Back to the point, most goats aren’t going to consume more than a few tablespoons at best of baking soda in a day, that seems like a pretty good volume per weight until you consider that baking soda is going into gallons of fluid(average of 5 gallons for a goat) and it’s suddenly not very impressive.

    Bottom line: baking soda is not going to hurt goats(I would not feed it to wethers) but it’s value as a miracle cure for all things rumen related is not based in good physiology. It can be beneficial to young goats suffering from stomach upset generally due to a poorly developed rumen, also can be used in conjunction with other treatments for cases of acute rumen acidosis.

    Here is a link to an article I wrote that better explains rumen pH, how grains and grasses play into that and what the consequences chronic ruminal acidosis are.

    I have heard so many things both ways, but I like to hear all sides and make the best educated decision I can! Thanks so much for your amazing website! I love it, and partly because I am a Wyoming girl, born and bred and raising my family here!

  30. Karon Wurst says

    Me husband and I have just started a chicken business ( July 10, 2013 to be exact). We bought 300 day old chicks and are raising them to 8 weeks for butchering. We will not be doing the processing ourselves as my hands could not take the strain. In August and September we will be getting 300 more birds for each month, so we are very busy. I have raised chickens before but not the way we are doing these. I have a friend who is giving us advice on what to feed them, how much to feed them and how often to feed them. My husband is really enjoying the experience of feeding them. We have them in what is called “chicken tractors”, which are large cages set on the ground so they can scratch for bugs and worms and such as well as eat the green grass. I take care of the paperwork: mailings, flyers, budgeting for expenses, all the fun stuff. We are planning on busting our enterprise to 500 birds a month starting in April-September. Sound like fun? Will let you know next year.

    • says

      This is so awesome Karon! My husband and I have been tossing around the idea of doing something similar. I’ve been reading Joel Salatin’s “Pastured Poultry Profits” book, and his plan is very inspiring!

      • Karon Wurst says

        Yep read and still reading that book. He has some great ideas that we have been implementing. Of course it helps to have a friend who has already done this sort of thing for 13 years. We get to bounce ideas off her and she gives advice about our ideas. If I may ask, where do you live?

  31. Kristen E. Martin says

    I’m new to keeping goats. I have three triplets that I’m bottle-feeding. They currently eat hedge bushes, saw briers, honeysuckles, fallen leaves, Johnson grass, *all the greens goats seem to like*. I also offer them free-choice goat feed with calf manna pro in it. They get a tiny sprinkling of corn daily, very tiny. They also have water, duh, and they get a bottle twice daily. Anyway, I guess my point is, do I offer them the baking soda, and how’s the vinegar used? I already mix it in the chickens’ water. Thanks.

    • says

      You could definitely still offer them a small pan of baking soda. I don’t give much vinegar to my goats, but I know some folks like to put a splash of it in their water buckets sometimes. :)

  32. nicole says

    I don’t have goats (yet) but baby sat my friends goats for two weeks in the spring. She told me about the baking soda and I was a little surprised…She said she only gives it to them when they are bloaded…I think it makes sense tho to offer it to them to prevent bloading and support their digestion. ~nik~

  33. says

    There are studies regarding the use of sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda) in goats. Sodium bicarbonate does affect rumen pH, and has been shown to increase rumen pH (make it less acidic), although in at least one recent study, magnesium hydroxide was more effective than sodium bicarbonate, in regards to treating lactic acidosis in goats (Ullah et al, 2013).

    We offer our does free choice baking soda, and find that they lose interest after a few days. As soon as we put out fresh though, they will eat it. Large quantities in the barn, will, just like in your fridge, absorb odors (and no doubt flavors), so keeping it fresh is important. Small quantities put out often, rather than one large container full.

    One caveat for your readers though, as sodium bicarbonate is also a urinary alkalizer, and male goats with alkaline urine can be prone to forming uroliths (stones), is DON’T offer baking soda to your bucks or wethers unless directed to do so by your veterinarian. The boys very rarely benefit from consuming sodium bicarbonate, and it is likely to do them much more harm than good.

    • says

      Good to know– I ‘ll definitely have to check out that study. And also thanks for the info regarding male goats– I plan to add that to the post.

  34. Gabrielle says

    Okay, I KNOW she’s not a goat, but I have a dog who is Little Miss Tummy Trouble. I filled the dishwasher soap dispenser with baking soda today (yep, I ran out), and she ran over and started eating the baking soda! I shooed her away, but then I thought, “Hmm, maybe she SHOULD have baking soda.” I know dog stomachs are totally different from a goats, but I was wondering. What do you think? Let the dog have some baking soda?

  35. Emily says

    This totally makes sense to me because for the last year I’ve had terrible acne and I’m 32. It got worse than I ever had it as a teenager- it was so embarrassing and depressing. I started praying about it and finally gallbladder issues led me to desperately find some kind of relief for my stomach pain. My husband made me a concoction of 1/2 cup of water, 1/4 tsp of baking soda, 3 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar based on an internet search. It worked within 30 min. I kept taking it for about a week, maybe 3 times a day because I was afraid the pain would come back, and I didn’t want to risk a miscarriage (I’m pregnant now) though the acne started 7 months before the pregnancy. Within a few days my face cleared up to my amazement and utter joy!!! And I continue to take the baking soda concoction every so often because my stomach seems sensitive to coffee and greasy foods. I definitely want to do more research on this.

  36. Gaynor says

    Hi there..
    We have just got some boer goats (three mums with a kid each) and one of the mums, the five year old matriarch, seems to have some symptoms of bloat, but not all.
    She has a wide bloated appearance with the left side harder than the right but she shows no signs of discomfort or pain. Her stomach grumbles consistently and she eats, chews the cud and is very active and alert.. so is it bloat?
    Our paddocks are a lot greener than the ones they came from but the other goats aren’t showing the same physical signs as the five year old. They are all still feeding their kids, albeit not as much as the kids are a few months old now.
    I will put some bi-carb soda out tomorrow after reading your site and see if her tummy goes down a bit (how long should that take?) but wondered if you had any other advice..?

    • Sue M says

      Bloat in goats is very painful! My boers bellies are always grumbling! Not a sign of bloat. Many times a bloated goat will grind their teeth, bam their heads against walls, because of the pain. Bloat kills! A goat that is feeding well, roaming about with their kids, nursing their kids freely, IMHO, are not showing signs of bloat. A belly that is significantly larger on the left side ALONG WITH the other signs of pain would cause me greater concern.

  37. Tami says

    I read the comment about not feeding wethers baking soda. That scares me I am letting mine have it because they live with my girls and my bucks have their own. Anyone have problems with wethers using baking soda? I am going to follow your blog, good information I have 12 goats and been raising goats for 2 years.

    • mallory d says

      My little pygmy whether had to undergoe surgery at 3 months old to have a urinary blockage removed. Once they were in there they found many more stones in his bladder that had to be removed too. I had been giving him and his sister free choice baking soda because I was also worried about bloat. The vet suspects that while this wasnt the only factor it was very likely a contributing factor.
      This is my first year raising goats and I must say its been hard at times. There is a lot of conflicting literature out there and even veterinary advice needs to be taken carefully as its hard to find one that knows a lot about goats (some ive been to assume they can be treated as if they were sheep – not always true).
      But just to be on the safe side I no longer give the baking soda. I only feed a diet of grass hay and I make sure they don’t overdo it on pasture and so far ive never had any bloating.

  38. Sarah says

    I want to put baking soda out for my sheep to prevent bloat but my vet says it will hurt my dogs. Do you guys have dogs in with your goats/sheep?! I just don’t want to kill my dogs!!

  39. robin says

    I havent been able to start my goat farm yet but am trying to gather as much information before hand. If I give them the applecider vinegar and the vaking soda would I still need to vaccinate them?

  40. says

    Very interesting and informative. I have 13 goats and have 2 Great Pyrnees in the pasture with them. They are just pets to me. I really enjoy watching them and especially the young kids. They are so amusing. Thanks for your dedication in keeping up your blog.

  41. Jewell says

    My does dip into their free choice baking soda from time to time. I would never mix it with their feed because I don’t know as well as they do what their current digestive needs are. If your goats are pooping into the container, just raise it up above tail height and add a little rail for their front feet so they can prop their front ends up to eat.

  42. Davi says

    I don’t know if someone already commented this, but I get our baking soda from our local feed store. 50 pound bag for $18.75. When you go in though, call it sodium bicarbonate or they will laugh at you… Just sayin’. :)

  43. Frank Nichols says

    Amazon is one of my favorite places to shop, however, 13.5 lbs of Baking Soda for $19.00 is not a good deal. That is $1.40/lb – at our local Publics Market (not a cheap place to shop) it is $0.90/lb normally and the store brand is less. I think I have seen it at WalMart (store brand) for as low as $0.60/lb.

  44. mark says

    We just bought 3 dairy nannies, from a family that sold off their commercial herd and held back these 3 to start a new one but decided against it. Granular minerals, 16% dairy feed, freely available baking soda and a fantastic product called chaffhaye which is a hay substitute. They use cydectin to worm the goats, as DE is not known to be very effective and in this region of the midwest worms are a big big problem.