View Full Version : Feeding Copper Sulfate

13-03-08, 01:46 PM
can somebody tell me the pros and cons of feeding copper sulphate and also how you feed it? I've looked on the web but there wasnt anything helpful i could find


13-03-08, 02:02 PM
Hi Rowdy,
Cant help you, but Ive also heard its good to put in their water, to stop algae. Id like to hear thoughts on feeding it, and also putting it in the water too! :)

13-03-08, 02:07 PM
Hi, I would recommend the book Natural Horse Care from Pat Coleby often sold through Saddleworld shops. There are 5 pages written only about feeding copper sulfate.
Its a very good book, also try the webpage www.countrypark.com.au and search. You might find something there as well. Good luck, horse1chester

13-03-08, 02:10 PM
Bung a length of copper pipe in the trough to stop algae as well..

Forget who said that, but awesome tip.

13-03-08, 05:28 PM
The bottom line is don't do it!!! Feeding copper sulphate to animals at the 'recommended rate' has killed more than one or two alpacas that I know of.
This from Peter Huntington of KER -

"The current practice of adding copper sulphate is dangerous and likely to be ineffective as a means of getting copper into the horse. Copper sulphate can be irritant to the horse's mouth and the daily copper requirement will be fulfilled by less than a gram of copper sulphate. It is difficult to accurately feed that small a quantity, let alone know if the horse eats it. Often copper deficiencies are matched by zinc, manganese, iodine and selenium as well. Use copper sulphate in the water to control algae, but stick to the proven methods to supplement a deficient diet"

I don't know about the copper pipe in the water but try gold fish - they work a treat!!

13-03-08, 08:32 PM
Hi Gem
we use a copper colbolt block and it also has zinc, manganese, iodine and other salts,
we find it great and the horses only touch it if they need it.
about $20.

for the love of the horse
Just Keep It Simple

13-03-08, 10:32 PM
If you have dark coloured horses, a copper deficiency can be detected if their coat has a light red look about it. With cattle they get a light red ring around their eyes.

I feed copper from time to time, only because I know that we live in a copper deficient area.

I've never had a problem with feeding it.

13-03-08, 11:36 PM
Why on earth would anyone want to feed their horse/s a toxic, caustic substance?

If a horse is deficient in copper, then get a safe supplement.
Blocks are made for automatic filling water troughs. Otherwise just clean them.

I cannot see how feeding a horse with copper sulphate is 'natural'. If the horse has a worm burden, get a drench.

14-03-08, 12:13 AM
I have always been told that it is an old myth and we should never feed Copper Sulfate to horses...

I use gold fish, I buy these cute little babies and now have some whoppers... They work a treat... And you can always bring them into the house when you want to do a gold fish thing and when you get bored with them, back to the trough they go :-)

14-03-08, 01:08 AM
Haha Ive never heard of using goldfish!! :)
The horses dont try and eat them and wonder what the hell is swimming around in their water?!

14-03-08, 01:57 AM
I think salt in the water trough discourages algae - I only use 'bluestone' for proud flesh but do use a mineral/trace elemant/supplement

14-03-08, 02:00 AM
:-) Puddles the fish are just awesome...

You don't have to feed them, they just eat the algae...

My horses don't care about them :-) Self waters are what scares new horses that are not used to them...

Gold fish in your horses water are Clayton pets :-)

I put something in the bottom so the fish can hide, so they don't get eaten by the birds.... :-)

14-03-08, 02:28 AM
We have about 50 taddies in one of our troughs at the moment, can't bear to get rid of them, cause everyone knows we need more frogs! But they dont seem to keep the trough very clean, so I've had to catch them (with the pasta strainer!), then put them in a bucket while I cleaned out the trough. Would have been pretty funny to watch!

14-03-08, 02:50 AM
They use goldfish in troughs quite a bit in the USA, for cleaning and also to help stop the water from freezing over, not sure how that works as my fish pond with gold fish in it freezes here in winter and our winters here are not as bad as in some parts of the US.
I have tried a small amount of copper sulphate in a cement water trough, it worked a tret but as I am unsure of the amounts to use as per the quantity of water I have ceased using it, my vet was going to find out more about it for me but I haven't heard back from her.
Many years ago when I was living in the SE of SA we used copper sulphate in our water troughs on the property I was working on, it always kept the cattle troughs good. there is also a copper ball we used to shoot down their throats, but this was a copper deficient area. Can't remember too much about it as time has faded the memory.


14-03-08, 03:11 AM
What do you mean by Clayton pets?

I might have to go get some goldfish then!!

14-03-08, 04:03 AM
useful for - resistance to disease, especially fungal, immune system, internal parasites, oestrus, anemia, seedy toe and much more.

I find it ironic that most companies use copper sulphate in their feed process but dont recommend it???

you must dissolve it in water at half teaspoon for pony level teaspoon for horse. it must be dissolved to render it non - caustic (no burning)

it must also be fed with dolomite (1 tablespoon) to render it non - toxic (not poisonous) but to date there is no toxic level of copper sulphate for horses, there is for every other animal hence the above statement of alpacas dead

If you are worried bout water it is safer to do the copper pipe and or bicarbonate soda to keep water clear, if you have wildlife and or sheep etc drinking from same water then bicarbs better as they are copper intolerant.

BE CAREFUL OF THE TANK BLOCKS they are made for 15000 litre tanks not bath tubs or less that only carry 100 litres or less, you can never break the block up enough to use it without harm.

14-03-08, 04:20 AM
Personally I think you should not be thinking of 'feeding copper sulphate', you are better of feeding natural minerals that include copper. Most minerals need other minerals to work properly in the body. Some minerals are needed in bigger quantities than others.

Pat Coleby does have some very good reading on this subject as do other organic/sustainable farming writers. There where also some other lively debates on copper in the archives of cyberhorse. Might be worth doing a search for them.

Oh, yes copper sulphate can be toxic, but so can table salt!!!

East Gippsland Hoof Care

14-03-08, 04:55 AM
Table salt hardens the arteries :-) Actually I have no idea, just have heard people say that :-)

Do you mean table salt given to horses ????


Clayton means pretend, I think...

I have heard people refer to non alcoholic drinks as a Clayton's drink, which does not contain alcohol...

So my reference to the fish as Clayton fish, was that you can have a pet fish in your troughs, without the fish really being a pet, unless of course you are like me and bring them into the house. I swap mine from my fish tank to my horse trough :-)

15-03-08, 10:35 AM
thank guys,
i wont feed it then. It just got suggested to me but as i couldnt find anything thought i'd put it out there :)
Gold fish eh? not a bad idea tho knowing my gelding he'd probably try and eat them or get scared of them and not use the trough lol
thanks all

15-03-08, 12:41 PM
I got 2 new pets today, well clayton pets lol!
I put 2 goldfish in my trough, lets see how well the little fishies do their jobs!

15-03-08, 01:46 PM
im with shaiarabs on this one
i find apple cider vinegar more likely to burn the mouth and i use half what shaiarabs recomends i also feed the dolarmite
in fact if you get a cold spell and your horses need something to warm them then dolarmite in a feed does the trick nicely
studies were done in america where a three month study was done on ponies... they tried to kill them with added copper.. after three months the ponies were in better condition than when the trial started ... as shaiarabs stated horses have a higher requirement for copper than any other species (like way way way higher )

i hope we all know that you dont add copper sulphate to metal water vessels ie metal bath

as i understand it you can tell if a horse has too little copper if the hair is curled and bleached at the ends

horse feed manufacturers and vets are only just now begining to understand the copper requirements of horses ... so expect the amount of copper to go up in your processed feeds

16-03-08, 01:48 AM
Most processed horse feeds have copper or copper sulphate listed as an ingrediant - but have not seen much listed on quantities.

Personally - I like to mix my own natural minerals to the recommended ratios and then let the horse help himself. This has worked for me for over 10 years. I also feed the same to my dogs and chooks - but in smaller amounts of course.

East Gippsland Hoof Care

16-03-08, 11:56 AM
If you are really worried about copper levels, get a vet to do FBE and U&Es, and get some property soil samples (see Pat Colby's book for details) then go from there, rather than just adding copper sulphate.

I have only known copper sulphate to be used in horses for two reasons -
a) keep water troughs clean (though too much isn't healthy); and
b) as a HIGHLY INEFFECTIVE wormer. And yes, I've seen horses get sick and die from worm burdens supposedly treated by CuSO4

though there may be others...