In this study the mineral composition of ash from fireplaces at rural homesteads was determined to establish if such ash could be a source of minerals to goats. The mineral composition of ash collected from homesteads in six different communal farming regions of South Africa was determined. The ash samples collected in the three northern regions of the country contained between 180 and 248 g Ca/kg dry ash, while those from the Eastern Cape Province contained low concentrations (8-45 g Ca/kg ash) and high concentrations of Si. It is concluded that wood was probably used as fire making material in the northern regions, while cattle manure was probably used in the Eastern Cape regions, though soil contamination could have contributed to the high Si concentrations. The concentration of the Fe and Zn in ash was high while that of the other elements in ash was relatively low and would probably contribute little to a goat’s diet, considering the proportion of ash in a total diet. It is concluded that in some regions of the country goats would be able to ingest a substantial proportion of Ca when scavenging on ash heaps or receiving ash as a dietary supplement, while in other regions this will not be the case.
"Experientia docet" - Experience is the best teacher