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Rations – meaning and types

Definition of ration:

Ration is the total amount of feed which is provided to an animal over a 24-hour period. It is the amount of feed taken an animal per day.

Diet: This is the quantity of feed consumed by an animal at a meal or period.

A balanced ration can be defined as feed containing all essential nutrients in the right quantity and adequate proportions for feeding animals.

Balanced ration is provided for the following reasons :

  1. Maintenance of body tissues
  2. Supply of energy
  3. Development of unborn fœtus
  4. To build up body reserves
  5. Provision of essential nutrients for growth.
  6. Lactation
  7. Egg production.

Types of Ration: Ration can be classified into:

  1. Maintenance ration
  2. Production ration.

Maintenance ration:

This a ration containing only sufficient that enables the animals to carry out normal life processes such as respiration, heartbeat , body movement and maintenance of good health without an increase or loss in weight. Such ration can be given to animals during rest period when they are not breeding. It can be given to non-lactating animals and unproductive culled egg laying birds so as to maintain their live weight until they are slaughtered or sold out.

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Production ration:

This is the ration given to farm animals which enables them to produce. It is a ration that supplies animals with nutrients in excess of those needed for maintenance

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This is given to nursing mothers from the time of parturition to the time the young ones are weaned. It is very rich in protein.


This is a special type of ration given to very young animals that have just been weaned. It is high in protein and ingredients that easily digest. Young animals are highly prone to emaciation, disease attack or death at weaning .They are therefore given a special ration called weaning ration to enable them recover from their natural source of food supply(breast feeding). The ration is made up of concentrates that are high in protein, vitamin and minerals.


It consists of a food quality ration that will enable the animal to maintain itself as well as provide nutrients for the developing foetus or foetuses.


Animals raised for meat production need a fattening ration for rapid growth and development. This should not be high in protein only but more juicy, taste better with lean meat.


This ration is given to pregnant animals for some weeks before parturition to enable them physiologically prepared for parturition and subsequent lactation.


This is the type of Ration that is given to breeding female animals with the aim of preparing them for breeding.

Flushing as the name implies involves giving special diet to the animals with the aim of increasing her fertility rate, by keeping the female animal at high nutritional level just before she is put to the male for servicing.

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Flushing increases the number of ova that is shed before or during mating when the female animal is on heat.


This is the feed given to the animals for growth which involves building up new tissues and increasing weight.


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