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Week One. Animal Nutrition

Sub topic 1

Meaning and classes of animal feeds

Animal nutrition refers to the components of feed, their actions, interactions, and balance in relation to the well-being of animals. Nutrition is further defined as the science that involves various chemical and physiological activities which transform nutrients into body elements. Nutrition involves the ingestion, digestion, and absorption of various nutrients, their transportation to all body cells, and the removal of the waste products of metabolism.

General functions of feed to farm animals

Feed is any food substance which when fed to animals is capable of providing some of the nutrients necessary for the upkeep to that animal. Food is the major requirement of the body for substance and maintenance of all physiological, anatomical, and pathological functioning. When food is lacking the body becomes lifeless. Hence the study of food is very important. Food given to livestock is called feed.

The feed is needed for (a) energy, growth repair of worn-out tissues, and general good health of the animals.

Feeds are important to animals in the following ways

  1. They supply energy to the animal body
  2. They provide the body with nutrients for growth
  3. They help with the replacement of tissues and build new tissues.
  4. They are essential in the production of milk, eggs, meat, and fats.
  5. They help in temperature regulation.
  6. They help in maintaining body activities like respiration, and blood circulation.
  7. Feeds make the animal body resistant to diseases.
  8. Feeds are important in the production of hairs, skeleton, and muscles.

Factors that determine the nutrient requirement of a farm animal.

The level of nutrient or nutritional requirement of animals depends on the following factors

  1. Age of the animal – young grower
  2. Class of animal – egg producer, ruminant or non-ruminant, meat animal
  3. Body weight
  4. Level of production(gestation, lactation)
  5. Purpose of production
  6. Availability of feedstuff.

Reasons for feeding farm animals.

Feeds are fed to farm animals for the following purposes.

  • To provide necessary elements for repairing the wear and tear of the body to provide raw material for synthesis of body source in growth.
  • To serve as a source of energy for vital processes in the body e.g growth, work, reproduction, respiration digestion etc.
  • For generating heat necessary for maintaining body temperature.

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