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5 Amazing Facts About Animal Nutrition 

by Steven Brown

Forget about the basic nutritional requirements of animals. It’s high time we realize how nutrition classification works in animals and how it affects their lifestyle.  

To begin with, food ingested by animals gets absorbed, digested, and utilized to produce energy. However, not every component of the ingested food is digestible. Food components consumed by the body are referred to as nutrients, and the method of acquiring food required for their growth and health is called nutrition.  

Nutritional classes and sources 

There are 5 vast classes of nutrients starting with facts – protein, water, fats, carbs, and vitamins and minerals. Moreover, there are various sources of animal nutrition. When it comes to animals, concentrates and roughage are the primary nutritional sources. Talking about roughage, exemplified by specific grasses, silages and roughages are relatively rich in fiber and low in energy. Meanwhile, concentrates like grains are pretty high in energy and vice-versa.   

Water tends to constitute over one-half of an animal’s body. Also, it’s vital for every physiological process, like blood circulation, digestion, and waste elimination. More so, water is one of the mediums in which every nutrient is dissolved. As you might already know, water regulates body temperature through evaporation and perspiration. It’s essential to supply clean and fresh water to animals. On the other hand, protein is imperative for healthy growth, reproduction, and maintenance. It can either be of plant or animal origin.  

And it goes the same for carbs, fats, and other vital minerals that animals require to sustain a healthy lifestyle and growth. Regarding vitamins, they can either be fat-soluble or water-soluble. So, let’s delve deeper into the article and explore more nutritional facts.  

Desirable Nutritional Characteristics You Must Know 

  • The feed quantity must meet the minimum animal requirement and production 
  • Balanced nutrition is pivotal to growth. There should be a balanced and better mixture of vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients. 
  • The nutrition offered must be palatable. 
  • The feed must be fairly laxative to prevent constipation and other animal digestive issues. 
  • The mineral matter must be available in enough quantities. 
  • Regularity is essential when it comes to feeding timings. 
  • The feed must be provided in bulk amounts. 
  • Avoid changes in feeds. 
  • Ensure to have enough succulent green fodder as it’s nutritious, bulky in nature, and easily digestible. 

The feed nutrients 

The feed needs to meet certain requirements of an animal. Concerning cattle, it should contain a defined structure to keep their stomach healthy. Concurrently, for all the other animals, the feed nutrients must have the dry matter, minerals, a group of nutrients, trace elements, and minerals. Plus, it shouldn’t be moldy or have dirt and soil. It is also important to know that the matter must be free from poisonous ingredients, such as herbicides and pesticides found over crop residues.  

In general, animals should have a daily ration integrated with the following: 

  • They need a certain amount of energy to maintain their bodies, produce meat and milk, and work.  
  • Protein is required for growth and maintenance.  
  • Minerals build the body as well as regulate biological growth. 
  • Vitamins regulate the entire biological process. 

Energy Feeds

Speaking of energy feeds, it’s a basic fuel that happens to keep everybody functioning and operating. More so, milk production also needs tons of energy. If the energy in the ration is insufficient, animals will lose their body health. And, for milking cows, their milk yield will experience a significant drop. It’s the same for pregnant cows too. They will suffer from illnesses after calving. Moving on, fat cows at calving typically undergo challenging birth procedures and often induce challenges with displaced abomasum and retained placenta. 

Roughage is a bulky form of feed that produces a considerable amount of energy per unit volume, also referred to as straw or hay. They also have a higher moisture grass. Usually, feedstuffs with over 18% crude fiber and meager digestibility are roughages. Ruminating animals like goats, sheep, and cattle require a specific amount of crude fiber to have a healthy digestive system.  

Minerals 

Minerals are always needed in small batches but are quintessential components of any form of animal nutrition. Additionally, they are imperative for cows to stay healthy and have their bodies function adequately. Minerals also strengthen bones and promote successful milk production, reproduction, and eggs.  

Out of the 20 elements available in minerals, hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen are known as the non-mineral ones. The rest of the 16 are mineral elements that tend to function in animal nutrition.  Plus, of these seven are macro-mineral and 9 micro minerals. A few minerals can also be stored in the animal body where signs of deficiencies are demonstrated after an extended period of deficient feeding.    

Vitamins 

Since every vital is essential for livestock, only Vitamin A must be provided in ruminant feeding under several conditions. β-carotene or vitamin A can also be stored in body tissues and the liver during high intake and later utilized during low intake periods. 

On the other hand, vitamin B is synthesized in ruminants’ rumen. For other animals, it’s advantageous to include little amounts of feed from animal origin to produce vitamin B12 since it is only found in animal goods.   

Fiber requirements and Water 

Domestic livestock demand varying amounts of dietary fiber to sustain health and keep their digestive systems functional and healthy. When it comes to animal health, they should always have enough water and fibers to create an ecosystem where animals have high resistance. Water is a substantial compound for animals and plants. Not only can it regulate body temperatures, but also induce nutrient carriers and regulate tissue structures in cattle and other animals.  

The final word 

Animal nutrition consists of facts and figures that cannot go untouched. From segregating specific nutrient elements to lining every animal for their respective feed, we have to be cautious and diligent about what has to be offered to them.  

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