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B85 Animal Nutrition
- The Six Major Classes of Nutrients
- Feed additives
- Many health, reproductive and production problems can be prevented with good
- Poor nutrition results in:
- Poor conception rates
- Lower calf crop
- Poor weaning weights
- Difficult births
- Higher feed bills because of over feeding
- More infectious disease due to decreased immune system protection
- There are only two sources where an animal can obtain energy.
- One is from the food it ingests.
- The other is from the energy stored in its body in the form of fat.
- A lot of research has gone into the development of feeds that give animals
exactly what they need to remain healthy and to perform at their peak.
- As animals grow and mature, their nutritional needs change.
- Younger animals need diets high in protein.
- As the animal matures, the animal needs a diet higher in carbohydrates.
- Breeding animal's nutritional needs change according to their production cycle.
|Stage of Production
- Calving to breeding
- Breeding to weaning
- Mid Gestation
- Late Gestation
Six Major Classes of Nutrients
- Water is the cheapest nutrient. It provides the basis for all fluid in the
- Water is used in the blood supply.
- Digestion requires moisture for the breakdown of nutrients.
- Water is needed in the movement of feed through the digestive track and in
flushing the animal's body of waste.
- Water is needed to produce milk.
- It helps regulate the animal's body temperature.
- Over 80% of the animal's body is composed of water.
- A loss of 20% will result in death of the animal.
- Animals generally need about 3 pounds of water for every pound of solid feed
- The average cow will consume 12 gallons of water per day.
- Some water comes in the feed itself, such as in succulent green pasture forages
- Animal's water needs change.
- A horse working hard in hot weather will need more water intake to replenish
- A animal that is lactating requires a lot more water to produce milk for its
- Protein can make up 15-16 percent of an animal's diet, and usually is the most
costly part of a ration.
- Protein is composed of compounds called amino acids.
- Amino Acids are used to build muscle, skin, hair, bones, and body tissues.
- All of the enzymes and many hormones in the bodies of animals are composed
- As is the case with water, some animals need more protein in their diets than do others.
- Young rapidly growing animals need more protein than do mature animals.
- A cow that is giving large amounts of milk needs more protein than an animal
that is not lactating.
- There are over 20 different types of amino acids.
- There are ten that are essential that the animal must obtain from its feed.
Essential Amino Acids
- Animals may not be able to digest all of the protein in a particular feed.
- The total amount of protein in a feed is called the crude protein.
- Crude protein is calculated by analyzing the nitrogen content and multiplying
that percentage by 6.25.
- Digestible protein is the protein that can be digested in the feed and used
by the animal.
- Digestible protein is usually abut 50% Ė80% of the crude protein.
- Protein content varies, depending on the type of feed.
- Corn has about 8% protein. A growing pig needs about 16% protein. Corn alone
will not give the pig an adequate amount of protein to sustain growth.
- Carnivores like dogs and cats get almost all of their protein from meat.
Balancing Protein in a Ration
- Modern livestock operations no longer just balance a feed ration based on
the percent of protein.
- Now the feed formulas are based on the types and amounts of amino acids that
are needed by a particular group of animals.
- The process of balancing feed rations based on amino acid contents is so complicated
that it is done by computers.
- Two types of feed may have the same percentage of protein but have different
percentages of the essential amino acids.
- A different amino acid is needed for growth than is needed for milk production.
- The main source of energy from animals comes from carbohydrates.
- Carbohydrates are compounds made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen.
- They include sugars, starches and cellulose.
- Carbohydrates come from plants. By weight, plants are composed of about 75% carbohydrates. (Primarily cellulose which makes up the cell walls of plants.)
- Starch is generally found in grain. It is used by the plant as energy storage
for the seed.
- Starches are composed of sugars, and as digestion occurs, the starch is broken
down into sugar.
- Sugars fall into two categories:
- Monosaccharides or simple sugars.
- Disaccharides or complex sugars.
- Simple or complex refers to the chemical composition of the sugar and the
different ways the molecules are formed.
- Glucose is the most simple of all sugars and is found in a low concentration in
plant materials. It is also the major energy source found in an animal's blood.
The animal's body breaks down some of the other sugars into glucose.
- Fructose is found in fruits and honey and is the sweetest of all the sugars.
- Common table sugar (sucrose ) is a disaccharide composed of fructose and glucose.
- Lactose is milk sugar.
- Cellulose is the portion of cell walls that gives the plant its rigid structure.
The enzymes in an animal's digestive system cannot break down cellulose. However,
some animals have microorganisms in their digestive system that break down the
cellulose fiber so the enzymes can digest the material.
- Fiber is important in maintaining good health and proper rumen function.
Sources of Carbohydrates
- The most important source of carbohydrates for animals is grain.
- Grain is also known as concentrates because of the high concentration of carbohydrates
which are high in energy.
- Forages fed to animals are called roughages because of the amount of fiber
in the diet. Roughages are generally low in net energy.
- Fats are part of a group of organic compounds known as lipids.
- These compounds will not dissolve in water.
- Cholesterol is included in this category of organic compounds.
- Fats are found in both plants and animals.
- They contain about 2.25 times the energy of carbohydrates.
- They serve as concentrated storage places for excess energy.
- When the body does not take in enough energy to perform the normal functions
these reserves of fat are used.
- Certain acids referred to as essential fatty acids are also derived from fats.
- These acids are necessary for the production of some hormones.
- The most important sources of fats in feed for agriculture animals are the
grains that contain oil such as corn and soybeans.
- Minerals are the only group of nutrients that are inorganic.
- Although they provide only a small portion of the total feed intake, they are
- Bones are formed by a combination of calcium and phosphorus.
- Eggshells are mainly composed of calcium.
- Minerals aid in the construction of muscles, blood cells, internal organs
- Animals with a deficiency in minerals never develop properly and are more
susceptible to disease.
- Minerals are also divided up into two categories:
- Macro minerals: Required in larger amounts in the diet.
- Micro minerals or trace minerals: Required in very small amounts in the diet.
There are seven essential macro minerals:
There are nine essential micro minerals:
- Minerals make up 3-5% of the body.
- Of that 3-5%, calcium makes up one-half of the body's minerals.
- Phosphorus makes up about one-fourth of the body's minerals.
- Calcium and phosphorus make up the largest portion (75%) of the total mineral
content in the body.
- Minerals are often fed free choice. Animals are given free access to the minerals
and allowed to eat all they want.
- This is done in a mineral box or trough or by using salt blocks.
- Essential minerals are in the block and the animals take in the minerals as
they lick the block for salt.
- Vitamins are used in small amounts but are essential for life.
- They are used in the normal body processes of growth, production, and reproduction.
- They are vitally important in providing the animal with the ability to fight
stress, disease and maintain good health.
- There are 16 known vitamins.
- The B vitamins and vitamin C are water soluble.
- Fat soluble vitamins are A, D E, and K.
- Vitamin A It is not found in feed but is converted by the animals body from carotene
which is found in green leafy forages from pastures, hay and silage.
- Vitamin A can be stored in fats and the liver for many months and will be used when
forage quality is low.
- Supplementation is common for ruminants and swine.
Vitamin D & E
- Vitamins D and E are referred to as the sunshine vitamins.
- Both animals and plants use ultraviolet light to manufacture vitamin D.
- Animals in total confinement often receive supplements of vitamin D.
- Cereal grains and green forage supply vitamin E.
- Cattle donít need as much vitamin B because microorganisms in the stomach
of the cow make their own.
- They can also make some proteins if given the right kind of nitrogen.
- Thiamine is a coenzyme in energy metabolism. Sources include green forage,
well cured hays, and cereal grains. It is synthesized in the rumen.
- Riboflavin is important as a part of two coenzymes that function in energy
and protein metabolism. Riboflavin is added to swine rations and may be needed
in ruminant rations.
- Niacin is part of an enzyme system essential in the metabolism of fat, carbohydrates
and proteins. Niacin in grains is largely unavailable to non ruminants and supplementation
is often needed.
- Folic acid is needed in body cell metabolism.
- B12 functions as a coenzyme in several metabolic reactions and is an essential
part of red blood cell maturation. Most swine rations are supplemented with vitamin
- Vitamin C is essential in the formation of the protein collagen. Vitamin C
is found in citrus fruits, green leafy forages and well cured hays. Animals normally
can synthesize sufficient quantities to meet their needs.
- Antibiotics: disease prevention
- Coccidiostats: controls parasites
- Xanthophyll: makes egg yolks yellow
- Hormones: increases growth
- Tranquilizers: calms nerves (cattle, turkeys)
- Antioxidants: prevents feed from getting rancid
- Pellet Binders: keeps feed in pellet form
- Flavoring Agents: makes feed taste better