Agricultural Science – Classes of Livestock Feed

 Agricultural Science, JSS 1, Week 1

Topic: Feed and Feeding

The food given to farm animals is called feed. Farm animals, need feed for growth, repair of warm-out tissues energy and the general well being of the animals. All feed materials which are included in the animal ration or diet are referred to ad feeding stuffs.

Classification of Livestock Feed

Animal feeds can be grouped into:

Concentrates and Supplements: These are feeds for animals from which optimum production is expected, usually in a short time. They are good for poultry and pigs because of their high digestibility. They comprise of: 

  • Raw materials used in the manufacturing and supplements include grains, wheat middling, rice bran, brewers grain, groundnut cake, palm kernel cake, etc.
  • Molasses are also added as sweeteners.
  • Vitamins, minerals and drugs such as teramycin can also be added.
  • Some animal proteins (and bye products) such as fishmeal, bone meal and blood meal could be added to make a balanced ration.

Roughages: Roughages are fibrous food materials which are the basic components of ruminants’ food. Grasses and legumes are main roughages. They grow quickly during the rainy season, provide fodder, and can be used as raw material for hay and silage. The various grass and plant species used for grazing animals provide suitable food for livestock e.g. cattle, cow etc. Pasture and forage crops (roughages) exist in different forms such as hat, straw, soilage, silage.

  1. Straw:This refers to the aerial part of grass harvest fed crops cut and stored for future use. Straws are also the leftovers or vegetable remains after cereal crops have been harvested. Instead of leaving them on the farm to waste, they are collected and fed to animals.
  2. Soilage:This refers to the process of cutting fresh or silent grasses and legumes from the field and taking them to the animals in their pens.
  3. Silage:This refers to the preservation of green and succulent forage crops under anaerobic conditions.

Direct grazing of animals is the best way to feed them on roughages. However, the seasonal nature of rain makes it important to preserve roughages. Thus, it’s very profitable to preserve forage for use when it’s unavailable during the dry season. There are two major ways of preservation—hay and silage.

Hay: Grasses and legumes can be kept to be preserved for use at a later date. This is refers to the aerial part of a young and succulent grass or herbage cut and dried for feeding animals. There are mainly prepared for future use. To make hay, cut the plants in the early flowering stage, dry them, and bake them. Once baked, the hay is ready to be fed to the animals

Basal or Energy Feed / Carbohydrate Concentrates:They are very high carbohydrate fat but low in protein, vitamin and minerals. Basal feed is highly digestible but expensive because mom compete with animals for example of basal feeds are root, tubes crops, cereal crop e.g. cassava and potato, maize, rice, wheat etc.

Oil Seeds and Their By-Products:Legumes and oil products seed which are used in prepare livestock fed. Examples include groundnut cake, cowpea, palm kernel cake, cotton seed, meal; soya bean meal, etc. They are of high nutritional value and supply protein and oils.

Protein Concentrate:These are product obtained from, animals and some plant. Examples are blood meal, fish meal, meatmeal, cowpea, soyabeans. They are very high in protein and often used in currently protein deficiency in animals.

Mineral / Vitamins Supplement / Food Additives: These consist of all vitamins and mineral premixes which are fed to animals either to supplement or make up for the deficient nutrients. They are required in small quantities in feed. Hormones and antibiotics are inclusive.

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