The food given to farm animals is called livestock feed or simply put ‘feed’. The livestock farmer must supply his animals with the appropriate quantity and quality of feed for:
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- Repair of worn-out tissues
- General well-being of animals
- High production of animal products such as milk, meat, and egg production
TYPES OF FEED
Animals are fed with different kinds of feeds which vary in composition and uses. Hence, they are classified according to the quantity of fiber and moisture in the feed into four. These are:
- Basal or energy feeds
- Supplements and additive
Basal of Energy Feeds
Basal feeds are feeds made to supply energy to the animals. They have a crude fiber content of less than 18%. They usually make up 60-90% of livestock ration. Examples are maize, rice, millet, guinea corn, roots, and tubers like yam and cassava. Basal feed must be supplemented to meet the growth and maintenance need of farm animals.
It is high in carbohydrates or starchy food
It is low in fiber
It is low in protein
It lacks vitamins and important minerals.
It is highly digestible,
It is acceptable to most farm animals, especially the monogastrics.
These are feed or feed mixtures that provide all the primary dietary needs of farm animals. It may be either whole grain feeds or a mixture of basal and supplement feeds. Concentrates may be high in energy called energy concentrates or high in protein called protein concentrates. They have high nutritive value because they are important sources of energy, protein, minerals, and vitamins. Examples are blood meal, bone meal, fish meal, groundnut cake, palm kernel cake, oyster shell cake, cottonseed cake, and coconut cake. They are usually fed to monogastrics but can be used as supplements for some herbivores
It has a low fiber content
It may be high in protein or energy
It is highly digestible
It is low in minerals
Roughages are feeds that are high in fiber content. They add bulk to animal feeds and are relatively less digestible. Roughages are poor in nutritive value hence, animals fed on roughage need supplements. Roughages are fed mostly to ruminants (cattle, sheep, and goats). This is because other animals cannot digest them. They include the vegetative part of plants or dry (preserved) vegetative matter. Roughages include:
- Succulent feed: This is also called fresh forage or wet roughages. It includes grasses, legumes, cereals, and root crops grown for silage (grazing) or silage. Silage refers to succulents that are stored in air-tight containers such as silos to preserve their freshness.
- Fodder or dry roughages
- Hay: This is the young and succulent parts of grasses, legumes, and other plant cut and dried for feeding animals. It is a cheap source of food for ruminants during the dry season. It is higher in nutrient nutrients than straw.
- Straw: This refers to the parts of harvested crops or grasses cut and stored for future use. After the ripe seeds have been harvested the remains of plants are cut, dried, and fed to animals during the dry season.
- Chaff: This is the husk separated from grain during threshing. It is got from threshed grains such as maize, rice, cowpea, and others.
They are high in fiber
They are low in protein and digestible carbohydrates.
They have poor digestibility
Supplements and Additives
Feed supplements are added to the main feed to supply nutrients that are lacking in the main feed or diet of the animals. They may be supplied separately or mixed with the feeds. Feed supplements include:
Cotton seed cake,
Soya bean meal,
Oyster shell meal,