Ruminants Feeding Principles

Feeding norms for ruminants (cattle, sheep and goat) are measured in unit of carbohydrate (energy) and protein (crude and digestible) obtained from
Feed rations.

The degree of making use of most feed rations does not depend only on
chemical composition of feeds but also on aim, purpose or goal for which it
is proposed. Using energy in feeds for animal maintenance is lower than for production of milk and growth or for fattening. The need for Protein is
directly proportional to Carbohydrate (energy), that is to say, the higher the
Carbohydrate (energy) in the feed the higher the content of Protein but
inversely proportional to dry matter calculated from the rations of the feed.

Bacteria and other microorganisms break down protein and urea into
nitrogenous compound. Under normal condition (with the presence of
normal quantity of easily digested carbohydrate and sole minerals in the
feed) microorganisms build body protein, which has high biological quality.
As the food moves down the digestive system, the bacteria protein and other
simple proteineous compounds are digested by the animal enzymes and
make available amino – acids for the different body organs which are utilized
for tissue growth and repair.

It is necessary one remembers that ability of bacteria to synthesize protein in
the system is limited due to poor growth of bacteria and too much of non-
protein nitrogen compound e.g. urea. What else, in a situation where
(inability of the liver to turn nitrogenous compound to non-poison urea and
so on) the content of nitrogen in the blood may reach a critical point and
causes poisoning.

One time feeding or tolerant daily ration of urea differs; it depends on chemical composition of feed. For rations where there are lack of nitrogen (protein), but much easily fermented and easily digested carbohydrate (starch, simple sugar) one can give much more urea than a feed
that contains much more fibre (hay, grasses).
Up to this moment, the protein requirements of cattle and sheep are
expressed in total digestible protein.

This is unsatisfactory information. In the first instance, for protein digestion, nobody is talking of what part is broken down to ammonia. Easily dissolved protein is quickly and in quantity
broken down by bacteria (e.g. green leaf protein) than poorly dissolved
protein (e.g. dry Lucerne protein).

Secondly, the greater the protein in a feed
the higher the digestibility to a certain point, it does not depend on the quality.
Considering the above points therefore, beside Total digestible protein
requirement is data about the Total crude protein.

During the process of fermentation, in the presence of microorganisms,
easily digested carbohydrates are broken down to Volatile Fatty Acids
(VFA), of which PH-value decreases (increase in acidity). Carbohydrates
supply bacteria with energy indispensable for protein and Vitamin group B
synthesis. Volatile Fatty Acids are absorbed from the body wall of the canal
to the blood stream and after various changes, source energy is released to the animal, it also par-take in the synthesis of milk (Fat, Protein and
Lactose).

Excess carbohydrates in feeds can as well bring about in ruminants a disease called acidosis.
Contrary to animal with simple stomach, ruminant (Cattle, Sheep), with the
help of microorganism activities can to a greater degree digest fibre into
Volatile Fatty Acids with reasonable amount of octave acids. Big quantity of fibre in a feed reduces the rate of digestion even in ruminant, 15 – 20% dry
matter of fibre is indispensable in the feeds for those animals.

Indispensable minerals composition for ruminants are calcium (Ca),
Phosphorus (P), Magnesium (Mg), Sodium (Na), Potassium (K) and Sulphur
(S). It is necessary to use urea and others like Iron (Fe), Cobalt (Co), Copper
(Cu), Manganese (Mn), Zinc (Zn), Iodine (I), Molibden (Mo) and Selen
(Se).

These elements are present in the feeds though quantity varies and
sometimes deficient in connection to requirement for high production of
ruminant. As a result, one must add appropriate quantity of mineral mixture.
In the private feed formulations, there is always deficit of phosphorous (p)
and Sodium (Na).

The amount of water required depends on the temperature, breed, type of
feed, and whether the stock are in-milk, dry or fattening. Dry feed increases
the water demand. In-milk cattle need more water, each litre of milk calls for
an additional 3 litres of water; thus, a dairy cow yielding 14 litres of milk would need 45 ltres plus 42 litres, a total of 87 litres; some of this would be
derived from feed.

Feeds should neither be changed often nor suddenly with regards to bacteria,
which are already used to a particular type of feed. That is the more reason
why a feed is prepared for the whole circle of production for ruminants.

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