Friday, July 19, 2024

Nutrient Requirements and Feeding of Ruminants

All animals including ruminants have dietary nutrient levels at which they exhibit optimal performance either for production or maintenance. This is what is referred to at the nutrient requirement of the animal and it is a function of age, type of animal size of animal and production.

All the nutrients namely, energy, protein, fat/lipid, vitamins, minerals and water have specific functions in the ruminant animals.

Of all the mentioned nutrients, two are of utmost importance they constitute the bulk. These are energy and protein which will be discussed in more details more than the others in this article.

1. Energy and Protein Requirement for Cattle

There are two types of cattle namely beef and dairy cattle. Energy and protein are needed by the animal for such activities as physical, metabolic, and physiological or for maintenance.

For beef production, in addition to maintenance, the animal require energy to deposit flesh whereas dairy cattle require more energy for pregnancy and production of milk.

A mature cow with an average weight of about 300 to 400 kg will require about 150 to 250 g digestible crude protein (DCP) on daily basis. It will also require 6 to 11 Mcal (mega calorie) of metabolizable energy (ME) for maintenance.

Feeding of Ruminants

If the cow is lactating, it will require an additional 40 to 45 g of DCP and about 1.2 – 1.3 Mcal. of metabolizable energy. For pregnancy, the same cow will require about 290 g DCP and 12. 4 Mcal. ME Generally, cow must not be fed less than 2.5 – 3% of dry matter content of their body weight.

2. Energy and Protein Requirement of Sheep

The nutrient requirement in sheep and goat appear very similar except for dairy goats and sheep kept for wool. Sheep and goat consume 3 – 5% dry matter of their body weight per day.

Read Also : External Parasites of Ruminant Animals

A growing lamb of 5 to 40 kg live weight, will consume dry matter about 3 to 4% of the body weight. Such a lamb will require a daily digestible crude protein of 33 to 67 g digestible crude protein g or 18 to 21.5% of the daily ration. It will also require about 0.65 to 2.50 Mcal ME.

Fatteners require an average dry matter intake about 5% of their body weight, about 52 to 80 g of digestible crude protein or 12 -13% of dry matter intake. They will also require 1.49 – 2.92 Mcal ME.

For the early gestation period (about 15 weeks), the dry matter intake should not be more than 2.5 to 3% of body weight with daily crude protein of 49 to 100 g or about 7.5 – 8.2% of the dry matter intake.

In the last six weeks of gestation, the dry matter intake should be about 3 to 4% of the body weight while the crude protein requirement at this stage is about 8 – 10% of the dry matter intake.

3. Energy and Protein Requirement of Goats

There are different energy and protein needs for growth or production in goats. Growing kids of goats require about 18 to 21% crude protein and about 2.52 Mcal metabolizable energy.

These requirements decrease as kids grow in body weight. The crude protein need may be as low as 10% of the dry matter intake while the energy is 2.16 Mcal ME. The buck will requirement about 8 – 11% crude protein and about 1.5 – 2.34 Mcal ME.

The pregnant doe will require dry matter intake of about 4% body weight. It will also need 8 to 10 % crude protein of the dry matter intake and 2 to 2.50 Mcal ME.

Read Also : General Features of Ruminant Animals

4. Mineral requirement

Minerals are organic and inorganic compounds that play vital roles in the metabolic and other physiological development of animals. They are classified as macro and micro minerals.

The macro minerals include calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, sodium, potassium and chlorine.

Micro minerals are iron, copper, cobalt, iodine, zinc, molybdenum, selenium, fluorine, sulphur and chromium. The requirement of macro minerals are expressed in gram per day or in percentage whereas the micro ones are in parts per million (ppm).

Minerals must be adequately supplied to the animal to prevent mineral deficiency nutritional disease. Calcium and phosphorous must be well supplied in the cattle, sheep and goats’ ration for bone development and milking.

Beef cattle require about 0.24% calcium and 0.22% phosphorous in their diet. Dairy cattle will require about 0.28% calcium and 0.25% phosphorous.

Pregnant cattle will require 0.23% calcium and 0.23% phosphorous. Sheep and goats require 0.23% calcium and 0.23% phosphorous in their diets.

Sources of calcium and phosphorous in the diets of the ruminants are bone meal, oyster shell and dicalcium phosphate.

Salt is given to ruminant as “salt lick” either as a form of block or by pouring some little quantity in the feeding trough to supplement what the animal must have taken from other feed ingredients.

In summary, below are the summary of what you have learnt in this article;

There is an amount of nutrient required for maintenance and production.

Cattle require 2.5 to 3% of their body weight as dry matter intake.

Sheep and goats require 3 to 5% of their body weight as dry matter intake.

The protein and energy need of dairy or lactating animal is higher than for non-lactating animal.

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Benadine Nonye is an agricultural consultant and a writer with several years of professional experience in the agriculture industry. - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education - PhD Student in Agricultural Economics and Environmental Policy... Visit My Websites On: 1. - Your Comprehensive Practical Agricultural Knowledge and Farmer’s Guide Website! 2. - For Effective Environmental Management through Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices! Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4Profits TV and WealthInWastes TV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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