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Farm Livestock: Feed and Water Requirements of Farm Livestock

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Hannah Prude

on 23 May 2011

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Transcript of Farm Livestock: Feed and Water Requirements of Farm Livestock

Cattle Types of Feed The main types of feed that different types of cattle are given are:
Concentrate feeds
Supplementary feeds
Compound feeds
Roughage feeds Concentrate feeds Concentrate feeds can be fed to ruminant and monogastric livestock. The role of concentrate feeds is to provide concentrated sources of required
nutrients and energy for healthy livestock production. These nutrients include:
Amino acids
Fatty acids
Minerals and more.
Concentrate feeds mainly consist of raw materials such as:
Feed-grain substitutes and more. Supplementary feeds Cattle and sheep are ruminants. This means that they have a digestive system that allows food that has failed to be digested to be regurgitated and then rechewed as "cud". When the cud is swallowed its then digested by specialised microbes in the rumen. The microbes are responsible for breaking down cellulose and other carbohydrates into fatty acids which cattle require as their primary 'metabolic fuel'. The microbes inside the rumen can also be used to synthesize amino acids from non-protein sources, such as ammonia and urea. As older generations of microbes die in the rumen their carcasses will carry on through the digestive tract and then are slightly digested by the cattle which ultimately allows them to gain a high protein source. These happpenings inside the digestive system are why cattle can survive on grasses and other crops or vegetation. Supplementary feeding is an important part of keeping healthy livestock during the most difficuly seasons. Most farming establishments use supplement feed when feed stock is low and a cheap feed is needed that will help maintain stock condition during harsher months. For example when there is a lack in grazing or an amount of grazing requires supplementing and is of poor quality. It mainly consists of carbohydrates and minerals so feeds would mostly be made up of:
Bulk feeds - e.g silage, roots
Concentrates - e.g processed grain such as pellet form and a high-energy feedstuffs such as molasses
For sheep supplement feed is ususally given in the form of a mineral or vitamin lick. It is usually manufactured to have a pleasant taste to encourage sheep to lick it. Licks are important to make sure sheep aren't becoming at all deficient in certain nutrients. Compound feeds These feeds are made up of various additives and raw materials that have been blended together to form a compound feed which are made accordingly to the specific needs of the selected animal. Compound feeds are manufactured as pellets or meal type and can be made as:
Complete feeds that can provide all the nutrients the animal requires daily
Concentrates that only provide a small ration of nutrients
Or supplements that can only provide the animal with additional micronutrients Roughage feeds Unit 331 - Understand and carry out Farm Livestock Husbandry Task D - Understand the feed and water requirements for Farm Livestock By Hannah Prude Lv3 Extended Diploma Animal Management Roughage is the fibrous indigestible material in plant foodstuffs that can aid in digestion. It is the most natural feed for cattle and sheep. This feed is very high in fiber but low in energy and digestible nutrients. It can be made up of:
Mature hay
Straw e.g wheat straw
Stalks e.g corn stalks
And pasture Quantity of feed There are many factors which affect the quantity of feed that is given to a specific animal, these can be:
Life stage
Health status
And the use of the animal Health status There are many different factors to do with health that can change the quantity of feed that is given to cattle. These are:
When a cow is pregnant it is important that a large portion of feed is availiable so that the nutritional requirements can be met to ensure the calf can absorb vital nutrients such as protein, so gain enough strength and body mass to ensure survival during and after birth. Also when a calf is being weaned it is important that the feed given to the mother cow is in a large enough quantity to ensure it's protein levels are at it's maximum so that the calf can then absorb these nutrients through its mother milk, allowing it to become stronger and more likely to survive.
For ewes there is a feeding regeme called 'Flushing' this is where ewes that are in poor condition are fed an increased amount to gain extra weight 2 weeks before breeding. The reason flushing is done is to attempt to increase lambing percentages by increasing the number of ovulated eggs in a ewe's ovaries. It is best to attempt this with thinner ewes rather than ewes that already have good body condition as healthier ewes will not respond positively to flushing and may become over-weight or ill. Life stage When a calf is first born it is important to ensure that it's mother is healthy enough to provide its offspring with enough milk to ensure survival. The calf needs it's mother's milk as the colostrum provides vital minerals and vitamins aswell as energy to give it a kick start. When a calf becomes a heifer during the weaning period it should be more than comfortable with grazing on pasture and also hay that is provided when being kept in pens, so it is important to provide enough hay, grain or corn so that the heifer can absorb enough fibre and protein to grow stronger. The next life stage is becoming a cow or 'bred-heifer'. When the cow goes into the lactating period, whilst getting ready for pregnancy, it is important to increase the amount of nutrients the animal takes in through its food on a regular basis to ensure a healthy cow and future calf.

Lambs will naturally feed from their mother at first, just like calves, but they can also be put onto a 'Lamb Starter/Grow from the age of around 7 days. A mix like this will provide controlled growth, top quality proteins and easily digestible sources of energy. The quantity should remain small to ensure freshness of the feed. Sheep Mix can then be fed 5 weeks onwards to help improve lambs that are to be used for breeding purposes and the quantity should be gradually increased to the desired level. Dairy cattle Vs. Beef cattle Dairy Cattle - Nutrition plays a very important role in keeping dairy cattle healthy and strong. A heavy feed plan should be made up which provides enough nutrition to ensure good milk production and reproductive performance. Depending on the animal's stage of production and animal's age, the nutritional requirements can differ. Forages are the most commonly used feed as it can be given in large bulks, also cereal grains is given in large quantities as they are the main contributors of starch and meet the energy requirements of dairy cattle. Beef Cattle - To produce beef efficiently, it is important to feed animals nutritional balanced rations. Usually they are fed grain and forage feeds in bulking quantities over a period of time. For example, the grain ration will increase in percentage every several days whereas the forage ration will decrease during the same amount of time. This is to balance out the cattle's intake, therefor leading to a healthier animal which will provide better meat. Nutrient content of rations Carbohydrates - These are used for energy
Proteins - These are used for growth and repair
Fibre - These help to keep the digestion system working efficiently
Fats - These are used to protect vital organs and also for warmth
Vitamins & Minerals - These help maintain correct bodily functions
Energy - This is important as it aids growth and helps livestock to keep their bodies warm during colder months.
Water - This is important as all animals need to remain hydrated to keep healthy and good for production uses. Quality of feeds It is important to make sure that the feed that is being provided for the cattle is free from mould or infestation. To ensure this, best before dates should be noted and paid attention to or poor-quality feed may be given to the livestock leading to illness or bad product. All feeds should be kept in a type of storage that is free from weather destruction or insect and rodent infestation. Stock rotation should also be exhibited. This is when new stock is bought and is stacked or stored behind all the old stock to ensure that all old or previous stock is used first. Although some of the best feeds are expensive it is always important to provide your livestock with the best to avoid illness and low-quality animals. The lesser quality of the animal the worse the profit of production. Feed and Water
Preparation Storage of feed By storing and conserving feeds, livestock keepers are able to ensure that they have enough feed to give to their livestock throughout the year. Also, when crops are harvested during the year, by-products that have been left behind in storage can be fed to livestock meaning there is less waste.

Different feeds are stored in different ways, this is because of the nature of the feed. For example, dry foods such as pellets and hay must be kept in a dry storage place that is free from weather damage and other temperature fluctuations. It must also be kept in seperate containers to avoid rodent and insect infestation. Water quality and
availability Water should be available for livestock at all times. It should be clean and free of mould or disease.
Water should also be monitored constantly to make sure it is drinkable and accessible. Any water trough or bucket should be regularly cleaned and re-filled on a daily basis unless soiled in within the day. The water should also come from a clean source that has been checked and confirmed as drinkable. The water trough or bucket should also be safe for the livestock, it should not be able to harm the animal or make it difficult for the animal to drink from. Cattle and sheep should be provided with a tub or tank that should be filled up to twice a day with a clean hose, or automatic drinkers can be used with automatically fill up with water but these require extra maintenance and constant checking to make sure it doesn't become blocked or stops working completely. During winter months water should be checked more often to make sure automatic drinks and tanks/buckets have not frozen up. If this does happen, the ice should be broken on sight. Preparation of feed When preparing feed for livestock it is important to follow either the manufacturers instructions that are given on the packaging or, if required, the livestock establishment's feeding instructions. Livestock should be fed once to twice a day to ensure they recieve the nutrients and energy that they need to remain healthy and survive. If a specific feed is not prepared properly then this could harm or critically injure livestock. When prepararing any feed you should make sure that the feed is correct for the livestock you intend to feed and if so, you should know the rations that are required for the livestock to be properly fed. Depending on the type or nature of the feed, you should make sure it is being prepared in a clean area that is away from obstruction or harmful substances, this will then ensure that no infection or damaging substance can harm the livestock. Sheep Sheep All animals need to be fed a quantity of feed that will keep them in good conditioning without becoming overweight. To maintain a sheep in this sort of condition is the same with many other animals. The quantity of feed never will vary according to a few factors, for example, Lowland breeds will naturally 'do better' on higher quantities concentrate feed than Highland breeds. Also the time of year that lambing is due also holds a big effect. By assessing the body condition of a sheep you can tell whether they need a low or high quantity of feed, this can be done by just looking at them and also having a more hands-on approach. Quantity of feeding more sheep is more down to life stage and health status.
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