They are ingredients or food sources that make up livestock feed. The feeding stuff is valued in terms of its digestibility (digestible nutrients) and its true food value (starch equivalent and crude protein content). Ingredients or feeding stuffs selected for feeding livestock vary depending on:
(a) the breed/yield of animal (broiler, layer, ruminant, non-ruminant).
(b) the age of animal (young, old, growers, finisher, fattener).
(c) the production level of animal (low produce, spent layer, dry sow).
The following ingredients can be used singly or as a mixture in the preparation of livestock feeds:
Straws – rice brans, wheat offals, maize stems, seed hulls, cowpea, groundnut, maize and pigeon pea husks.
Grains – rice, maize, guinea corn, millet, wheat, cowpea, pigeon pea, soyabean.
Tubers – cassava, cocoyam, yam, sweet potato.
Cakes – palm kernel cake, groundnut cake, coconut, soyabean, cottonseed cakes and banana chips.
Meals – fish, meat, blood, bone, oyster, cowpea meals.
Oils – cod liver oil extracted from fish, palm oil from oil palm fruits, and coconut oil from coconut.
Feed is the compounded or prepared materials usually served as ration to the livestock. It also includes natural fodder provided to the ruminants. Feeds generally are used for the production of energy, building up and repairs of the body and regulation of body functions. They are classified according to these functions:
1. Energy or basal feeds
These consist of feeding stuffs which provide high quantities of carbohydrate and low protein content. They constitute the major bulk of a ration and supplies the required energy to the animal. They are easily digestible and acceptable to non-ruminants. The energy feeds are provided to animals in a crushed state or chopped into pieces e.g. grains and tubers respectively
2. Concentrates and supplements
These are animal feeds containing a high level of nourishments in small quantities. Most basic dietary requirements are present e.g. protein, minerals and vitamins. They are prepared industrially from by products of edible oils with its residue dried and pressed into cakes e.g. groundnut cake, cotton-seed cake, palm kernel cake, soyabean cake and coconut cake.
Concentrates may also refer to a mixture of the cakes with animal by products like blood meal, fish meal, meat meal and bone meal. Molasses, oils, salt and other additives (vitamins, drugs, minerals) may be put to sweeten the concentrate. Mineral salt licks are made into blocks and supplied as supplements. Vitamin – premix and sodium chloride may also be added to rations to supplement vitamins and minerals. Apart from being highly nutritious, they are easily digestible and best acceptable by non-ruminants.
They are feeds with high fibre contents. They provide bulk as well as some nutrients. Roughages like the forages (grasses and legumes), hay and crop residues or straws provide the cheapest feed for cattle, sheep and goats and other ruminants. Roughages also include succulent feeds such as soilage, silage, fodder which apart from supplying bulk, also provide vitamins, minerals and large quantities of grasses served as forages. These include elephant grass, giant star grass and gamba grass while mucuna, calapogonium, centrosema and stylozanthes are some examples of legumes commonly used.
Feeds for different breeds of livestock
Certain basic equipment are indispensable in order to minimise amount of work, maintain maximum production, and as such must be afforded by the stockman. Equipment here refer to structures used in the care and feeding of animals. While acquiring equipment, consideration should be given to certain requisite qualities, such as utility, value, simple construction, durability, dependability and of course, the immovability of the equipment. Among such equipment are buckets, drinking fountain (drinker), feeding trough (feeder), food mixer, food scoop, rubber hose, weighing machines, syringe, sprayers and disinfectants, etc.