What is Animal Nutrition?

Animal nutrition is the science that deals with the nature and properties of animal feed, their proportions and the mechanisms through which they are converted to animal tissues.

Animal feed itself refers to that which is consumed by animals in order to nourish their bodies and stay alive.

Types of Feed :

Depending on the fibre and moisture content, animal feed can be classified into four major types, namely

  1. Basal or energy feed
  2. Supplements
  3. Concentrates
  4. Roughages
  5. Basal / Energy Feed

These constitute the major source of energy for the animals. They contain more of easily digested carbohydrates than protein, and make up between 60 to 90 percent of livestock rations.

Basal feed are low in fibre and widely acceptable to most farm animals, particularly the monogastrics (i.e animals with one stomach chamber). They are also lacking in vitamins and important minerals such as calcium and phosphorus; hence, there is need for supplements in order to meet the growth and maintenance requirements of the livestock.

Examples of basal feed include cereals such as maize, millet, guinea corn; root and tuber crops like yam and cassava.

  1. Supplements Feed

These are often given to animals to provide the deficient nutrients in their diet. They are rich in protein and may also contain reasonable amounts of vitamins and minerals. Supplements can either be fed to the animals saparately or mixed with other feed.

Examples of supplement feed are blood meal, milk by-products, palm kernel cake, groundnut cake, cotton seed cake, bone meal etc.

  1. Concentrate Feed

Concentrates provide all the essential dietary needs of the animals, including protein, carbohydrates, fats and minerals. They are usually fed to monogastrics but may also be given as supplements to some herbivores. Concentrates are low in fibre.

Examples are bone meal, fish meal, blood meal, groundnut cake, palm kernel cake and cotton seed cake.

  1. Roughages

They are plant materials rich in fibre, and provide the bulk fodder used in grazing animals.

Examples are succulent feed, hay silage and straw. These must be supported with supplements.

  1. Succulent feed : refer to young, green forage, rich in water and are readily digestible e. g young grasses and legumes.
  2. Straw : these are dried plants and crop residues, fed to animals as a maintenance ration especially during food scarcity. Straw is very rich in fibre.
  • Hay : comprises of plant materials such as grasses and legumes cut a vegetative stage, dried and bailed for the feeding of farm animals. Drying in this case reduces moisture content of the plant materials, eliminating possibilities of fermentation due the growth of mould.
  1. Silage : refer to plant materials partially fermented in an air-tight container, and is used for feeding farm animals. A well made silage is usually greenish, slightly acidic and has a sweet smell.
  2. Forage : a general term for grasses and légumes used for feeding farm animals.
  3. Fodder crops : these are crops grown specifically for feeding farm animals e.g groundnuts, maize, grasses and legumes.



Poultry is fed with marsh which is often prepared considering the age of the birds. The primary ingredient for making poultry marsh is cereal. Thus marsh is made from crops like maize, guinea corn, millet etc.

Types of Poultry Marsh

There are basically two types of poultry marsh, namely

  1. Starters’ marsh
  2. Chicks’ marsh

Poultry Feeding Tools

The two most important feeding tools used in the poultry include the feeding trough and the water/drinking trough.

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