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Animals and Livestock, Livestock Grazing and Animal feeds
Livestock are animals kept in homes for agricultural purposes.
Examples of livestock are cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, among others.
There are different methods in which livestock can be grazed.
Rotational Methods of Grazing
Animals are allowed to move within a restricted area.
The methods include;
Tethering - An animal is tied to a peg using a rope and allowed to graze within an area.
Paddocking - Animals are kept in a paddock, which is a small field which has been fenced with permanent fence. Animals graze in the paddock for a while before being moved top another paddock.
Strip-Grazing - Animal graze in a section called a strip, made of a temporary fence. After grazing in one strip, they are moved to the next strip.
In this type of grazing, the animals move freely with someone looking after them.
There is no restriction in the area of grazing.
Animals are returned home after grazing.
It is common among pastoralist communities.
Herding in the grasslands
It is also refereed to as stall feeding
In this method, animals are fed in structures known as stalls
Pasture is brought to the stall where the animal feeds.
Animals are not allowed to move out of the stalls.
Densely populated areas adopt this method of grazing.
The following is an illustration of cows in zero grazing.
Animal feeds are the food that animals eat.
They eat for different reasons as hereby outlined;
To give them energy
To promote the animal's growth
To protect them from diseases
To promote production
The animal feeds are divided into three categories as follows
These are grasses or legumes which animals feed on directly.
Animals are taken where the grasses or legumes are for feeding.
Grasses include; Kikuyu Grass, Couch grass, nut grass, and star grass
Legumes include; Desmodium, Sesbania, Lucerne and Clover
These are crops which are cut then fed to animals.
Animal do not feed on fodder crops directly.
Examples include nappier grass, green maize stalks, sweet potato vines, and banana leaves.
They are bought from shops and fed to animals.
They are also called commercial feeds.
They are used to supplement pastures and fodder.
Examples include; bone meal, salt lick, chick mash, broilers mash, among others.
Constituents of a Balanced Diet for Animals
A balanced diet for animals promotes growth and improve production.
A balanced diet should have the following constituents.
Carbohydrates - Carbohydrates provide energy; and sources include grasses, molasses, and honey.
Proteins - These ones promote growth and development; and sources include legumes like Lucerne and desmodium.
Vitamins - They need vitamins for protection against diseases; and sources include green pastures and fodder.
Mineral Salts - Mineral salts are for growth and development, and they mainly come from concentrates like salt lick and fish meal.
Water - Water is required for digestion and transport, hence animals should be given water daily. fresh pastures and legumes also provide water to animals.
Roughage - Helps in preventing constipation. It also prevents animals from removing hard dung. It is obtained from leaves and grasses. It is also referred to as fibre
Animal feeds can be conserved in two ways, silage and hay. Silage involves cutting pasture or fodder and then preserving it before drying. Hay involves concentrating pastures or fodder which has already dried.
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