Cover Image
close this book Animal traction
View the document About this manual
View the document About the author
View the document Acknowledgments
close this folder 1. Introduction
View the document What is animal traction?
View the document History of animal traction
View the document Why use animal traction?
View the document Some considerations
View the document How can animal traction be used?
View the document Before beginning: what do you need to know?
close this folder 2. Draft animal selection
View the document Popular draft animals
View the document Determining power requirements
View the document General rules concerning power requirements
View the document Method for determining size of the hitch
View the document Determining weights of animals
View the document Selection of individual draft animals
View the document Conformation
View the document Temperament
close this folder 3. Animal husbandry
View the document Sheller
View the document Nutrition
View the document Grooming
View the document Minor medical problems and first aid
close this folder 4. Training draft animals
View the document Before training begins
View the document General comments on training procedure
View the document Training cattle
View the document Program for training cattle
View the document Training horses, donkeys and mules
View the document Program for training horses, donkeys and mules
close this folder 5. Yokes and harnesses
View the document Yokes and harnesses for cattle
View the document Yokes and harnesses for horses, donkeys and mules
View the document How to harness a horse, donkey or mule
View the document Steering systems
View the document Breeching harness
close this folder 6. Hitches
View the document Safety rules
View the document Implement hitches
View the document Vehicle hitches
View the document 7. Field operations and implements
close this folder 8. Economic and technical assistance
View the document Farm planning assistance
View the document Equipment options
View the document Credit for equipment
View the document Credit for animals
View the document Procedures and controls
close this folder 9. Animal traction extension
View the document Extension education
View the document Appendix A: Animal power
close this folder Appendix B: Animal nutrition
View the document Energy needs: bovine animals
View the document Energy needs: equine animals
View the document Nutrient needs of draft animals: protein, minerals, vitamins
View the document Feeds and feed composition
View the document Calculating a ration
View the document Recommended rations and feeding practices
close this folder Appendix C: Disease recognition and control
View the document Parasites and parasitic disease
View the document Appendix D: Workshop and spare parts inventory
View the document Appendix E: Animal traction instruction forms
View the document Appendix F: Animal breeds used for power
View the document Bibliography
View the document Resources
View the document GIossary

Energy needs: bovine animals

Oxen are ruminant. This means that they swallow large amounts of unchewed food as they graze and eat. Later, they regurgitate this feed in small portions (boluses) and chews it thoroughly. The micro-organisms (bacteria and protozoa) in the animal's forestomach (rumen) break down fibrous feeds (including the cellulose) and use them as a substance for growth. These micro-organisms and their products then become digestible nutrients for the animal. For this reason, ruminants can derive many nutrients from roughage whereas other animals cannot.

Deficiencies in energy, protein, phosphorous and Vitamin A are likely to occur in animals grazing forage on arid land. If the land has very poor forage, the animals may use up more energy obtaining feed than they can get from feed. This creates a net loss of energy to the animal. An energy supplement must be given daily to the animal, but protein, phosphorus and Vitamin A supplements may be effective if provided only once a week. Daily hand feeding of a supplement is the best method for updating the amount consumed.

The following energy requirements for ruminant draft animals have been established at agricultural research centers in Africa:

Bovine Animals

• The maintenance energy requirement-the amount of feed energy needed to keep a non-working animal from gaining or losing weight-is represented as "E". Tests show that a 300-kg idle bull needs the equivalent of the energy contained in 2.6 kg of dry barley grain-or 2.6 U.F.-to sustain its weight. The bull's maintenance requirement is expressed as E 3 2.6 U.F. (CEEMAT, Manuel de Culture avec Traction Animale, 1971).

• The size of the animal affects its maintenance requirement:

Daily maintenance requirements of oxen (idle).

(Taken from two tests; figures are approximate values.)

Weight of Animal Kg

Maintenance Requirement ("E") U.F.



















• The total daily energy requirement is the sum of the maintenance ration-the food energy needed to keep-a-nonworking animal from gaining or losing weight-and a quantity which can be called the work ration. CEEMAT suggests that for an oxen doing light work, the total energy required is "E" (maintenance) + 1/2 E. This can be easily expressed as T = 3/2 E. CEEMAT further suggests for oxen doing medium work T = 2 E, and for heavy work T = 5/2 E. Using this information in conjunction with tables which give the energy values of various feeds, the farmer and/or extension person can formulate or "compound" a ration of roughages and concentrates which can be expressed as a specific number of forage units. For example, if a 300-kg ox is going to be used for plowing (heavy work), it needs about 6.5 U.F. (T = 5/2 E; or T = 2.6 x 5/2 = 6.5) to maintain its weight Later in the season, when lighter weeding and cultivating operations are performed, the diet would be reduced to about 5 forage units (2.6 x 2). If the animal were used for occasional cart work, as might be the case during harvest operations, or if it were being trained, the energy requirement would range between 3 and 4 units (light work).