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close this bookBasic Husbandry Practices and Veterinary Care (IIRR, 1996, 60 p.)
View the documentForeword
View the documentBody parts of farm animals
View the documentNames of farm animals
View the documentFarm animals and their young
View the documentLivestock production
View the documentReproduction of poultry
View the documentBreeding
View the documentCare of calves and kids at birth
View the documentCare of piglets
View the documentFeeding orphaned animals
View the documentNutrition
View the documentDeworming
View the documentVaccination
View the documentCastration
View the documentHoof trimming
View the documentDehorning
View the documentClipping milk teeth of piglets
View the documentDisinfection of pen and equipment
View the documentWaste management and disposal
View the documentPesticides


Good nutrition is important for the health of animals. Proper nutrition helps an animal fight disease and parasites. Good nutrition also enables an animal to respond well to vaccination.

The amount and quality of nutrients required for good health and efficient production vary according to age, sex and level of production. They vary between ruminants (four-stomached animals) like cattle, water buffaloes and goats, and simple stomached animals like pigs and chickens. Ruminants have four digestive compartments:

- rumen or paunch
- reticulum or honeycomb
- omasum or manyplies
- abomasum or true stomach.

All animals need protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water.

Nutrients in excess of an animal's minimum requirements are used for production and growth. A reduction of feed intake by five percent will decrease weight gain by 10 percent.

Parts of a compound stomach

Ruminants (cattle, buffaloes, sheep and goats) have a stomach made of four parts.

Ruminants’ stomach

Protein is the most costly source of all nutrients. It is particularly important for reproduction, growth and milk production.




Examples of protein sources

- Leucaena leaves
- Fish meal
- Centrosema
- Soybean
- Rice bran (D1)

Crude protein content of feeds (in percentage)


Milk replacement


Cad starter


Dairy concentrate


Beef concentrate





Hog starter


Hog grower


Hog fattener


Hog breeder


Poultry (layer)

Chicken starter


Chicken grower


Chicken Dyer


Poultry (meat)

Broiler starter


Broiler finisher


Chick booster


Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy for animals. The major function is to provide energy for:

- grown
- muscular activity
- reproduction and lactation
- maintenance of body temperature.

Examples of energy sources

- Corn/rice bran
- Molasses
- Rice straw
- Root crops

Fats provide an easily digested, concentrated source of energy for animals. They:

- supply essential fatty acids needed for coronal growth
- help in the absorption of vitamins soluble in fat.

Examples of fats

- Copra
- Tallow

Vitamins are required in very small amounts to facilitate the normal functioning of the body.

Vitamin sources soluble in fat (A, D, E, K)

- Yellow corn
- Grass
- Legumes

Vitamin sources

Vitamin sources soluble in water (C and B complex)

- Fish meal
- Grass
- Legumes

Minerals aid in the development of bones. Salt is an example of a common mineral. Feeds, such as grains, do not contain enough salt to sustain livestock. Therefore, salt must be supplied as a ration supplement.

Examples of grasses

Napier grass

- Perennial.
- Drought-resistant.
- Less palatable when fully grown.
- High-yielding.
- Easier to plant than guinea grass or pare grass.

Guinea grass

- Perennial.
- Shade-tolerant.
- Higher-yielding than Napier grass.

Para grass

- Grows well in water-logged areas.

Examples of legumes


- Perennial climbing vine.


- Excellent for animal growing but not for fattening.

Feeding ruminants

Ruminants browse. They eat a variety of feedstuffs. They like to eat the tender new growth and barks of trees and shrubs.

They should have free access to salt and calcium supplements. Salt should be crushed or in granules, not blocks, because ruminants may not get enough salt off a block. Egg shell is a low-cost source of calcium. Shells should be dried, crushed or pulverized and mixed with the regular feed ration.

Fresh water should always be provided.

Examples of feed rations for fattening of cattle and buffaloes

This is fed to animals age 6 months and above.

1. Mix 1 tablespoon of urea with 15 liters of water.
2. Set aside for 2 hours to release ammonia.
3. Add 4 tablespoons of molasses. Give as drinking water in the morning.

Caution: Do not use too much urea as it cause poisoning.

Rice straw is a cheap feedstuff for ruminants. It can be enriched by mixing it with other nutrients such as molasses. A simple method is described below:


1. Immerse dried rice straw in water for 4 hours.
2. Dissolve 4 gallons of molasses in 12 gallons of water. Add 3 kg of urea.
3. Add rice straw to the mixture.
4. Feed to animal.

This feed mixture is given 60-90 days before slaughter.

1. Gather about 20 kg of fresh ipil-ipil (Leucaena sp.) leaves. Remove the midribs and pound the leaves.

2. Extract the juice.

3. Add 1-2 kg of fine rice bran mixed with 15-19 liters of water.

4. Add a handful of salt and mix thoroughly.

Divide the mixture into two portions. Feed one portion in the morning and the other in the evening. Use a bamboo tube (locally known as supak), measuring about 6 cm in diameter and 30 cm long, to feed the mixture. (See Administering medicine in Restraining animals and simple treatments.)

Note: Feed the animal with the mixture 6 times a day for best results.

Other home-made rations for large ruminants

- Pound 15-20 kg fresh leaves of ipil-ipil (Leucaena sp.). Extract the juice. Add 15 liters of clean water and 0.1 kg of salt.

- Finely chop 15-20 kg of gabi tubers (the kind that humans eat). Add 15 liters of water and 0.1 kg of salt.

Divide the above mixtures into two portions. Give one ration in the morning and another in the evening. Rations are given through the supak.

The above rations can also be given to small ruminants, like goats. Reduce the amount of ingredients needed to produce a ration.

Feeding rations for pigs


Breeding animals (not pregnant or lactating) should be given brood sow or breeder's mash.
Feed the gilt/sow 1.5 to 1.7 kg per day until bred and becomes pregnant.


Pregnant gilts/sows should be fed with gestation mash.
For the first 14 days, feed 1.6 to 1.8 kg per day.
From the 15th-80th day, feed 1.6 to 2.0 kg per day.
From the 81st-107th day, feed 2.5 kg per day.
From the 108th-1 14th day, feed 1.2 kg per day.

Nursing sows/gilts

Nursing or lactating gilts/saws should be fed with lactation mash.
For the first 3 days, feed 0.6 to 0.7 kg per day.
From the 4th-6th day, feed 0.8 to 1 kg per day.
From the 7th-10th day, feed 1.2 to 1.8 kg per day.
From the 1 1th-24th day, feed 2.0 kg per day.
From the 25th-27th day, feed 1.8 to 1.2 kg per day.
From the 28th-30th day, feed 1.2 to 8 kg per day.

After Me 30th day, piglets should be weaned.


Pre-starter feeds for the first month.
Starter mash for the 2nd-3rd month.
Grower mash for the 4th-5th month.
Finisher/fattener mash rattan for the 6th month.

After the 6th month, pigs will be ready for market.

Note: Pre-starter mash, starter mash and hog grower should be fed without limit.

Low-cost feeds for pigs

Each of the following mixtures can be consumed by 3 heads of starter pigs (2-3 months old) for 2-3 days:

- Mix 5.4 kg of fine rice bran with 4.6 kg of cam bran.
- Mix 6.3 kg of midlings (bindlid) with 3.6 kg of corn gluten. he following mimes are for fatteners:
- Mix 7 kg of rice bran with 3 kg of sapal (coconut waste product).
- Mix 5 kg of sweet potato roots vim 5 kg of ipil-ipil (Leuacaena sp.) leaves.
- Mix 3 kg of cassava roots with 7 kg of fine rice bran.
- Mix the following:
-3 kg com bran
-2 kg molasses
-1.5 kg tugui root (Dioscorea esculenta)
-1.0 kg fish washings (e.g., fish guts, gills, scales)
-2.5 kg ipil-ipil leaves

Feeding pigs

The amount of feed given depends on age, stage of growth, of reproduction, health status and degree of activity. Unlimited feeding only applies in the pre-starter, hog starter and hog grower stages-the stages where protein and carbohydrates are needed the most.

At 2 ½ months of gestation, fetuses are at their peak growth stage. The sow's feed should be increased.

Milk production reaches its peak in the third and fourth weeks after birthing. The amount of feed given at this stage should be high. Milk production starts to decline in the middle of the 4th week. Piglets can be weaned to decrease milk letdown. Decrease the amount of feeds given.

Feeding pigs

Feeding rations for chickens

Broiler ration (meat)

Starter ration for the first 5 weeks. Finisher ration for the 6th week.

Layer ration (egg)

Starter ration for the first 7 weeks. Grower ration for the 7th-20th week. Layer ration for 20-week-old layers.

The laying age for chickens is 24 to 85 weeks.

Home-made rations for chickens

Mix the following:

- 4 cans (1 kg) yellow corn or broken rice
- 1.5 cans fine rice bran
- 2 pints ground snails
- 1.5 cans copra oil
- 0.5 can mung bean, string beans or lima beans
- 0.5 can dry Leucaena leaves
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 handful lime or powdered oyster shell

Home-made rations for chickens