Feeding animals is very important in animal production. Feeding takes about 75% of the total cost of production, when placed on concentrate diet. There are two classes of animal feed:
Roughages are best utilized by ruminant animals like cattle, sheep etc. Owing to the nature of the stomach. Grasses are the best food for ruminant animals. Feeding this type of animals, ruminant animals, is often tedious owing to the nature of there feed. The conventional method of feeding ruminant animals is through the Free range grazing, where animals are moved from one spot to another feeding on any green plant on their path.
However, this has really caused a lot of commotion in the country because most crops are grown on purpose, primarily for sale. Its always depressing to see ones crop grazed by alien animals, thus, leading to great havoc in the community. Free range Grazing of animals seem to be an old method of feeding animals, there are other means animals can be fed or grazed without moving from one point to another and the output will be more superior to grazing them. These systems are:
1. Continuous grazing:
This is an extensive method of grazing animals, animals are confined in a plot with different varieties of grasses. The animals feed on these grasses over a long period without leaving the plot. This system helps to reduce the menace of grazing of farm crop. It is normally practiced on range lands or tropical Savannah.
2. Rotational grazing:
This is a system where by animals are confined in a large expanse of land full of green grasses of various varieties for the animals to graze on. However, the grazing areas are usually sub-divided into paddocks, the animals are thereby moved from one paddock to another.
3. Green chop or cut and carry system: This is the cutting of green grasses on the field and transporting to the livestock for feeding. It is practiced in areas where grazing land is limited. The farmer source around for fresh grasses for the animals.
4. Hay making:
Hay is a feed produced by drying green forage to a moisture content of 15% or less. During the planting season when there is when there is blossom of green grasses, farmer can harvest some and preserve as hay and use to feed the animals when there is shortage of green plants. This makes feed available all through the year.
Silage is a moist forage that is produced from acidic fermentation of green forage crops that have been compressed and stored under anaerobic conditions in a storage system called silo. This is another means of providing feed all through the year.
You will notice in all the systems, the animals are confined and not allowed to roam about, this alone has several benefits. Animals are free from poisonous plants and dangerous animals. Animals are free from stress thereby enhancing the efficiency of the feed, making the animal attain desired weight when due.