Feeding in livestock business takes about 75 percent of the total cost of production; this makes feeding very important in livestock farming. Obviously, the type and nature of feed your animals consume will determine the productivity of your animals. Hence, feeding your animals in the right quantity and quality enhances their productivity greatly.
Feeding animals is quite tactical. It has to satisfy two conditions, the right quality, and adequate quantity. The quantity is important because if an animal eats insufficient feed, irrespective of its quality, it can reduce the productivity of the animals and can cause cannibalism in others. Both the right quality and adequate quantity are like inseparable twins, they have to be considered during feed formulation.
Several factors determine the quality and quantity of feed animals eat. These factors are used to “identify” the animals; these factors are:
- Age of the animal
- Health status of the animal
- Purpose of the animal
- Breed of the animal
- Size of the animals
- Type of feed
Determining the precise quantity of feed an animal will eat per day is quite obscure. Unlike humans, who will gleefully tell you if a food is adequate or not; this feature is absent in animals. If you are to feed your animals, you feed them sufficient feed. Neither too much to avoid wastage nor too little to avoid the inefficiency of the feed. A farmer should feed his animals in a way that the cost of feeding does not exceed the expected cost.
Several efforts have been made to determine the quantity of feed to serve the animals daily. The prominent way to determine the quantity of feed an animal eats is through its body weight. The efficiency of the feed is a function of the quantity and quality of the feed served.
The quantity of feed an animal eats is directly proportional to its body weight. With the aid of an animal’s body weight, the estimated quantity of feed to be served can be determined since the precise figure cannot be deduced.
To ease the affairs of farmers regarding the feeding of their flock adequately; there is a particular equation that has been designed to estimate the feed an animal should eat in respect of their body weight per day. This equation is called the Allometric equation.
It is used to estimate the quantity of feed an animal will eat per day regarding its body weight. It doesn’t give the real or actual quantity but a close figure that will enhance the animal’s productivity through feeding.
The estimated quantity from the equation is still within the range of feed gotten from various experiments carried out on different livestock. This is the Allometric equation below:
- For mammals: 0.0687 X (W) 0.822
- For birds: 0.0582 X (W) 0.651
Where “W” is the weight of the animal in Kilogram (kg), since the weight of farm animals is usually in kg. You will get your answers in kg but you can as well convert to grams (g); remember, one kilogram equals to one thousand grams. Note the unit, either kg or g, you are using to avoid unnecessary confusion.
Lastly, the result of the equation is an estimate of the feed your animals will eat per day considering their weight. Water should be made available always as it is more important to livestock health.
Also, do not use this equation for chicks during the brooding stage; chicks are to be fed Ad-libitum which means feed should be available at all times during this stage.
This is a great improvement for livestock farmers. It is a good guide to feeding livestock animals as it will improve animal feed production greatly. Further research works can be done to improve the feeding of livestock.
Read also: Nutritional Requirements For Cattle, Goat, And Sheep
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