5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Animal Diet & Protein

April 20, 2023

Production animals must receive a balanced diet to reach the right development levels. Animal feeds are one of the costliest aspects of production, accounting for around 70% of running costs. Moreover, animal protein has the largest value in your livestock's feed – 33.3% of nutrition expenses comprise proteins.

Proteins play a substantial role in your livestock's growth and development, so you must plan adequately how to incorporate them into their diet. Proteins are amino acids condensed through peptide bonds. Therefore, when humans or animals consume them, their digestive system hydrolyzes them into free amino acids and peptides. The body then absorbs and metabolizes them to develop new protein types in enzymes and various body tissues, like muscles.

With that said, it's advisable to use high-quality animal feeds that ensure your farmed animals maintain great health regardless of the challenges of intensive livestock production. This article will discuss five fundamental ways to get the most out of proteins and ensure your livestock are well-fed and cared for.

Opt for Plant-based Proteins

Did you know that plant foods possess the essential amino acids for cellular functioning and improved general health? The distribution of these amino acids is what varies across various plant foods. For instance, nuts have high methionine but low lysine, while beans meal contain high lysine and low methionine. Feeds once regarded as "incomplete" proteins could be better described as "less concentrated" proteins.

Furthermore, soy meal provides a rich source of proteins for your livestock and is available worldwide. It is one of the most reliable plant-based animal proteins with high nutritional value and satisfying sensory characteristics.

Peas are also gaining immense popularity in the livestock nutrition industry, with the global pea market predicted to attain $545 million by 2026. Including pea proteins or peas as the functional component in baby pigs' feed could result in superior vitality and villi development in small pigs. Therefore, it leads to better intestinal health and enhances nutrient uptake, contributing to swift weight gain in baby pigs and lower mortality and sickness rates.

Introduce Variety in Your Livestock's Diet

Having variety in your livestock's diet is important for several reasons. First, it ensures your animals receive a broad range of the essential nutrients they need. Different animal feeds have different protein profiles – hence providing your animals with a wide variety of feeds will ensure they don't suffer from nutrient deficiency.

In addition, variety in the diet prevents livestock from becoming bored with the diet and enhances their general welfare. When you repeatedly feed them the same diet, they tend to grow bored with the food, hence losing interest in feeding. As a result, this can cause health problems like digestive problems or weight loss. However, if you provide them with various protein-rich foods, they will likely be more interested in their meals, encouraging them to feed regularly.

Adjust Feeds to Suit their Ever-changing Needs

Livestock feeding varies over time because of factors like lactation, growth, and environmental conditions. For instance, animals tend to require more proteins and energy in their feeds during periods of increased activity, like competition or breeding season. On the other hand, they tend to require less protein and energy when they undergo periods of rest or inactivity.

Therefore, it's the farmer's responsibility to modify their feeds to ensure every animal receives the appropriate nutrients during their various growth stages and changing environments. Environmental factors like humidity or high temperature can affect your livestock feeding requirements.

The best way to modify animal feeds depending on their changing needs is to monitor your livestock consistently and assess their environment to observe changes in performance or behavior. Alternatively, a qualified livestock nutritionist can help you determine the right animal feeding adjustments.

Evaluate Animal Feed Quality

It's important to assess the nutritional content of your animal feeds to ensure it meets their nutritional needs. Poor-quality animal feeds negatively affect your livestock's health, leading to poor growth, digestive problems, and weight loss. You can evaluate the quality of your animal feeds in numerous ways. First, you can visually inspect the feed to identify signs of discoloration, mold growth, or foreign objects.

Alternatively, you can professionally test your livestock feed to assess its nutrient levels and ensure they are of the right quality for your animals' nutritional needs. Remember to store animal feed properly to retain its quality. It's advisable to store them in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated place to avoid mold growth and moisture buildup.

Incorporate Insect Meal into The Feeds

Insect meal and insect protein have become the latest alternatives to feed protein sources such as soy. Insect meal contains over 80% protein, is highly economical, nutritious, and can be found locally. It is appropriate for livestock types like fish and poultry as insects are their natural food source. Furthermore, the health benefits of insect meal in animal feeds are not just limited to proteins. It is also rich in antimicrobial peptides and fatty acid content, which is extremely nutritious for your livestock.

Final Thoughts

As the consumption of meat products continues to increase, one thing is evident – producers and farmers must develop sustainable, cost-effective, and healthy animal feed management approaches. These strategies should combine outstanding functional properties and balanced nutritional composition.

As a result, farmers are exploring new protein sources, like insect meal, soybean meal, peas, etc., that are fundamental in the animal nutrition industry. Although this change cannot happen overnight, even the slightest changes could substantially affect your livestock's nutrition. Use this guide to understand how to make the most of your animal proteins.

Co-founder of Urban Splatter • Digital Marketer • Engineer • Meditator

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