Do you know what is in the animal feed you use?

One of the most important things with raising livestock is to ensure they get the right food. Most importantly, it is vital to their health and wellbeing. In addition it has an impact on production, whether it is eggs, milk, meat, or other products. You may want to look at specific animal feed here to go along with pasture or silage. It can be a good addition to their diet, especially if you need an easy way to boost the intake of specific nutrients.

While proper feed can be really good for your animals, it is important to make sure you know what is in it. We want to have a look at common ingredients you can find in different feeds.

Three main groups

Like humans there will be three crucial groups of ingredients in the animal feed; energy sources, protein, and vitamins.

The first are vital for giving animals energy. Just like humans they need it to maintain bodily functions and for movement. Feeds can include a number of different ingredients that are great energy sources. Corn and maize are the most common, and can make up 50% of some feeds. They are a good choice because they also provide fibre, minerals, and vitamins. Some products can be wheat and others are even noodle waste instead.

Protein is essential for growth and repairing tissue damage. If you raise livestock for meat it is crucial. You also need it for poultry if you want to get good egg production. There are a number of potential protein sources in feeds, including synthetic amino acids (Lysine or Methionine), fish meat, soya beans, and palm kernel. You need to be careful here though because the specific ingredients can have a big impact on the cost. For example, synthetic amino acids and fish can be expensive.

Finally is the essential vitamins and minerals. Every diet needs to include them to support organ health, the immune system, and also repair cellular damage. There are plenty you need to make sure your animals get, including phosphorous, calcium, salt, and vitamins A, D, and E. These can come from a number of different sources.

Bone meal

One of the most controversial ingredients in some animal feed is bone meal. It is a mix of bones and other slaughterhouse products that have been processed and ground up. It can be very rich in calcium and phosphorous.

However, there are bans on it in various countries. There has been a ban in the UK since 1996. It means feeds should not contain meat or bone meal. The banning order was introduced following the BSE (mad cow disease) crisis.

This may change in the future though. There have been changes in the assessment of the risk, particularly with the belief that BSE is a thing of the past. Legislation in the EU and UK may change to allow non-ruminant products. As a result those that feature insect, poultry, or pig bone meal may be allowed at some point.

Talk to us if you need animal feed

At JS Hubbuck Ltd we know how vital good feed is. It is the foundation of healthy animals and can help to maximise production. It is important to be careful here though. Farmers should check exactly what is in the feeds to make sure they are suitable. Plus, they should think about the broader nutritional plan, including what nutrients and minerals they get from pasture.

If you have concerns about what animal feed you are giving to livestock, it is a good idea to speak to a vet or nutritionist. They can advise you on how to get a great diet and what to avoid. We are also happy to offer details too if you want to contact us.