The Top 8 Ingredients to Look For In Quality Animal Feed

Oliver Jay

Like humans, animals require certain nutrients in their diets for healthy growth and development. Nutritional deficiencies are actually one of the leading causes of livestock failure worldwide. 

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Therefore, examining each ingredient in an animal feed carefully before purchasing the product is imperative. Listed below are some of the top nutrients that should never miss in high-quality animal feeds.

Farmer giving granules to cows

Protein-rich Nutrients

Protein is the second-most important nutrient required by all living organisms, coming only after water. The nutrient serves as the building blocks for the development of all tissues in the body. These include tissues in the muscles, skin or coat, hair or fur, bone, and visceral organs. 

Due to its high involvement in muscle and tissue development, protein is particularly essential for younger animals. Feeding your livestock protein-rich diets is an ingenious way of ramping up meat production. 

The following are the top protein sources in animal feeds;

  1. Soy
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Soy, also known as soybeans or soya beans, are the greatest source of natural protein. These legumes provide more protein than any other food source. 

A 100-gram serving of raw soybeans boasts as many as 36 grams of protein. So, it’s unsurprising that soybean meal (SBM) is the primary source of protein and amino acids used in animal feed products worldwide. 

SBM is especially beneficial for monogastric livestock like poultry and pigs. However, other farm animals can also benefit immensely from the high protein content in these formulations. 

Besides protein, soya beans also provide a decent amount of other useful nutrients. These include dietary fiber, vitamin K1, copper, and the anti-estrogenic compounds isoflavones. 

  1. Palm Kernel

Palm kernel is another plant-based protein commonly found in livestock feed. 

The product has a considerably lower protein content than many protein sources in animal feeds. However, it’s comparatively cheaper and higher in dietary fiber. 

Dietary fiber induces the sensations of fullness for longer between meals. Therefore, fiber-rich products like palm kernel can help in controlling the food portions your livestock consumes. It’s a proactive way to keep the weight of certain animals, particularly pets like cats and dogs, in check.

  1. Fish Meat

Processed seafood has been considered the go-to protein source for livestock for years. That’s mainly due to its high concentration of amino acids. 

The amino acids in fish meat are incredibly energizing. 

The compounds can provide your livestock with the energy they require to lead active lifestyles. They’re especially important for beasts of burden. 

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The farmer hand-feeds his hens with grain. Natural organic farming concept
  1. Carbohydrates

We’ve already alluded to protein’s energizing properties. However, if you’re looking for animal feeds purely based on their energy-giving benefits, it’s best to look for high-carb products. 

Just remember to go slow on carbohydrates as excess consumption could trigger spikes in blood sugar levels. Besides, eating too much carbohydrate might lead to unintentional weight gain. 

That said, here are the most reliable carbohydrates animal feeds should contain;

  • Corn Grits

Corn grits or maize is one of the primary sources of carbohydrates in farm animal feeds. It can often constitute as much as 50% of the product’s net weight. 

What makes corn such a reliable carbohydrate source is its high concentration of healthy simple sugars. 

Corn grits are also high in insoluble fiber. This type of fiber is famous for its stool-bulking properties, which makes it effective at maintaining regular bowel movements. 

  • Wheat

Wheat is another energy-giving food that must never miss in high-quality livestock feed. The ingredient can provide your farm animals with the energy they need to work, play, and go about their other businesses. 

However, the main function of wheat in animal feeds is that it serves as a binding agent. In other words, the compound keeps the other ingredients together. 

Besides, wheat can double as a minor source of plant-based protein.

Veterinarian giving granules to piglets
  1. Vitamins and Minerals

The last category of essential ingredients in animal feeds is by no means the least. 

Livestock require nearly the same types of minerals and vitamins as humans. The only difference is in the recommended daily intake (RDI) values. 

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Minerals and vitamins can boost your livestock’s immune systems and repair cellular damages. Others support the healthy function of vital organs. 

Among the most important minerals and vitamins in animal feeds include;

  • Salt

Salt is a flavor-enhancer that can boost the taste of otherwise unpalatable foods. It’s one of the natural ways to treat inappetence in livestock. 

Salt also plays a role in regulating the electrolyte balance in an animal’s body. Besides, certain salts like potassium may improve heart and cardiovascular health.

  • Bone Meal

Bone meal is a by-product of processed remnants of slaughtered livestock. The product is rich in phosphorus and calcium. 

The high amounts of calcium and phosphorus in bone meal are necessary for healthy bone formation. These two minerals are involved in many other useful physiological processes in an animal’s body.

  • Seashells

While bone meal is the preferred calcium source in livestock feed, the mineral is also abundant in seashells. 

Note that you may find eggshells used as a replacement for seashells since the latter tends to be expensive and relatively unavailable.

side view of beagle dog eating dog food isolated on white

Summary

Reading the ingredients list is the surest way to ensure you’re buying high-quality animal feeds. The next best method is to source these products from reputable suppliers. 

You can tell that an animal feed trader is credible by checking the duration they’ve been in the industry and the kind of feedback posted by some of their past clients. 

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