Across all species and breeds, the importance of a balanced diet cannot be underestimated. This balance is important to maintain homeostasis in the body, where everything is maintained at the optimum level for health and performance.
There are many factors that contribute to getting the balance right.
Where the animal is in its life cycle affects its nutrition requirements. Growth requires more nutrients for bone and muscle development that for adults. Breeding animals require more energy and fatty acids to maintain hormone levels and produce eggs/sperm than in de-sexed animals. Lactation is a massive draw down on the body’s reserves and must be supported appropriately so has not to be to the detriment of the animal.
Start with the end in mind. What is being achieved through the use of this animal? What are we building to? If not thought out, we can overfeed and waste valuable nutrition, or underfeed and run out of time to achieve the maximum result possible.
What have we got to work with already? By using what we have readily available, we reduce out inputs, reducing costs of buying additional nutrition, as well as associated costs, like transport, the storage of the product, the time taken to fee d out additional feed etc.
Gut Function and Health
Gut bacteria are being found to have a much greater impact on health than previously they had been given credit for. The differences between fore gut fermenters or ruminants (sheep and cattle) and hind gut fermenters (horses) require specialised nutrition and actually often we are feeding the bacteria in order to feed the animal. We also now know that unhealthy gut bacteria can cause disease such as acidosis in cattle and laminitis in horses.
Concurrent illness and imbalances
Illness has an effect on the nutrition requirements of the animal, being unwell actually consumes more energy and nutrients in order to repair the damage and become healthy again. By taking these factors into account, along with our clients geographical location, animal husbandry practices and goals in mind, we can help get the balance right to achieve the goals together.