Nutrients for Cattles

  • Feed can be described as the materials which give nourishment to animals.
  • The components of a feed which are capable of being utilized by the animal in life support functions are called nutrients.
  • Nutrients may also be defined as a specific element or compound derived from ingested food and used to support the physiological processes of life.
  • Nutrients are required for normal body functions such as digestion, respiration, blood circulation, locomotion, reproduction etc.
  • The major nutrients found in dairy animal feed are water, carbohydrates, proteins, minerals or ash and vitamins.


  • Water is the most abundant, the cheapest but the most important nutrient. Its importance can be estimated from the fact that life cannot exist without it and adult animal’s body contains 70-80% water. Moreover animal product such as milk contains a large amount of water (up to 83 to 87%).
  • All the biochemical and physiological reactions take place in water

Sources of Water in Animals: 

  • Drinking water which is the major portion of water consumed by an animal
  • Feed water which reaches the animal body along with feed. For example green fodder contains 75-95% moisture
  • Metabolic water which result from the metabolic activities of various nutrients present inside the animal body. For example one gram carbohydrates, one gram fat and one gram protein yield 0.60 ml, 1.70 ml and 0.42 ml metabolic water respectively


  • Carbohydrates are compound of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen in which the ratio of hydrogen to oxygen is almost the same as that in water.
  • Carbohydrates may be defined as polyhydroxy aldehyde or ketone or anhydrides of such derivatives.
  • These are synthesized in plant through photosynthesis.
  • Plants tissue may contain carbohydrates up to 50% of its dry weight in forages and about 80% in cereal grains

Functions of Carbohydrates:

  • They are the source of energy for animal
  • They are building stones for other nutrients
  • They are stored in animal body in form of glycogen
  • They give the filing effect to stomach


  • Lipids are organic compounds which are soluble in organic solvents and have important biochemical and physiological functions in body. Nutritionally important lipids are fats and oils. The building blocks of lipids are fatty acids and glycerol. Depending upon the number of fatty acids present in lipids they are classified as monoglycerides, diglycerides, and triglycerides. Fats are solid at room temperature while oils are liquid at room temperature. Waxes are esters of fatty acids with alcohols other than glycerol.


  • They supply energy
  • They provide heat insulation and protection from minor injury
  • They are source of essential fatty acid
  • They carry fat soluble vitamins
  • They play role in structural functioning


  • Proteins are complex organic compounds which are made up of amino acids. Like carbohydrates proteins are composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, but in addition nitrogen is also present. Some proteins also contain sulphur, iron and phosphorus. Proteins are found in large amount in muscles, cell membrane, skin, wool/hair, hormones and enzymes.

Functions of Proteins:

  • They have role in formation of body structure and tissues
  • They have regulatory function as osmotic pressure, water balance and pH
  • They are necessary for body hormones and enzymes
  • They are required for milk synthesis
  • They are involved in hereditary transmission
  • They play role in antibodies formation to develop immunity in body


  • Minerals are essential dietary constituents which are required in relatively small quantities. Animal tissue and feed contain about 45 mineral elements in varying quantities. On the basis of requirement minerals are classified as micro mineral and macro mineral

Functions of Minerals:

  • They give rigidity and strength to body skeleton
  • They are components of certain biomolecules such as proteins, phospholipids, mucopolysaccharides, hormones and vitamins
  • They also act as activator of many enzymes
  • As soluble salts, they play an important role in osmosis, acid base balance, muscle contraction and nerve transmission
  • Mineral status of animal also affects the balance of symbiotic micro flora of gastrointestinal tract, modulates immunity and helps the animals against stress.


  • Vitamins are complex organic compounds that are essential for life and good health.
  • These are classified as fat soluble vitamins and water soluble vitamins.
  • Fat soluble vitamins include A, D, E and K while water soluble vitamins are thiamin (B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), cobalamin (vitamin B12), choline, folic acid and ascorbic acid (vitamin C).

Feed Resources-

  • Conventional Feed Resources:
    Conventional feed resources refer to those which are traditionally used for animal feeding. In conventional feed resources include roughages and concentrates. Roughages are further classified as green roughages and dry roughages.
  • Non-conventional feed resources:
    Non-conventional feed resources are those which are not traditionally used for animal feeding but have the potential to be used as feed. Non-conventional feed resources include different agro industrial by products and wastes for example by products of the sugar industry, food and fruit processing industry and cereal industry. Urea and diammonium phosphate and other nonprotein nitrogen sources are also the examples of non-conventional feed resources.


  • Roughages are plant material in a fresh dried or ensiled state which are bulky and fibrous in nature and normally contain higher percentage of crude fiber (18%) and low percentage of TDN (less than 60%).
  • There are two types of roughages including green roughages and dry roughages.

Green Fodder-

Green Fodder:

  • Fodders, forages, range grasses, sugar cane tops, and tree leaves are the examples of green roughages.
  • Green roughages are high in moisture content, easily digestible and are commonly used for the feeding of dairy animals.
  • Pasture species which are naturally growing are called forages while those which are cultivated are called fodder
  • . Important legume fodders are barseem, lucern, shaftal, soyabean and cowpea. Non-leguminous fodders include many cereal fodder crops such as maize, sorghum, millet and oats.
  • On the basis of growing season green fodders are classified as Rabbi Fodders and kharif fodders.
  • Rabbi fodders are grown in November and December and include barseem, oats, barley, mustard/rape seed, lucern and sugar cane etc.
  • Kharif fodders are grown in May-June and include sorghum, millet, mott grass, sadabhar, guar, jantar, sugar beet tops

Dry Roughages-

  • Dry roughages include hays, straws. Hay is prepared by drying the fodder and then preserving it. farmers mostly prepare hay from lucern, sorgnhum, millet, oats and grasses. Hay is used during the scarcity period of fodder.

Balanced Ration-

  • It is the feed or feed mixture which contains all the essential nutrients in right quality and quantity as needed by the animals for maintenance, growth, work and production.
  • In order to meet the nutritive requirements, the amount of feed offered to an animal in twenty four hours is called ration. It can be classified as follows.
  • The ration of the animal should be well balanced and feeding trough/table should never be emptied.
  • The feed material should contain  greens roughages and concentrates so that the animal may get all the essential nutrients
  • Avoid sudden change in diet because it upsets the whole GIT resulting in indigestion and reduction in milk yield
  • The feed requirement of animal is calculated on dry matter basis. On average dairy animals consume 3 to 4 Kg dry matter per 100Kg body weight
  • Of the total dry matter requirement of the animal, two thirds should be met by roughages
  • To avoid mineral deficiency in the body, the animal should be offered to 70 to 100 g mineral mixture daily.
  • Feeding troughs should be cleaned regularly
  • The animals should get ad labium clean fresh supply of drinking waster
  • For milk production the animal should be given at least 1Kg concentrate mixture per 2 litres

Maintenance Ration-

  • The amount of balanced ration which is required to fulfill the maintenance need of a particular animal is called maintenance ration, maintenance requirement or maintenance allowance. This helps to keep the body weight of such an animal unaltered, since it is either, growing, not yielding milk, nor working. The maintenance ration has the following functions to be performed in the body.
  • To supply heat for the proper maintenance of body temperature
  • To supply energy for proper functioning of heart brain, lungs and other vital organs of the body
  • To repair the daily wear and tear of body tissue
  • To compensate the loss of minerals from the body
  • To provide essential nutrients, particularly vitamins for maintenance of life and well being

Production Ration-

  • The amount of feed mixture which is given to a growing, working or producing animal over and above its maintenance need is known as production ration.
  • This need is mostly met by feeding concentrate mixture to animals.

Ideal Ration-

  • That feed or feed mixture containing all the essential components of a balanced ration which has the ability to fulfill all the needs of a particular animal when given according to its body weight is called an ideal ration. It should possess the following characteristics:
  • It should contain all the essential nutrients like protein, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and   vitamins in the right proportion as needed by the body  It should be well balanced and economical
  • It should contain enough amount of crude fiber in order to stimulate the wall of gastrointestinal tract for maximum secretion and excretion of digestive juices
  • It should be nontoxic
  • It should be easily available locally
  • It should be easily digestible and palatable to animals

 Different formulations for milking animals are given below:

Ingredients Ratio (%)
   Maize Grains 18
Cotton seed cake 10
Rape seed cake 12
Wheat bran 10
Rice polishing 20
Rice bran 6
 Sunflower cake 10
Molasses 10
Mineral mixture 2
CaCo3 1
Urea 1
Total 100
CP% 18%
TDN 76%


Ingredients Ratio (%)
Cotton seed cake 15
Maize Flower 30% 20
Sunflower meal 5
Wheat Bran 18
Rice Polishing 15
Maize grains 10
Molasses 15
Mineral Mixture 2
Total 100
CP% 17.6%
TDN 75.3%


Ingredients Ratio (%)
Rape seed cake 15
Cotton seed cake 15
Rice Polishing 20
Wheat Bran 28
Maize grains 20
Mineral Mixture 2.
Total 100
CP% 16.17%
TDN 73.43%



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *