Many livestock operations and feed manufacturing facilities use animal supplements to improve the value of their products and animals. The viability of their business is directly linked to animal health and product quality. Whether you’re raising chickens for eggs, deer for hunting, or cows for dairy, the health of your animals has the greatest impact on your revenue. For feed manufacturers, revenue depends on the quality that their products bring to livestock farmers and their animals. To this end, many agricultural producers are beginning to use animal supplements in order to protect their assets and ensure the greatest profitability.
Animal Supplements That Enhance Livestock Health
It’s said that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and nowhere is this truer than working in agriculture. Diseases and malnutrition are among the most common threats to a farm’s overall stability; thus, most farmers look to using their livestock feed as the first line of defense against common health problems for their livestock. Livestock feed additives are popular because they allow agricultural operations to quickly and cheaply bolster the nutrition and overall health of their herds and flocks.
Animal supplements are used for almost every type of livestock, including cows, poultry, aquaculture, swine, equines, deer, and even common domestic household pets. Some of the most common animal supplements include:
- Cereal silage
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- Mold inhibitors
- Palm kernel
A variety of scenarios can merit the use of additives. However, supplements are most frequently used to address nutritional deficiencies. These deficiencies can arise due to a number of reasons, including:
- Lack of food due to competition, overpopulation, or seasonal changes
- Poor nutritional value of available food
- Medical conditions affecting the digestive tract of animals
- Genetic conditions
Supplements can be administered directly to animals or mixed in with their feed. Some livestock feed manufacturers sell high quality feeds that already contain animal supplements. It should be noted that animal supplements should only ever be used in conjunction with an adequate diet, and not in lieu of one.
The Role of Animal Supplements
Animal supplements can serve different purposes, depending on their intended recipients, as well as the needs of the operation. As noted earlier, most animal supplements are used to address certain nutritional deficiencies that can occur in particular climates, or are common in specific breeds of animals.
For instance, ruminant animals, such as dairy cows, often struggle with consuming enough food to sustain an adequate supply of energy. Because of this, some farms elect to use molasses as an energy supplement for their herds.
Herds of deer, on the other hand, tend to face difficulties acquiring enough protein to develop into strong, physical trophy-worthy specimens popular among hunters. To address this issue, deer breeding operations use specially formulated animal supplements to boost the availability of protein consumed by young bucks. The result is increased growth rates and antler sizes.
In a more general sense, animal supplements can also be used in the pursuit of food preservation. Mold inhibitors help producers reduce feed costs by avoiding spoilage, ensuring that livestock feed remains fresh for extended periods of time.
Why Your Livestock Could Need Animal Supplements
Not all livestock operations require constant use of additives. However, the complexity and diversity of operating environments means that most operations will use animal supplements in one form or another. Usually, this is influenced by livestock health, disease, breeding issues, low production rates, seasonal changes, and other factors. If your livestock consumes the majority of their diet through foraging, animal supplements should be used year-round to maintain optimal levels of health.