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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.


vlivestock vaccines cow buffalo


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 (upto 83 to 87%).  


Dairy Lac Wanda for Cow Buffalo and Meat


Matra Asia Wanda Dairy Feed

Functions of Water:

  • It is an essential part of all body tissues

  • It helps in maintenance of body temperature and pH

  • It helps in digestion, absorption and excretion

  • It helps in respiration by moistening alveoli  

  • It helps in the transportation of nutrients to different parts of the body

  • It acts as solvent for many constituents of body nutrients

  • It protects the various vital organs against outer shocks and injuries

  • It acts as a cushion for tissue cells and nervous system

  • It provides shapes to the body cells

  • It maintains proper fluid and ion balance in body

  • All the biochemical and physiological reactions take place in water

Matra Asia Fodder Seeds - Rods Grass, Rye Grass, Alfalfa, Lucern, Pakistan Fodders

Sources of Water in Animals:
There are three sources of water:

  • 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.

Classification of Carbohydrates:
Carbohydrates are divided into three main groups:

Monosaccharides – Monosaccharides are simple sugars which cannot further be hydrolyzed. They are the building block of more complex carbohydrates. They may be subdivided into trioses (having three carbons), tetroses (having four carbons), pentoses (having five carbons), hexoses (having six carbons) and heptoses (having seven carbons). Glucose, fructose, mannose and ribose are the examples of simple sugars.

Disaccharides – Disaccharides are compound sugars which are composed of two monosaccharides. These mononsaccharides are connected through glycosidic linkage.  Sucrose, maltose, lactose and cellobiose are the examples disaccharides.

Polysaccharides – Polysaccharides are complex sugars which contain a large number of monosaccharides. These are not sweet in taste that is why also called as non sugars. These are further classified as structural and non structural carbohydrates.

Structural polysaccharides - Most of the cell wall in plant is composed of structural polysaccharides in the form of cellulose and hemicelluloses. These polysaccharides provide structural support for plant tissue. Like starch, cellulose and hemicelluloses are also made of glucose units but are less digestible due to complex linkages among the glucose units. The structural carbohydrate content increases with the maturity of plants.

Non structural polysaccharides - Starch is one of the most important non structural and non fibrous polysaccharide found in plants, particularly in grains ad tubers. Most of the plant glucose is stored in the form of starch. Starch contains amylose and amylopectin in variable concentrations. Starch from different sources varies in its digestibility.

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. Plants and some bacteria are the original sources of all proteins because they have ability to synthesize their own proteins.

Amino acids present in protein are associated with each other by peptide linkages. The type of amino acids present in protein molecule and their relative proportion and arrangement are unique for each protein. Nutritional value of protein depends primarily on its amino acid composition. From nutritional point of view amino acids are grouped as essential and non essential amino acids.

Essential amino acids are those, which body cannot synthesize and they are required to be supplied in the diets. So they are dietary essential. On the other hand non essential amino acids are those which body can synthesize through transamination. Essential amino acids include threonine, valine, histidine, arginine, lysine, leucine, isoleusine, methionine, phenyalanine, and tryptophan. Non essential amino acids include hydroxyproline, proline, alanine, serine, cystine, gycine, glutamic acid, aspartic acid, tyrosine, and citrulline.

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 micromineral and macromineral. Macrominerals are those which are required in relatively large amounts while micro minerals are those which are required in small amount. Microminerals are also called trace elements. Calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chlorine, magnesium and sulphur are the examples of some macrominerals while iron, zinc, manganese, copper, cobalt, iodine, selenium, chromium and molybdenum are the examples of some microminerals. Animal body contains 3-5% minerals on empty body weight basis.

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 microflora 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),  pyridoxamine (vitamin B6), cobalamin (vitamin B12), choline, folic acid and ascorbic acid (vitamin C).


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