1Reabing= Coure for farmers
PUBLISHED BY THE COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE OF CORNELL UNIVERSITY,
FIOM NOVEMBER TO MARCH, AND ENTERED AT ITHACA AS SECOND-
CLASS MATTER UNDER ACT OF CONGRESS OF JULY 16, 1894.
S. W. FLETCHER, Supervisor.
SERIES II. ITHACA, N. Y., No. 6.
STOCK FEEDING. NOVEMBER, 1901. BALANCED RATIONS.
BALANCED RATIONS FOR STOCK.
BY A. L. KNISELY.
AVID and John lived on the outskirts of a village, but on opposite
sides of it. One Saturday morning there was an auction sale in
town, and among the articles sold were several fine grade milch
cows. David and John each bought two cows. These cows were fresh ";
they had been giving milk for about a month. Each cow gave an average
of twenty-five to thirty pounds of milk a day. Both men intended to buy
feed for their cows and to sell their milk to the village people. These cows
FIG. 65. An animal may be likened to a machine, with which to convert raw
material, as grain and coarse fodder, into the manufactured product-as milk.
State of Ne York-Deartment of Agriculture.-Farmers' Reading-Course Bulletin No, 6,
were to be used as machines with which to convert raw material, as grain
and coarse fodder, into the manufactured product, milk.
About three months later I heard that David had sold his two' cows
to John. He complained that they had steadily fallen off in milk since
he had bought them, until each cow gave scarcely fourteen pounds a day.
John's cows were still giving thirty pounds a day. Here was a differ-
ence of sixteen pounds, or over one-half, in three months. What was the
It at once occurred to me that John must have given his cows better
care than David. I went to each man and asked him how he had fed his
cows. David said he had given each cow a small armful of timothy
hay and three or four quarts of cornmeal every morning and night.
He did not think it was necessary to feed his cows any particular kinds
of food in order to get the most milk from them. Anything the cows
would eat was good enough, if only it filled their stomachs and satisfied
John said that he gave each of his cows a daily ration of about twenty
pounds of clover hay, three pounds of wheat bran and six pounds of
ground oats. He believed that a cow needs variety in what she eats, as
well as a man; and he tried always to give his cows an occasional relish
of carrots, turnips, small potatoes, or even apple parings from the
But the chief reason for John's success was not because he gave his
cows a greater variety of food than David, but because he fed them those
foods that are well suited for the production of milk. David gave his
cows a liberal allowance of hay and cornmeal. These are both good
foods for making fat, but are not rich in those materials which a cow
needs in order to increase her flow of milk. They are better for fattening
steers than for feeding heavily to milch cows. In other words, John had
been feeding a balanced ration, and David an unbalanced ration. This
leads us to inquire about some of the principles or reasons why under-
lying the proper feeding of animals.
An animal may be likened -to a machine.-There is wear and tear in its
various parts. As we shovel in coal at the furnace door to make the
energy which will turn the great wheels of the shop, so is food taken into
the body to supply energy and to repair the waste that results from
using the body. In the first place there must be enough of this food, or
fuel, to do all the work; and in the second place it must contain that which
is needed to build up those parts of the body that are wearing out.
1. Some of the offices of food.
There are two purposes for which foods are required: to maintain or
support the animal, or the maintenance ration; and to lay up an extra
or reserve supply, or the productive ration.-A maintenance ration will
maintain the bodily heat and repair the normal wastes of the animal. A
productive ration, over and above the amount required for maintenance,
FIG. 66. An old-time way of feeding. "Anything the cows would eat was good
enough, if it only filled their stomachs and satisfied their hunger."
may fatten the animal, support the flow of milk, or be turned in various
other directions. The profit in feeding comes in supplying more than a
mere maintenance ration. It is not enough simply to have an animal
which is alive: we wish it to do something or to provide something
An idle animal needs less food than one which is hard at work.-
A locomotive does not require nearly as much fuel to keep up steam
when it is running "-light as when drawing a freight train on an up
grade. The little driving mare which stands in your barn most of the
time must have some food to renew the energy used up in breathing,
pumping blood throughout her body, and other wastes; but the big team
which has to pull the plow all day or to sled logs out of the swamp must
have more abundant fare.
It is a tax on a cow to give a big Row of milk, as it is on a horse to do
a hard day's work.-There are other ways of using up energy than by
hard work with the muscles. Each of John's cows spent energy in pro-
ducing thirty pounds of milk a day, as well as a big Percheron horse
does -in a heavy day's work before the plow. The food David gave
his cows cost enough, and there was enough of it; but it was not the right
kind for the production of milk. Probably David did not know how milk
is produced by the cow. That is one reason why he failed to make his
Many kinds of food are required by stock.-We can be sure of this
statement by studying the composition of the animal's body; also by
reflecting on the many kinds of work that an animal does. The body of
an animal is made mostly of water, mineral matter, nitrogenous matter
(substances which contain nitrogen), and fat.
There is always much water in all parts of the animal body. Often
one-half of an animal is water. Water itself becomes a part of all bone
and flesh, but one use is to carry building material, just as it is in plants.
(See Farmers' Reading-Course Bulletin No. 4.) The blood is largely
water. When an animal eats, the food goes into the stomach and intes-
tines, and is there acted upon by different juices. The parts of the food
that may be useful then pass into the blood through the walls of the
intestines and are carried to every part of the body. Water also helps to
carry off the wastes or worn-out parts of the body.
The mineral matter in the body of an animal is found mostly in its
bones. Flesh and muscle are so soft that they cannot stand hard use
alone, and so they are plated on a bony framework. From two to five
per cent of the animal's body is mineral matter.
Nitrogenous matter is a term the chemist uses fdr all substances of the
body which contain nitrogen. This is the same element that is used by
farm crops, for plants as well as animals must have nitrogen. Flesh,
skin, muscle, hair, wool,.horn, hoof, feathers, blood, lean meat, the white
of an egg and the curd of milk are rich in nitrogen. When you put horn
and hoof waste or dried blood on your land they give up their nitrogen
to the plants, and thus have a fertilizer value.
The fat of an animal varies with its age, the amount of work it has
to do, and the food it gets. The lean animal seldom has less than
five per cent of fat, and the fattest has not much above thirty per cent
Fat is a sort of store or reserve supply of food. Late in the fall a fat bear
goes to sleep in a hollow tree. When he comes out, in the spring, his
ribs show through his hide. He has lived on the reserve fat which was
stored in his body when autumn nuts and berries were abundant.
Fat keeps the body warm.-All the higher animals are warm-blooded.
This body heat must come from the food. That is why most animals eat
more food in cold weather than in warm weather; and why a man relishes
fat meat more in winter than in summer. The Esquimaux and other
people of very cold climates live almost wholly on fatty meats and oils.
They need large quantities of the heat-giving foods to keep them warm.
Fat-producing materials are given to the animals, sometimes in the
form of fats, but mostly as starches and sugars; carbohydrates, the
FIG. 67. The two kinds of work. It is a tax on a cow to give a big flow of milk, as
it is a tax on a brawny ox to do a hard day's work in the yoke.
chemist calls them, because they are made of carbon and water. After
being taken into the body these carbohydrates are changed into fat.
Generally it is better not to feed an animal fat directly, but to feed
Carbohydrates make up the larger part of all dried plants, including
all kinds of hay and fodder. We often hear a farmer speak of corn
as heating." In the winter he will feed more cracked corn to his
horse and more cornmeal to his hens than in summer. This is a fairly
good practice, but very often the farmer does not know why. It is because
the corn kernel is full of _starch grains-starch is a carbohydrate-
and after the animal has eaten it the wonderful chemistry of the stomach
turns it into energy or heat-producing fat.
The nitrogenous parts of food, which are sometimes called protein
or proteids, build up the working parts of the body.-They largely make
lean flesh, blood, muscle, skin, hair, wool, feathers, etc., and are
especially needed in making milk. If you are keeping cows for
their milk, sheep for their wool, horses for their muscle, or even geese
for their feathers, it would be wise to feed them enough protein best to
develop the desired parts in each. This means that you ought to know
the food value of everything you feed to your animals. You ought to
know whether it will tend to fatten the cow or to increase her flow of
milk; whether it will tend to fatten the hen and make her lazy, or give
her the material for more eggs.
Some of the common feed-stuffs which are especially rich in protein
are meat and blood meal, linseed meal, cotton-seed meal, gluten feeds,
buckwheat middlings, and many other concentrated foods.
2. The ration.
The different kinds of hay, grain, etc., contain all these nutrients-water,
mineral matter, protein, carbohydrates, and fat. But the point is this-in
feeding animals the feeder should increase or diminish the supply of each
of these nutrients according to the end in view. That is, he should feed
a balanced ration. We need not bother much about the water and mineral
matter, in ordinary feeding. Enough of both are supplied in ordinary
food and drink, although we should always satisfy the craving of cows
and horses for salt and other appetizers.
David was feeding timothy hay and cornmeal, both of which are poor
in protein. What he wanted was milk, and the production of milk requires
a ration containing more protein. He gave his cows a ration deficient- in
protein, and so the flow dwindled down to fourteen pounds of milk. Then
David wondered why he did not get thirty pounds, as John did. Probably
he upbraided the man for selling him such cows; and, in fact, it may have
been in part due to the cows.
On the other hand, the hay and meal which David was feeding are
very rich fat-forming foods. He was not only stinting his cows on milk-
producing food, but was also giving them more fattening food than the
cows really needed. John was feeding a balanced ration; David was
feeding an unbalanced ration. It will pay every farmer who reads this
to find out whether he is not abusing his animals and robbing himself,
as David did. .
A balanced ration is one which contains protein, carbohydrates and fat
in those proportions which experience has shown to produce the best
results; the composition of a ration should vary with the different animals
and with the end in view.-What is a balanced ration for a horse may
not be for a sheep. Again a particular ration may be balanced for
a cow when she is in milk, but not when we wish to fatten her for the
butcher.. A ration
suitable for a hard-
worked ox may not
be a good one for this
ox during a period of
When an animal is
working hard there is
a great strain on the
muscles, tendons, etc.,
orF working ma-
chinery, of the body.
This is best kept in
order .by feeding a
ration which contains
a suitable proportion
of the repairing and
trient, protein. If the FIG. 68. The pig may require different food from that
given the cow. If you are fattening hogs, feed largely
animal is at in of the fat-makers, or carbohydrates. But if you are
the stall there is no milking cows, feed heavier with proteids.
severe strain on the
working machinery of the body, and in such cases rations containing
smaller proportions of protein as compared to the carbohydrates and fat
may be fed.
Only a part of the protein, carbohydrates and fat is digestible.-Foods
are valuable as sources of nourishment only in so far as they can be
digested and taken up by the body. The chemist analyzes a food and tells
how much protein, carbohydrates and fat it contains, but he is unable to
say how much of each is digestible.
Only a portion of the food ingredients which are eaten is digested and
rendered soluble by the changes they undergo in the mouth, stomach and
intestines. The portion which is dissolved in the digestive fluids is the
only part of the food which the body can use, and from this alone the
animal is nourished. The undigested part passes on and out of the body as
excrement. This undigested part is of no food value to the animal.
The value of feeding-stuffs to the farmer depends upon the amount
of material that they contain which is readily digested.-Chemical analy-
sis of a feed-stuff shows the total amount of nutrients which it con-
tains, but how much of this the animal can digest can be found
only by carefully conducted feeding experiments with farm animals.
Many such experiments have been conducted with each of the common
food-stuffs, so that at the present time there are many tables of figures
giving for each feeding-stuff the digestible part of its protein, carbo-
hydrates and fat, and the total amount of each of these as shown by
In practical feeding experiments it has been found that one pound of
digestible fat in a food-stuff will go as far in the production of heat or
energy as 2% pounds of digestible carbohydrates. Therefore in esti-
mating the food value of a feed-stuff it is customary to multiply the
amount of fat which it contains by 24 in order to get its equivalent in
The proportion between the digestible protein and digestible.carbo-
hydrates + (fat x 24) in a given food is called the nutritive ratio."-
When we know the digestible nutrients in a food we can easily find
its nutritive ratio. Thus a given food contains 2 parts digestible pro-
tein, Io parts digestible carbohydrates and I part fat. The I part fat
is equivalent to 21/4 parts digestible carbohydrates. Ten parts carbo-
hydrates + 24, gives 12% parts of digestible carbohydrates. Then this
particular food contains digestible nutrients equivalent to 2 parts protein
and 12Y parts carbohydrates; that is, for each part of digestible protein
there are 68 parts of digestible carbohydrates and fat. Therefore this
food has a nutritive ratio of i: 68.
To find the nutritive ratio of any food add the amount of digestible
fat x 2Y4 to the amount of digestible carbohydrates and divide this sum by
the amount of digestible protein.-A nutritive ratio shows how many
equivalents of digestible carbohydrates there are for one of digestible pro-
tein. The greater the number of these carbohydrate equivalents for one
of protein the wider is the nutritive ratio, and the fewer the number the
narrower is the nutritive ratio. Hence we use the terms wide and
" narrow rations.
This subject will be pursued further, with practical application, in
Bulletins 7 and/8. One cannot be dogmatic on these feeding questions,
nor lay down hard and fast rules of practice; but enough can be said to
put the feeder on the right track.