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Animal Nutrition Terminology

Abomasum- The fourth stomach compartment of the ruminant; the true

Ad lib- As much as desired; abbreviation for ad libitum
Additives- Materials added to food to help manufacture and preserve it and
to improve its nutritive
value, palatability, and eye appeal
Alfalfa- A pasture or hay crop perennial having compound leaves with three
Alternate grazing- Hanging pastures or ranges so that the forage grows
back before it is grazed again
Amylase- An enzyme secreted by the pancreas and delivered to the small
intestine that aids in the
digestion of starch
Average daily gain- The calculation of an animal’s post weaning gain figured
by dividing the weight gain by the days on feed
Balanced ration- The daily allowance of livestock or fowl feed
Basal feed- A feed used primarily for its energy content
Bile- A digestive fluid produced by the liver
Bloat- An excessive gas accumulation in the rumen, abomasum, stomach, or
Bolus- A rounded mass of food
Bone Meal- The product of drying and grinding animal bones, not previously
steamed under pressure, and used as a stock feed
Bunker silo- A silo for storing silage, consisting of a wide trench constructed
in the side of a hill from which surface water has been diverted
By-pass protein- A protein that is heat or chemically treated so that it does
not get altered in the
ruminant stomach
By-Product- A product of significantly less value than the major product
Carbohydrate- Any of certain organic chemical compounds of carbon,
hydrogen, and oxygen,
which include sugars and starches
Cecum- The proximal part of the large intestine that forms a pouch
Cholesterol- One type of lipid that circulates in the blood; it plays an
important role in the
synthesis of bile, sex hormones and vitamin D
Chop- Animal feed of coarsely crushed or finely ground cereal grains
Chyle- A milky fluid consisting of lymph and triglyceride from the digestion
of food
Chyme- A semi-fluid, creamy substance resulting from the digestion of food
by gastric juice
Cloaca- A common passageway for fecal, urinary, and reproductive systems
in birds
Colic- Severe abdominal pain; technically means pertaining to the colon
Colon- The part of the large intestine located between the cecum and
Colostrum- The first milk-like substance produced by the female after
parturition; it is thick, yellow
and high in protein and antibodies
Complete ration- A single feed that fulfills all of the nutritional requirements
of an animal except for
Concentrate ratio- The amount of concentrates in comparison to the amount
of other feeds fed
Concentrate- A type of feed that is high in total digestible nutrients and low
in fiber (high energy feed like grain)
Conformation- The shape and body type of an animal
Constipation- A condition of prolonged gastrointestinal transit time, making
the stool hard, dry
and difficult to pass
Continuous grazing- Grazing for the entire grazing season
Coprophagia- The ingestion of fecal material; eating stool
Corn-fed- Designating an animal or fowl fattened on corn prior to marketing
Cottonseed- The seed of cotton after the lint has been removed. It is a
source of cottonseed
oil, the residue being used as a stock feed
Creep feed- A high energy feed that is fed to young animals in special feed
devices so that adult animals cannot gain access to the feed
Crop- A product of a harvest obtained by labor, from natural production or
wild growth
Crop pasture- A sown crop that is normally harvested but may be used for
pasture if necessary, as oats, wheat, soybeans, etc
Crude fiber- The parts of feeds containing the cellulose, lignin, and other
structural carbohydrates
as determined by the proximate analysis
Crude protein- A measure or estimate of the total protein in a feed
determined by multiplying
the total nitrogen content by 6.25
Crumbles- Crushed pellets of feed
Cud- Regurgitated food particles, fiber, rumen fluid, and rumen
microorganisms by ruminants
Cud chewer- A ruminant
Cured forage- Dry range grasses, harvested or standing, slightly weathered,
nutritious, and palatable
stock feed
Defecation- Movements of the bowels
Dehydration- A condition of excessive loss of body water or fluid
Diarrhea- Abnormal frequency and liquidity of fecal material
Diet- The type and amount of food and drink habitually ingested by a person
or an animal
Dietary fiber- The generic name for plant materials that are resistant to the
action of normal
digestive enzymes
Digestible energy- The proportion of energy in a feed that can be digested
and absorbed by an animal
Digestible nonnitrogenous nutrient- The total digestible nutrients less the
digestible protein in a
Digestible nutrient- That portion of a nutrient that can be digested and
absorbed into a human or an
animal body
Digestible protein- The proportion of protein in a feed that can be digested
and absorbed by an animal. Usually 50 to 80 percent of crude protein
Digestion- The process of breaking down foods into nutrients that the body
can use
Digestive tract- The mouth, esophagus, digestive organs, stomach or
stomachs, crop, gizzard, and the small and large intestines and anus
Displaced abomasum- A disease of ruminants in which the abomasum
dilates and migrates either to
the left or right of its normal position
Dry- To cause a pregnant cow to stop giving milk shortly before she delivers
her calf
Dry matter- The total amount of matter, as in a feed, less the moisture it
Duodenum- The proximal portion of the small intestine; located between the
pylorus and jejunum
Emaciation- Marked wasting or excessive leanness
Emulsification- The breakdown of large fat globules into smaller parts
Enrich- To add a substance or vitamin to food products
Epiglottis- The lid-like cartilage covering the larynx
Eructation- Belching or raising gas orally from the stomach
Esophagus- A collapsible tube that leads from the oral cavity to the stomach
Essential amino acid- Any of the amino acids that cannot be synthesized in
the body from other
amino acids or substances or that cannot be made in sufficient
quantities for the body’s use
Fat- The tissues of an animal that bear an oily or greasy substance
Fattening- The feeding of animals or fowls so that they put on fat
Feces- Solid body wastes expelled through the rectum
Feed additives- Material added to livestock feed that is not a nutrient but
enhances the growth
efficiency of the animal
Feed bunk- A forage and grain feeding station
Feed conversion ratio- The rate at which an animal converts feed to meat
Feed energy utilization- The percentage of energy obtained from a feed that
is used for an animal’s
bodily functions
Feed out- To prepare animals for market by fattening
Feedlot- A confined area where an animal is fed until it is slaughtered
Feedstuff- One of, or a mixture of, the substances that form the nutrients
and are not normally fed
by itself but is mixed with other feedstuffs to formulate a feed
Filler- The nonessential matter in a manufactured or mixed feed
Finishing- The increased feeding of an animal just prior to slaughter
Fitting cow ration- Ration fed to cows that are being prepared for
exhibition, sale or calving
Flatulence- Excessive gas formation in the gastrointestinal tract
Folic acid- A B vitamin found in the leaves of leguminous and other plants,
in yeast, liver meal,
and wheat.
Forage- That portion of the feed for animals that is secured largely from
leaves and stalks of plants,
such as the grasses and legumes used as hay
Forage crops- Those plants or parts of plants that are used for feed before
maturing or developing
Forage feeds- Bulky type feeds composed largely of pasture grasses, hays,
Forage legumes- Any of the legume plants that are grown or used largely as
forage for livestock,
such as alfalfa and clover
Fortified- Designating a product to which amounts of a vitamin, as vitamin A
or vitamin D have been added
Free-choice feeding- A type of feeding routine whereby feed, water, salt,
etc., are provided in unlimited quantities and an animal is left to regulate
its own intake
Free-ranging- Allowing animals, especially poultry, to roam freely and eat as
they wish without any sort of confinement
Fresh manure- recently excreted animal dung whose direct contact can be
harmful to plant tissues
because of rapid chemical and fermentive changes that take place
Gastric- Refers to the stomach
Gastrointestinal- The digestive tract
Gizzard- The muscular posterior stomach in birds
Grain-fed- Designating animals, such as cattle, which are being or have
been fattened for market
largely by the use of grain feeds
Grass- Cattle marketed directly off grass pastures and not grain-fed
Grazing- Feeding available to animals on ranges and pastures
Green chop- Green forage that is cut with a field chopper and hauled to lots
or barns for livestock feed in lieu of pasturing
Guaranteed analysis- In feed label or tags, a listing of certain nutrients,
usually crude protein,
crude fiber, fat, and ash, guaranteeing a minimum or maximum
percentage of each in the feed
Hair ball- The hair an animal has swallowed that has gathered in the
stomach in the form of a ball; common in the stomach of cats and in
the rumen of ruminants
Hand feeding- A type of feeding routine whereby an animal is fed measured
amounts of food, water, salt, etc. at fixed intervals
Hard feeder- An animal that stays in a thin condition even though well fed
Hardware disease- A condition found in ruminants in which metal objects,
such as wire, nails and screws, are swallowed with feed, and because of
their weight, lodge in the reticulum
Hay- Any leafy plant material, usually clover, fine-stemmed grasses and
sedges, alfalfa, and other legumes, that has been cut and dried
principally for livestock feed
Hay belly- A term applied to animals having a distended barrel due to
excessive feeding of bulky rations, such as hay, straw or grass
Haylage- Forage that could have been cut for hay but is stored with a higher
moisture content than hay, and with less moisture than silage
Herbivore- An animal that is able to sustain life by only eating plants
Impaction- An obstruction of an area usually with feed that is too dry
Inert ingredient- A substance in a feed, pesticide, etc. that does not act as a
feed, pesticide, etc.
Ingest- To eat, or take in food for digestion by way of the mouth
Intestine- The part of the digestive tract between the stomach and anus
Iron- A metallic element that is an essential constituent of blood hemoglobin
where it functions to transport oxygen
Jejunum- The middle portion of the small intestine; located between the
duodenum and ileum
Keratin- A fibrous protein that composes hair, epidermis, and nails
Ketone- A by-product of fat metabolism
Lactation- The process of forming and secreting milk
Lactose-A white crystalline disaccharide made from whey and used in
pharmaceuticals, bakery products, and confections
Laxative- A mild medicine used to relieve constipation
Lean to fat ratio- The amount of lean meat in a carcass compared to the
amount of fat
Legume- Roughage plants that have nitrogen-fixing nodules on their roots;
e.g. alfalfa and clover
Light feeder- An animal that is being fed for maintenance and normal
growth but not for quick finish or fattening
Lipase- A fat-digesting enzyme
Live weight- The gross weight of a live animal as compared with the dressed
weight after slaughter
Liver- Secretes bile and performs certain metabolic functions
Loose hay- Hay stored in the hay mow or stack without chopping, baling, or
Maintenance ration- The amount of feed needed to support an animal when
it is doing no work, yielding no product, and gaining no weight
Malabsorption- The impaired uptake of nutrients from the intestines
Malnutrition- An unhealthy condition resulting from either poor feed or lack
of feed
Mash- A ground feed or cereals and malt
Masticate- To chew; to prepare food for swallowing and digestion
Meat- The edible flesh of an animal
Metabolism- The processes involved in the body’s use of nutrients
Metabolizable energy- The total amount of energy in feed less the losses in
Milk-fed- Designating animals largely on dairy products
Milk replacer- A powder that, when mixed with water, is fed to young
animals as the milk portion of their diet
Mineral- A chemical compound or elements of inorganic origin
Mineral mixture- Any feed containing salt, limestone, phosphates, minor
Monogastric- An animal with one stomach compartments
Niacin- A vitamin of the B-complex group
Night stool- A rabbit’s nocturnal feces that are looser than normal and
contain vitamins and nutrients that the rabbit consumes
Nitrogen-free extract- The portion of a feed made up primarily of starches
and sugars
Nonessential amino acid- Amino acids that can be synthesized by the
animal’s body
Nutrient- A substance that favorably affects the nutritive processes of the
body; a food
Nutriment- Nourishment; nutritious substances; food
Nutrition- The sum of the processes by which an organism utilizes the
chemical components of food through metabolism to maintain the
structural and biochemical integrity of its cells
Nutritive additive- An additive that has some food value such as a vitamin or
Nutritive ratio- In animal feeds, the ratio or proportion between the
digestible protein and the digestible nonnitrogenous nutrients found by
adding the digestible carbohydrates plus the digestible fat multiplied by
2.25 and dividing the sum by the digestible protein
Nutritive value- The relative capacity of a given feed to furnish nutrition for
Obesity- Excessive fat accumulation in the body
Omasum- The third compartment of the ruminant stomach. Contains a mass
of suspended, parallel, rough-surfaced leaves that grind ingesta to a fine
Omnivore- An animal that sustains life by eating plant and animal products
Palatability- The degree to which a feed is liked or acceptable to an animal
Pancreatic juice- A secretion by the pancreas containing ferments that
contribute to digestion of foods
Pasture- An area for grazing animals
Pasture rotation- The practice of moving the herd from one field to another
after a few days of intensive pasturing
Paunch- Another name for the rumen
Pelleted feed- A pill-like or cubical type of animal feed made by forcing the
loose, bulky, or dusty feeds into small, uniform pellets by the use of
grinding, molding, and compressing machinery
Pelleted hay- Hay that has been highly compressed by passing through a
pelleting machine
Pepsin- A digestive enzyme secreted by glands in the stomach
Peptide- A compound made up of a series of amino acids
Protein- Any of a large number of complex, organic compounds of amino
acids that have a high molecular weight and are essential to all living
Proventriculus- Inflammation of the glandular stomach that often occurs in
growing chicks reared in confinement and occasionally in adult fowls
Rate of growth- The rate at which a young animal increases weight and
Ration- The amount of consumed by an animal in a 24-hour period
Ration of maintenance- The feed necessary to maintain the body of an
Rectum- The distal portion of the large intestine
Regurgitate- The return of swallowed food into the oral cavity
Reticulum- The most cranial compartment of the ruminant forestomach. Has
a honeycomb-textured lining
Roughage- A type of feed that is high in fiber and low in total digestible
nutrients (examples: pasture and hay)
Rumen- The largest compartment that serves as a fermentation vat of the
ruminant fore-stomach, also called the paunch
Rumen magnet- A smooth oblong magnet that is placed in the rumen to
collect small metal objects that are swallowed by the animal during
Ruminant- A cud-chewing animal that has a fore-stomach that allows for
fermentation of ingesta
Rumination- A series of digestive functions in ruminants that includes
regurgitation, remastication, and re-swallowing of regurgitated food
Saliva- A secretion from glands in the oral cavity that moistens food, aids in
bolus formation, and contains small amounts of digestive enzymes
Salt- Sodium chloride, a white crystalline compound occurring abundantly
in nature as a solid or in solution
Scour- To cleanse the bowels of an animal by purging
Scratch feed- The grain part of a ration for poultry that consists of cracked
or whole grain or a mixture of such grains
Secretin- A hormone produced in the intestine (duodenum) that controls the
secretion of the pancreatic juices or enzymes
Silage- A type of roughage feed that is produced by fermenting chopped
corn, grasses, or plant parts under specific moisture conditions to ensure
preservation of feed without spoilage
Silo- A pit, trench, aboveground horizontal container, or vertical cylindrical
structure of relatively air-tight construction into which green chops, such
as corn, grass, legumes, or small grain and other feeds are placed and
converted into silage for later use as a livestock feedstuff
Spoilage- Hay or forage that has been improperly cured or stored
Starter- The first food provided for young animals
Stomach- The digestive pouch at the distal end of the esophagus that
mechanically and chemically breaks down food
Stool- Fecal material from the digestive tract
Supplement- A feed or feed mixture that is relatively richer in a specific
nutrient than the basic feed ingredients in the ration to which it is added
Sweetfeed- Food that consists of grains and pellets mixed with molasses to
increase palatability
Taste- The flavor of a product as determined by placing the substance in the
Thiamin- A member of the vitamin B complex
Total digestible nutrients- All the nutrients consumed by an animal that are
digested and used; generally applied to proteins, carbohydrates and fats
Trace- To follow the course of nutrient elements in plants or animals
Triglyceride- One type of lipid that circulates in the blood
Trypsin- One of the principal proteolytic enzymes of the pancreatic
secretion in people and animals
Turgor- The degree of fullness or rigidity due to fluid content
Ungulate- Animals with hooves
Urea- The end product of protein metabolism found in urine, blood, and
Vegetarian- An herbivorous animal or person
Vent- The opening of the cloaca; the anus of a bird
Ventriculus- The muscular stomach of birds; also called the gizzard
Vigor- Healthy growth; having high energy
Vitamin- An organic substance, classified as either fat or water soluble, that
performs specific and necessary functions in relatively small
concentrations in an organism
Watering- Furnishing water for the consumption by animals
Wean- To make a young animal cease to depend on its mother’s milk
Zinc- A metallic chemical element; one of the micronutrient elements in
soils, essential for both plant and animal growth