Hooo-Hooo Volume 10, Nr 3 - Page 11

• • A sudden introduction to a diet that differs from the previous one (even if it’s only forage) could cause acidosis, rumenitis, red gut and other rumen related disorders. • Why: • These feeds commonly contain highly digestible nutrients, like energy in the form of starch, which can cause sickness in an unadapted animal. • The fibre lengths of pelleted feed is too short (between 3 to 12mm in length). Longer fibre length allows the rumen optimal rumination, slowing the passage rate of feed, and allowing all the microbes a chance to do their job. • Another point to remember is if some of the animals should get a full belly of this feed for a few days, they will run the risk of possibly getting ill and being diagnosed with one of the above mentioned disorders. Self-mix semi adlib feeds should have the fibre lengths of greater than 2.5 to 3.5cm. Diets with longer fibre lengths, allow the rumen to work properly. When self-mix feeds satisfy the above mentioned criteria and are then compared to pellets, the feed poses less of a risk to the animal (rumen related disorder), if and when an animal should over eat. These also need to be fed gradually increasing the intake over a few weeks. • REMEMBER: ADDLIB HAY MUST ALWAYS BE SUPPLIED IN A SEPARATE BOWL Water and water supplements • Fresh, clean water should be supplied to the animals daily. • Water bowls need to be cleaned periodically • Do not place the feed bowls to close to the water source, the animals will simply walk from the feed to the water, and what is still in their mouths will fall into the water, so by letting the animals walk a few hundred meters to the water, they will have enough time to actually swallow the feed • If there are any concerns about the quality of the water, get the water analysed for its chemical composition. Send the results to a qualified animal nutritionist or veterinarian with a good background in water quality for interpretation. After paying for the analysis and advice – follow it! • Water should be offered to animals in clean square or volume-based water containers – where it is easy to determine the amount of water at any given time. • There are supplements on the market that can be added to water; • Mineral supplements • Mineral and vitamin supplements • Supplements that assist in digesting browse and graze in the dry mon ˂ MSBLB