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Why We Feed Animals

In the first place, we give various kinds of feed stuffs to our animals
that they may live. The heart beats all the time, the lungs contract and
expand, digestion is taking place, the blood circulates through the
body--something must supply force for these acts or the animal dies.
This force is derived from food.

In the next place, food is required to keep the body warm. Food in this
respect is fuel, and acts in the same way that wood or coal does in the
stove. Our bodies are warm all the time, and they are kept warm by the
food we eat at mealtime.

Then, in the third place, food is required to enable the body to
enlarge--to grow. If you feed a colt just enough to keep it alive and
warm, there will be no material present to enable it to grow; hence you
must add enough food to form bone and flesh and muscle and hair and fat.

In the fourth place, we feed to produce strength for work. An animal
poorly fed cannot do so much work at the plow or on the road as one that
receives all the food needed.

Both food and the force produced by it result from the activity of
plants. By means of sunlight and moisture a sprouting seed, taking out
of the air and soil different elements, grows into a plant. Then, just
as the plant feeds on the air and soil to get its growth, so the animal
feeds on the plant, to get its growth. Hence, since our animals feed
upon plants, we must find out what is in plants in order to know what
animal food consists of.

Plants contain protein, carbohydrates, fat, mineral matter, water, and
vitamins. You have seen protein compounds like the white of an egg, lean
meat, or the gluten of wheat. The bodies of plants do not contain very
much protein. On the other hand, all plant seeds contain a good deal of
this substance. Animals make use of protein to form new blood, muscles,
and organs. Because of the quality of protein, milk is the best food for
children and young animals.

The protein in some foods is of poor quality. To insure a well-balanced
supply of protein a variety in foods is desirable. Do not rely on a
single kind of mill feed, but combine several kinds, such as cotton-seed
meal, linseed meal, wheat bran and middlings, gluten, and similar grain
by-products. Tankage for young pigs and meat scraps for chickens are
high-grade proteins and are of animal origin.

It is no less important to get the necessary vitamins--those mysterious
substances that keep the body healthy and promote growth and well-being.
Scientists claim that many diseases are food-deficiency diseases--the
body gets out of order because these peculiar vitamins are lacking in
the food. Children require about one or two quarts of milk a day, fresh
fruits, cereal breakfast foods, leafy vegetables as salads, and cooked

Farm animals require the vitamins also. The legume pasture or hay, milk,
grain concentrates when supplied in variety, pasture grass, and green
forage crops are basic foods for farm animals. Very young animals should
have milk also.

Let us next consider the carbohydrates. Sometimes the words _starchy
foods_ are used to describe the carbohydrates. You have long known
forms of these in the white material of corn and of potatoes. The
carbohydrates are formed of three elements--carbon, oxygen, and
hydrogen. The use of these carbohydrates is to furnish to animal bodies
either heat or energy or to enable them to store fat.

In the next place, let us look at the fat in plant food. This consists
of the oil stored up in the seeds and other parts of the plant. The
grains contain most of the oil. Fat is used by the animal to make heat
and energy or to be stored away in the body.

The next animal food in the plant that we are to think about is the
mineral matter. The ashes of a burnt plant furnish a common example of
this mineral matter. The animal uses this material of the plant to make
bone, teeth, and tissue.

The last thing that the plant furnishes the animal is water--just common
water. Young plants contain comparatively large quantities of water.
This is one reason why they are soft, juicy, and palatable. But, since
animals get their water chiefly in another way, the water in feed stuffs
is not important.



1. Forms flesh, bone, blood, internal organs, hair, and milk.
2. May be used to make fat.
3. May be used for heat.
4. May be used to produce energy.


1. Furnish body heat.
2. Furnish energy.
3. Make fat.


1. Furnishes body heat.
2. Furnishes energy.
3. Furnishes body fat.

_Mineral Matter_

Furnishes mineral matter for the bones in the body.


Supplies water in the body.

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