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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