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Production Animal Digestion and Nutrition Module

Not every type of animal can adequately process and utilize the nutrients in all types of feedstuffs. This presentation will provide a brief overview of the various digestive systems found in production animals. This grain module is brought to you by the Iowa Grain Quality Initiative, and was produced by the former Crop Adviser Institute.

Click here to access the Production Animal Digestion and Nutrition Module

Learning objective: Understand ruminant, avian, or non-ruminant animal digestive systems. Identify key nutrients, and potentially hazardous feed ingredients.

Introduction: Animals process and utilize nutrients in all types of feedstuffs differently based on their digestive system and life stage. There are several variations in digestive systems that limit what an animal can or cannot use for nutrition.

Digestion: A monogastric digestive system is characterized by a simple, glandular stomach. Humans, pigs, and birds have a monogastric digestive system. Members of the equine family are hindgut fermenters due to their enlarged hindgut. Cattle, sheep, and goats have a ruminant digestive system which is characterized by a four compartment stomach.

Nutrition: The basic nutrients of a balanced diet are carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, and vitamins. Water is not a nutrient, but is essential to life. Carbohydrates are utilized for energy, growth, and fat. Protein is especially important in young, growing animals as well as high producing adult animals. Minerals are distributed throughout the body and are needed in small amounts. Vitamins are responsible for tissue respiration, blood formation, and the well-being of the immune system.

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Publication Date: 09/2016

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