Livestock keeping is an enterprise whose main objective is to get profit at the end of the day. Much as we raise animals for our own benefit, they have rights such as the right to adequate, good, clean food.
It would be unfair for us to keep them and then deny them one of their basic needs.
The farmer anyway must feed the livestock well enough in order to achieve his or her desired results. It is about ensuring that livestock is food secure and healthy all the time.
Inputs such as feeds and medicines have to be in place and on time whenever needed. The farmer is, however, challenged with providing the inputs and earning profit. Most commercial farmers working on small plots have to buy feeds, which reduces their chances of making profit.
Regardless of their cost, inputs must be purchased from registered farm shops and should meet animal health and production purposes.
Other commercial livestock farmers working on large pieces of land may use locally available feeds such as grass and maize and greatly increase profits. But it is important for the farmer to learn how to mix the feeds to ensure that livestock is fed on a balanced diet.
Livestock farmers should also consider animal droppings as a commodity for sale or for improving their crop production.
If a farmer has sufficient land, the animals may graze freely, feeding on the grass that is available in the field and drinking the water in the valley.
However, it is always important for the farmer to regularly contact the area agricultural extension services officer for guidance about whether his livestock derive sufficient nutrition from the locally available feeds.
Animals and birds too need a diet that provides energy, protein, minerals, and vitamins. This is important, especially when the birds are laying eggs, or when the animals are pregnant or lactating. It has got to be born in mind that livestock is kept for a purpose — milk, eggs, or just meat — and feeding should be done with that purpose in mind.