Nutrient Requirements Of Working Animals

Researchers have determined the nutrient requirements of working animals. Ruminants have received the most attention.[1] However, interest in the performance of working horses and donkeys has increased in recent years and their requirements are now more fully understood.1-2-1 The main requirement for work is energy. Extra requirements for protein, minerals, and vitamins for work are small and can usually be met by the increase in food given to meet the additional energy requirements. Energy requirement during a working day is more closely related to distance covered than to the draft force required to pull the implement or cart. Hence, animals doing light work such as pulling a cart can expend more energy in a day than animals doing heavy work such as plowing. Even when oxen are working for 6 7 hours a day, their total energy expenditure on a working day is rarely more than two times maintenance requirements. Horses and donkeys can exceed a requirement of 2 x maintenance in a working day, but this is usually only when they are working steadily for six or more hours per day.

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