Animal Nutrition (Malnutrition)


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In today’s class, we will be talking about animal nutrition (malnutrition). Enjoy the class!

Animal Nutrition (Malnutrition)

Animal Nutrition (Malnutrition)

Malnutrition in farm animals

Malnutrition is said to occur when a ration (amount of feed provided to an animal per day) does not provide all the food nutrients (carbohydrate, protein, fats and oils, vitamins, minerals, water and other feed additives) in adequate quantities. Those nutrients wanting are said to be deficient which eventually results in nutritional disease.

Nutritional deficiency is therefore defined as a disease condition which emanates from inadequate nutrition. It is indicated by specific symptoms when particular nutrients are absent or unavailable in the diet.

The table below shows some nutritional disease, their causes, symptoms and how they can be corrected.

Malnutrition diseases of animals
Rickets (Osteomalacia) Lack of Ca, P and Vitamin D Flexible and curve bones, soft eggshell Add fish meal, bone meal or Oyster shell
Perosis or Slipped tendon. Lack of choline, folic acid, Ca, P in the diet. Chicken lie down on their Kneel. Add Vitamin B Co and bone meal.
Ketosis Lack of sufficient energy intake by farm animals Loss  of appetite Feed CHO to animals.
Milk Fever Low blood sugar. Loss of appetite, constipation and nervousness. Feed Oyster Shell, bone meal and Carbohydrate.
Baby pig Anaemia Low iron in the blood. Loss of appetite and nervousness. Inject iron dextrin into the body.
Night Blindness Lack of Vitamin A Inability to see clearly in dim light. Feed yellow maize.
Scurvy Lack of vitamin C Lesions around the connective tissue. Feed vegetable and fruits to animals.
Beriberi Lack of VitaminB1 Lack of appetite, fatigue and loss of weight. Feed yeast, cereals and vegetables.
  • Rickets (osteomalacia): A disease caused by a lack of Vitamin D and disappearance of calcium salts which prevent the body from using Calcium. Rickets causes softening and sometimes bending of the bones.
  • Tendon: A tough, strong band or cord of tissue that joins a muscle to a bone or some part and transmits the force of the muscle to the part.
  • Scurvy: A disease caused by lack of Vitamin C in the diet. It’s characterized by swollen and bleeding gums, extreme weakness and livid spots on the skin.
  • Tetany: A disease characterized by sudden abnormal involuntary contraction of the muscle.
  • Beriberi: Disease affecting the nervous system accompanied by muscular paralysis, weakness, extreme loss of weight, pain and swelling. It is caused by lack of vitamin B in the diet.

Disease in animal

(a) Rickets in sheep                                              (b) Slipped tendon (perosis) in poultry


  1. What is malnutrition in farm animals?
  2. What is a nutritional deficiency?
  3. Highlight five malnutritional diseases; causes, symptoms and corrections.


A ration is defined as the feed that is regularly offered to or consumed by the animal. Diets are formulated to meet specific metabolic or physiological functions which include growth, lactation, reproduction, maintenance of pregnancy, egg-laying, weaning, fattening etc.

  • Balanced ration:

A balanced ration is a feed containing all essential nutrients in the right or correct and adequate proportion for feeding animals. Components or compositions of a balanced ration include carbohydrate, protein, fats and oil, minerals, vitamins and water.

In balancing ration, the nutrients values of the feed components are known. The nutrient requirement or standards are also known.

  • Imbalanced ration:

An imbalanced ration is a feed that does not contain all essential nutrients in the correct and adequate proportion for feeding livestock.


  1. What is ration?
  2. What is a balanced ration?
Categories of a balanced ration

There are two categories of balanced ration.

  1. Maintenance ration: This is the type of ration that supplies the animal with just the quantity of nutrients that are enough to enable the animal to carry on with vital body activities without losing or gaining another substance. In other words, a maintenance ration is the amount of feed needed to prevent an increase or decrease in the weight of the animal. The ration will just be enough to maintain the supplies of energy and protein for all metabolic activities such as respiration, blood circulation, digestion, locomotion, maintenance of body temperature.
  2. Production ration: is the quantity of ration that can supply the required nutrients above the maintenance to enable the animal to produce the form of animal product for which the livestock is kept. The production ration can be for meat, growth, milk wool and egg production. The food is supplied in excess of maintenance requirements.
Categories of farm animals that require production ratio
  1. Lactating animals for milk production.
  2. Weaning animals to increase growth.
  3. Pregnant animals for maintenance of the foetus.
  4. Fattening or finishing animals for extra meat or flesh.
  5. Broilers for rapid growth.
  6. Layers for egg production.
  7. Steaming up or flushing for the animal before making to produce more ova.
Factors to consider when deciding type of ration to feed an animal
  1. Age of the animal
  2. Palatability of feedstuff
  3. The familiarity of feed to animal
  4. Cost of feed
  5. Physiological status of the animal
  6. Availability of feedstuff
  7. Composition of feed nutrient


  1. Explain the term ration.
  2. Name four classes of livestock feed and list two characteristics of each class.
  3. Distinguish between maintenance ration and production ration (WASSCE 1998 question 8)
Class activity
  1. State eight functions of water in livestock management
  2. List eight essential minerals elements required in animal nutrition
  3. State four functions of mineral elements in the body of farm animals

(WASSCE 1993 question 7)

In a tabular form, state:

  1. four food nutrient in livestock production.
  2. two sources of each food nutrient stated above.
  3. two functions of each nutrient stated.

(WASSCE 1995 question 7)

  1. Define balanced ration in livestock production.
  2. Outline the stages involved in the preparation of    I.   bone meal    ii.   Fish meal     iii.   Cottonseed meal   iv.   Blood meal

(WASSCE 1996 question 8)

  1. state six functions of protein in the body of farm animals
  2. list five animal source and plant source protein each that can be fed to livestock.

(WASSCE 1999 question 8)

Reading assignment


WASSCE: 2007 question 7c, 2012 question 8a, 2013 question 7c, 2014 question 4a, 2017 question 5b

NECO past question for 2018 question 7d: state three processes that are involved in the preparation of silage under anaerobic condition.


Essential agricultural science by O.A Iwena pages 329 – 338 


  1. Write a short note on the following
  2. maintenance ration
  3. production ration
  4. balanced ration
  5. malnutrition
  6. Mention four factors normally considered when deciding the type of feed an animal should be placed on. (WASSCE 2001 question 7)


In our next class, we will be talking about Agricultural Extension.  We hope you enjoyed the class.

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