Agricultural Science Notes

Animal Nutrition (Malnutrition)


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.

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Ricket (Osteomalacia)Lack of Ca,P and Vitamin DFlexible and curve bones,soft egg shellAdd fish meal,bone meal or Oyster shell
Perosis or Slipped tendon.Lack of choline, folicacid,Ca,P in diet.Chicken lie down on their Kneel.Add Vitamin B Co and bone meal.
KetosisLack of sufficient energy intake by farm animalsLoss  of appetiteFeed CHO to animals.
Milk FeverLow blood sugar.Loss of appetite, constipation and nervousness.Feed Oyster Shell, bone meal and Carbohydrate.
Baby pig AnaemiaLow iron in blood.Loss of appetite and nervousness.Inject iron dextrin into the body.
Night BlindnessLack of Vitamin AInability to see clearly in dim light.Feed yellow maize.
ScurvyLack of vitamin CLesions around the connective tissue.Feed vegetable and fruits to animals.
BeriberiLack of VitaminB1Lack of appetite, fatigue and loss of weight.Feed yeast,cereals and vegetables.

Ricket (osteomalacia):A disease caused by lack of Vitamin D and disappearance of calcium saltswhich prevent the body from using Calcium.Ricket causes softing 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 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 diet.Animal Nutrition (Malnutrition)


  1. What is malnutrition in farm animals?
  2. What is 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


A balanced ration is the 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 feeding stuffs are known. The nutrient requirement or the standards are also known.


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


  1. What is ration?
  2. What is balanced ration?

There are two categories of balanced ration.

  • 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 carry on with vital body activities without losing or gaining another substance. In other word, 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.
  • Production ration: is the quantity of ration that can supply the requirement nutrients above the maintenance to enable the animal 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 requires production ratio include:

  1. Lactating animals for milk production.
  2. Weaning animals for 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 animal before making to produce more ova.

Factors to consider when deciding type of ration to feed an animal includes:

  1. age of the animal
  2. palatability of feed stuff
  3. familiarity of feed to animal
  4. cost of feed
  5. physiological status of the animal
  6. availability of feed stuff
  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)


  1. a. state eight functions of water in livestock management

b. list eight essential minerals elements required in animal nutrition

c. state four function of mineral elements in the body of farm animals

(WASSCE 1993 question 7)

  • In a tabular form, state:

a. four food nutrient in livestock production.

b. two sources of each food nutrient stated in a above.

c. two functions of each nutrient stated in a above.

(WASSCE 1995 question 7)

  • a. define balanced ration in livestock production.

b. outline the stages involved in the preparation of

i. bone meal ii. Fish meal iii. Cotton seed meal iv. Blood meal

(WASSCE 1996 question 8)

  • a. state six functions of protein in the body of farm animals

b. list five animal source and plant source protein each that can be fed to livestock.

(WASSCE 1999 question 8)



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

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


Essential agricultural science by o.Aiwena pages 329 – 338


  • The deficiency symptom peculiar to Vitamin B in livestock is………

A)night blindness B)sterility  C)loss of appetite  D) delay in blood clotting.

  • Which of the following is not a symptom of Malnutrition in Livestock………

A) bloat B) night blindness  C) milk Fever D) anaemia

  • When an animal is being fed on a ration that does not increase its value but keeps the animal  in good health and constant weight, the animal is said to be on ……… ration

A) production B) maintenance C) concentrate D) balanced.

  • Digestion of protein starts in the ___

A) stomach B) duodenum C) mouth D) small intestine

  • Which of the following classes of nutrient is used mainly for energy production in farm animals? A) Carbohydrates B) protein C) vitamins D) minerals


  1. Write short note on the following

a.          maintenance ration

b.         production ration

c.          balanced ration

d.         malnutrition

  • Mention four factors normally considered when deciding the type of feed an animal should be placed on. (WASSCE 2001 question 7)

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