Agriculture Reference
In-Depth Information
add soybean meal, yeast, hominy corn, rendered blood, miner-
als, and other things that cannot be consumed by humans and
would otherwise end up in a landfill. The precise amount of
each ingredient is calculated by expert nutritionists who use
computers to account for the animal's every nutrient need, in
ways far more deliberate and scientific than what we feed our
pets—or even what we eat ourselves. One of the authors used
to work on a dairy that attached collars to the cows so that,
when the animal approached the feeding stall, it activated a
computerized feeder which delivered its precise dietary needs.
Every time the cow ate the event was recorded, so that the
farmer could be quickly alerted when a cow had not eaten (and
was therefore probably sick and needed immediate attention).
One of the greatest dangers to a sow (pregnant pig) is
other sows. When many sows are given access to the same
food, water, and space, they will fight over those resources,
causing both physical and mental harm. The dominant sows
will eat too much, the subordinate sows too little. Like cows,
hogs can be given collars or ear tags, and an automated feed-
ing stall that allows only one animal to enter at a time. This
allows the sow to eat in peace, while making sure it is pro-
tected from other aggressors and doesn't eat too much or
too little.
Welfare-conscious improvements in poultry feeding strate-
gies have also been developed. Chickens used to be denied
food from five to fourteen days at a time to induce synchro-
nized molting (the natural feather shedding process used to
rejuvenate hen egg production) in an entire flock. Since the
1980s, many concerns arose regarding the welfare of hens
being starved in order to artificially promote molting, which
resulted in a variety of alternative methods. Today, special
feeds and diets allow the hen to molt without experiencing
Think back to dogs and their owners. Dogs owners pro-
tect their pets from excessive heat and cold by housing them
indoors or in doghouses. To prevent infestations of worms,
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