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Historical feed table according to Kühn

Feed (referred to as feed for short) is a collective term for all forms of animal feed . The term includes food for all animals kept by humans, such as farm animals , zoo animals , sport animals or pets . Today, animal feed is specifically tailored to the respective species and intended use and is subject to government control and approval criteria in Germany.

As a rule, the term feed is understood to mean the food for farm animals. Here, the composition is decisive for covering the nutrient requirements and thus for the health and performance of the animals. Food for small animals kept indoors is also known as pet food. Like the animal feed, this should be needs-based, age-appropriate and the animals should like it.

The special term for the fodder for cavalry and harnessed horses or mules of the army is " forage ". The steward of such fodder was the Fourier (Navy: warehouse keeper).

Legal framework

Determination of Feed Crops in a Vocational School (December 22, 1983)

The regulation of the production, distribution, trade and use of feed is strictly regulated at both EU and national level. This applies to farm animals (food-producing animals, horses and fur animals) as well as to pets. The variety of regulations that have direct or indirect effects on the feed industry are extremely diverse and almost confusing. The primary goal of all regulations is to ensure a supply of food from animal production at the highest level with regard to safety and harmlessness for animals and humans.

In 2000 the EU Commission presented the White Paper on Food Safety as a result of the BSE crisis and a series of major crises in the feed industry that caused major financial damage and loss of confidence in the entire food chain. It summarized the plans for a complete overhaul of European legislation in the field of the feed and food chain. In the following years, these plans were fully implemented in new regulations. This started with the Basic Food Regulation (Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002) , which laid down a new principle of responsibility in the European legal area: the respective food and feed business operators are solely responsible for the safety of the products they create. Government responsibility is focused solely on controlling companies and no longer on how companies achieve the goal of safer food and feed.

EU law

Based on the basic food regulation, which applies to both food and feed, numerous EU regulations have been issued. These regulations apply directly in all member states of the EU and no longer have to be incorporated into German law. On the other hand, German laws and regulations that exist in the same area are to be repealed. In addition to EU feed law in the narrower sense, there are a large number of other provisions that also affect the feed industry and are in some cases of considerable importance. The following should be mentioned here: Genetic engineering law, the veterinary regulations on animal by-products, the law on medicated feed, regulations on official sampling and analysis and finally on occupational safety and dangerous goods.

German law

The basic features of German feed law go back to the end of the 19th century. The first well-ordered and comprehensive feed law dates from 1926. A completely new feed law was passed in 1976. In 2005 the Food and Feed Code was passed, repealing the Feed Act. A number of further regulations are based on this code, above all the feed regulation. Both the Food and Feed Code and the Feed Ordinance serve to implement various EU regulations, to determine responsibilities at federal and state level, some specifically German regulations that have no basis in EU law and ultimately to reinforce fines and fines German and European regulations.

Evaluation of feed

Forage harvest by cooperative farmers in the GDR for animal production (1982)

Feed is scientifically assessed based on its components, which are classified according to feed type and harvest in so-called feed tables . They show the nutritional value of the feed. However, the market value of a feed also depends on other factors. When feeding plan is called a plan on which the values of the feed table are assigned to the feed available so that so that the feeding can be planned in terms of quantity. In this way you can determine how much green forage, concentrated feed or other means must be given to an animal population (or an animal) so that the available resources are optimally used.

Nutrient content and dry matter

Since every feed contains a fluctuating amount of water, the dry matter is first determined , similar to the organic raw material sector . This can be done by evaporating samples just above the boiling point , but also by technical drying (hay, grass). The dry matter is the mass fraction that remains after the water has been removed. From this, the proportion of proteins, fat and crude fiber ( cellulose ) and other components is determined through further analysis steps .

The dry matter is an important economic factor in agriculture, as z. B. Green feed may contain a higher or lower proportion of water depending on the time of harvest. After rainy days, green fodder only contains between 4 and 5% dry matter, but after dry days it already contains up to 10% by mass. When weighing wet green forage on a vehicle scale, the farmer must therefore correct the actual feed value by up to 50%, i.e. This means that the water supplied is deducted up to a comparative value, which is specified depending on the feed. The moister the feed, the lower its nutritional value per unit of mass and the lower its commercial value . Even dry animal feed such as hay, straw or their pellets still contain a considerable and fluctuating water content. For example, raw milk contains a constant 12-14% dry matter and is therefore “drier” than fresh grass forage. Due to the fat content, it also contains a higher energy density and is therefore also an expensive animal feed. In some cases, the costs for transport and storage logistics for raw milk (e.g. for rearing calves) can be so high that the energy expenditure for the production of industrial milk powder pays off (spray drying). The return in milk form then takes place through cheaper water from the farmer's stocks.

In the pet sector, too, feed is dried for transport purposes. Moist food (canned food for dogs and cats) is often made by pouring gelatinous water over dry compacts directly in the can. The can is closed after it has been poured over, whereupon the pellets swell within 36 hours to their final, consumer-safe shape. This form of packaging creates the well-known canned food, which in Europe often only consists of imported dry compacts. It is therefore nutritionally less “dense” than direct dry feed due to production, but is preferred by some animal species. Dry dog ​​food consists largely of meat meal and grain. Dry pellets for dogs for their own rehydration by the consumer are to be offered more cheaply because the water content of up to 86% does not have to be transported by the trade. When it comes to cat food, dry food is generally more efficient, but consumer behavior is slowed down by these animals' food preferences. Cats want to keep some of their food moist. With sufficient water intake, however, feeding only dry food is not a problem for both dogs and cats. Rodents and rabbits, on the other hand, usually do not accept food that has been moistened later.

When feeding ruminants and horses, the proportion of crude fiber in the dry matter plays an important role; it must not be too high or too low. They basically take in enough additional water, but they can refuse food that is too dry. When fattening pigs, which are considered the most water-intensive animals in agriculture, enough water is always mixed into the feed, so that the consistency of the original feed is largely irrelevant. Food preferences are also relatively unproblematic in pigs.

The dry matter of a feed is therefore primarily an economic variable for producers, retailers and consumers.

Availability of nutrients

The availability of nutrients is also important in feed. A nutrient is available when it can be absorbed by the organism at all. So z. B. Amino acids available in different ways in feed, depending on their composition. From human nutrition we know how the availability of lipid-soluble vitamins depends on the presence of fats (e.g. carotene ). The same applies to feed in various combinations. Because of their complicated digestive system, ruminants such as cattle can only make optimal use of proteins in certain combinations because the stomach flora consists of bacteria that no longer perform optimally when one protein is deficient, even if another building block is in abundance. Proteins that could actually be easily absorbed can be lost in significant proportions if the feed is incorrectly or incorrectly timed and can be found in the manure. This is particularly taken into account in the compilation of industrial feed, which partly explains the performance increases advertised. The ingredients can also be blended for breeds and cultivated forms.

On the farm, however, the availability for ruminants often cannot be taken into account during the green fodder period (summer months). What is fed is what can be delivered regionally, supplemented by performance feed. As food generalists, pigs are often the best feed converters; h., do almost all the nutrients available . Sheep, on the other hand, are considered self-seekers, i.e. In other words , they are demanding, but in pasture farming they focus on certain food plants and independently optimize their feeding behavior in terms of their needs. Goats are inherently very effective in terms of the composition of the food they seek. Contrary to their biological needs, these “penny hunters in agriculture” are therefore considered to be uncomplicated to feed. However, high-performance animals for sport, such as As horses, their feeding schedule is accurately calculated by their owners often optimally available to the nutrients and to keep costs low.

The timing of feeding plays a role in many animals. Especially with ruminants, an immediate switch to a protein-rich diet (dicotyledonous, clover, alfalfa) in spring can lead to weeks of diarrhea and thus massive loss of nutrients, while a gradual switch from dry to fresh feed over 3–4 days makes optimal use of the nutrients. If the conversion is incorrect, the nutrient uptake can drop to the maintenance level, i. In other words, the animals eat intensely, but live to cover their own needs and only provide little economically viable services. The nutrients are only fully available again when the stomach and intestinal flora have adjusted to their absorption. The order on a feeding day can also be important.

Mineral content

The mineral content of a feed can be determined by burning feed samples. The remaining raw ash contains salts of the alkali and alkaline earth metals , from which the mineral content can be extrapolated.

The mineral balance of animals and livestock can now be regulated very well by adding feed additives. Suckling mother animals or dairy cattle are often given additional calcium . A herd of beef cattle can often contain many tons of bone substance that must be consumed in the form of minerals. If there is not enough intake, deficiency symptoms and decreasing weight gain will occur even with optimal nutrition.

Classification of feed according to ingredients

Raw materials for pellet production and finished pellets for performance horses

As a rule, feed means plant-based food, such as grass , various types of grain or tubers such as beets , carrots and potatoes . A rough breakdown of feed is as follows:

High starch feed

Such feeds are from starch-rich prepared grains, seeds, and tubers. Examples are all types of grain, potatoes , cassava , millet , but also legumes . These feedstuffs mainly provide energy from polysaccharides , crude protein is only contained in small proportions (exception: legumes). In principle, these feeds are suitable for ruminants , poultry and pigs .

See also: wheat , barley , oats , rye , rye in livestock feed , corn , peas , beans , cassava , millet , potato .

Feedstuffs containing oil

Oils obtained from plants, such as B. Soy , rapeseed or sunflower oil have a very high energy content and are used in different proportions in the feed depending on the energy requirements of the animal species to be supplied. For animal nutrition, the feed fats are mixed with other feed or sprayed onto the pellets. The price of feed containing oil is influenced by the production of renewable raw materials for the mineral oil trade. The price of sunflower and rapeseed oil has been rising since around 2008 , because these raw materials are suitable for the operation of motor vehicles, but on the other hand are withdrawn from animal feed.

See also: peanut , coconut , soy , rapeseed , rapeseed cake , sunflower , linen , cotton , palm kernel oil , sesame .

Protein-rich feed

These are feeds that contain a high content (35–65%) of protein. These are primarily by-products of oil extraction (cake, expeller) or alcohol production (stillage, spent grains, brewer's yeast). If large parts of the oil are removed industrially from the seeds in order to e.g. B. to make biodiesel (= rapeseed methyl ester ) out of it, the rest of the seeds can be used as animal feed. Depending on which process was used to remove the oil, one speaks of expeller, extraction meal or cake.

See also: lupine , soy protein

Green fodder

This means animal feed in which the entire plant is fed: grass and maize but also grain and legumes (harvested before ripening). These feeds are characterized by a high proportion of structural carbohydrates . Overall, this group is very heterogeneous when considering the ingredients. Grass mainly consists of structural carbohydrates. The crude protein content is in the range of 15 to 25 percent. Maize, on the other hand, has a large proportion of starch (approx. 20–40%), but with around 10 percent significantly less crude protein. Of course, maize also contains structural carbohydrates (stems, leaves, etc.). The other cereals are similar to maize; the legumes in principle also, but have significantly more crude protein.

The green fodder can be fed fresh. To preserve them, they either have to be dried thoroughly ( hay ) or preserved by ensiling . In general, such feed is particularly suitable for ruminants , horses and aquatic poultry ; its use in pigs is negligible.

Other feed

In addition to the above, there is also a very large number of other feedstuffs that are obtained in nature (e.g. fish meal ) or that arise as by-products in industrial production. These include, for example, bran (from the mill ), stillage (alcohol production), spent grains (beer production), pomace (wine and juice production), molasses and beet pulp from the sugar industry and the like. a leftover food . The use of this feed is heterogeneous according to the group, but ruminants are most likely to be considered. Animal feed was banned because of the potential BSE risk for animals in food production. Since July 2009, however, animal fats have again been permitted for feeding to non-ruminants (i.e. pigs and poultry). Since 2006, feeding leftovers has also been banned.

In poultry farming, grit is usually added, which consists of small stones and lime fragments and both promotes digestion and covers the need for lime.

Grit for birds with stones and shell fragments greatly enlarged
Receipt of raw materials at a compound feed plant

See also: oil meal , expeller , gluten (glue), germ , middlings and blood silage , a processing product of slaughter and Abdeckereiabfällen and cereal products for the pig.

Feed material

The feed materials mainly include the various types of grain such as B. Wheat and barley and oil cake and meal z. B. from soy and rapeseed . By-products from the food industry (e.g. from flour mills, dairies, breweries, oil mills, sugar factories) are straight feeds that can be used together with other feeds as compound feed.

Compound feed

Compound feed is obtained by mixing two or more single feeds. This results in a product that, thanks to its recipe, is optimally tailored to the needs of the animals for which it was developed. A compound feed can either be used as a complete feed or it can be used in conjunction with other feeds to supplement the nutritional requirements (supplementary feed).

Complete feed

Complete feed is feed that provides the animals with all the nutrients they need, depending on their species, age and direction of use, and for which only water has to be offered. Complete feed is mainly used in poultry farming (laying hens; broilers; turkeys) and in pig farming. Complete feeds for pets such as dogs and cats are also known. The characteristic is the exact coordination of all ingredients used and the processing processes to the animal and thus an exact compliance with the nutrient, trace element, vitamin and mineral requirements as well as a suitable consistency. That means time savings for the pet owner.

Complementary feed

Complementary feed, on the other hand, is a feed that supplements one or more individual feeds in order to provide an adequate supply. It supplements, for example, the grazing of the cattle, the grass feeding in case of year-round stable keeping, the farm's own grain or beets. Even feed materials such as soy meal or pressed beet pulp bought by the animal owner must be upgraded with supplementary feed in order to guarantee a balanced supply of nutrients to the livestock.

Special feed

Special feed serves to fulfill specific "tasks" that animal nutrition provides. These include B .:

  • Organic feed: used in the field of organic farming / management in closed cycles
  • Diet feed: compound feed that is intended to meet the special nutritional needs of animals in which, in particular, digestive, absorption or metabolic disorders are present or are to be expected, or to support healing after illnesses.
  • Protein concentrates: special form of supplementary feed that has a particularly high content of raw protein as well as minerals and active ingredients
  • RAM feed (raw protein and low phosphorus fattening feed): nutritionally adapted feeding for the benefit of the environment



Vitamins are vital organic compounds that perform special tasks in the organism's metabolism. The vitamins are divided into two groups:

  • fat-soluble: A, D, E, K (these vitamins can be overdosed) and
  • water soluble: the entire B complex, C.

amino acids

Vegetable and animal proteins are made up of 21 proteinogenic amino acids . The essential amino acids are those that the animal organism cannot produce biosynthetically itself. The supply of the amino acids essential for the respective animal species and breed with the food is essential. Many types of grain have too low an essential amino acid content. As a result of this lack of only one amino acid, the usability of all amino acids ingested drops to the value determined by the essential amino acid ("limiting amino acid") contained in too small a quantity. The nutritional value of the grain is then increased by the targeted addition of small amounts of those essential amino acids that are deficient in it. The amino acids DL - methionine (and the analogue DL -hydroxymethionine with an α- hydroxy instead of an α- amino group in methionine) and L - lysine are produced in quantities of over 100,000 t per year as a feed additive in the chemical industry and are sold to the Supplied to the compound feed industry. The addition of L - threonine and L - tryptophan to compound feed plays a comparatively minor but growing role. Moreover, it is monosodium glutamate an approved additive.

Mineral feed

Mineral feed represents a special form of supplementary feed. They are composed primarily of inorganic components and are suitable for supplementing the ration with bulk and trace elements and vitamins. A distinction is made between bulk elements such as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, chlorine and sulfur and trace elements, which act in the smallest amounts. These include iron, copper, iodine, manganese, molybdenum, selenium and zinc.

Trace elements


Iron has the greatest importance as a component of hemoglobin. It is therefore of crucial importance for the transport of oxygen in the organism. A high proportion of iron is also bound in myoglobin , a protein fraction of the muscle. In the metabolism, iron is in organically bound form (as a chelate ). These forms of iron transport in the body are transferrin in the blood, which is formed after absorption, uteroferrin in the placenta and lactoferrin in milk. If a high iron supply exceeds the chelate binding capacity, i. H. the formation of the organic form of transport, then inorganic iron damages numerous organs at the cellular level and is thus even toxic.

The sow's iron requirement increases significantly during pregnancy and lactation. The necessary absorption in the intestine is then regulated by the metabolism: If there is enough iron in the intestinal cells, further absorption is blocked. However, if the iron reserve in the organism is reduced, the intestinal cells are signaled to absorb higher amounts of iron. Worldwide studies show that the iron reservoir is exhausted after an average of 2.5 pregnancies and is not maintained by the usual inorganic iron administration in the feed. Sows then fail to maintain their iron status and piglets are born with reduced vitality.

Iron in organic protein-bound form is absorbed to a greater extent than inorganic, since it is already offered as a chelate in its transport form and does not react with other feed components. The absorption of inorganic iron, on the other hand, is reduced by an oversupply of copper, molybdenum, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese and phytate, which often leads to iron deficiency symptoms, even though the feed and drinking water contain enough iron. Iron deficiency leads to anemia (anemia), lack of vitality, susceptibility to infection and constipation. On the other hand, an excess of inorganic iron reduces the absorption of other vital elements, especially zinc.

It is important to maintain the sow's iron status using highly available sources. Organically bound iron in sow feed also increases the iron reserves of the newborn piglets, as more uteroferrin is formed. This improves the oxygen reserves and the number of stillborn piglets is reduced.


The trace element copper is part of numerous important enzymes. Copper is necessary for the blood-forming system. Copper is required for the formation of hemoglobin and thus for the formation of red blood cells. Copper is also of great importance as a component of superoxide dismutase, which protects the cell walls from damage by free radicals.

After absorption in the intestine, copper is bound to proteins and transported to the liver. There the ceruloplasmin, a Cu transport protein, is formed. The ceruloplasmin promotes the oxidation of divalent to trivalent iron ions, which are necessary for the incorporation of iron into the transferrin. Thus copper has an important function for iron transport.

Copper contributes to the transport of electrons and is also important for generating energy. Copper is involved in the formation of collagen and elastin in connective tissue. Copper is important for the nervous system in the synthesis of epinephrine and noropinephrine. As a necessary component of the corpus luteum releasing hormone, it has an impact on reproductive performance. Copper is used for the formation of melanin, i.e. H. for pigmentation of the skin. Copper strengthens the immune system and has anti-inflammatory effects.

The utilization of copper is reduced by calcium, iron, zinc, sulfur and molybdenum. Protein-bound copper is better absorbed than inorganic copper. High amounts of inorganic copper have a bactericidal and fungicidal effect. However, with high copper doses, the Cu concentration in organs and tissues increases. This sometimes causes damage to the liver. When 250 ppm copper was administered as copper sulfate during a fattening experiment, the copper content of the liver was increased by 15 times compared to the control group, while the same amount as organic copper increased the copper concentration of the liver by only 6 times.

Due to the complex mode of action of copper, the explanation of the performance-enhancing effects is problematic, especially since the same effects are achieved with lower doses of protein-bound copper than with higher doses of copper sulphate. Today, other strategies for maintaining gut health are being pursued. High amounts of copper sulphate mostly only serve the visual effect of the black color of the faeces, which is not related to the animal performance.


After iron, zinc is the most common trace element in the organism. Zinc is involved in countless body functions. Zinc is important for growth and maturation, as well as for the synthesis of the genetic material DNA and RNA as well as for the structure of proteins and for insulin storage.

Zinc is involved in the metabolism of neurotransmitters ("nerve switching points") and influences the sensory organs. Zinc is also required for the formation and effect of growth, thyroid and sex hormones. Zinc plays a major role in the metabolism of vitamin A (retinol), as it is required for the synthesis of the retinol-binding protein in the liver. Zinc is important for the function of the thymus gland, which is one of the most important organs in the body's immune system. Zinc has a positive influence on the ectoderm (skin, hair, hoof, intestine). Zinc deficiency leads to dry and flaky skin and is associated with an unhealthy appearance, in severe cases it comes to parakeratosis with pebbly skin.

Zinc deficiency leads to a reduction in feed intake, weakens the immune system and increases susceptibility to infections. A low zinc supply in pregnant sows leads to a lengthening of the birth time and is associated with a higher number of stillbirths. The sow's zinc supply has a massive influence on the zinc content of the sow's milk. Zinc deficiency therefore leads to lower piglet growth.

The absorption of zinc in the intestine depends on the level of zinc administration. High amounts of zinc are associated with reduced absorption. Protein-bound zinc is better absorbed than inorganic zinc preparations (zinc oxide, zinc sulfate). The zinc absorption of inorganic compounds is negatively influenced by calcium, iron, copper, phosphorus, sulfur and phytate.

As a heavy metal, zinc has a toxic potential for animals and plants; the toxicity limit depends on the type of zinc compound administered. High zinc doses have a bactericidal effect, they reduce the bacterial flora in the intestine. Zinc doses of 2000 to 6000 mg / kg feed have a performance-enhancing effect. They were mainly used in weaners. However, the high zinc doses disrupt the copper metabolism and the utilization of iron. They can lead to anemia. So iron deficiency can occur due to high inorganic zinc contents in the feed.

Protein-bound zinc enables an exact supply according to the requirements and avoids the risk of an oversupply. The performance-enhancing effect of zinc oxide is now being replaced by other strategies for maintaining intestinal health.


The trace element manganese is primarily involved in the development of connective tissue in the body through the synthesis of proteoglycans in cartilage and bone tissue. Manganese contributes significantly to the synthesis of proteins and fats. Manganese is required for insulin synthesis and secretion as well as for the formation of urea. Manganese is also required to build up melanin (pigments) and dopamine (neurotransmitters, brain function). Manganese activates a number of enzymes that a. act as an antioxidant (superoxide dismutase). The utilization of vitamin B1 and the gluconeogenesis (formation of new glucose) require manganese.

Manganese absorption in the intestine is regulated by the amount of food available. High levels of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and phytate inhibit the absorption of manganese from inorganic compounds. Organically bound manganese (chelates), on the other hand, is better absorbed than inorganic, since it is offered in the form in which it is transported in the body.

Fertility disorders in the herd are one of the first symptoms of manganese deficiency, because manganese plays a role in the implantation of the fertilized egg cells and the manganese status of the sow also influences the manganese reserves of the newborn piglet. If the level of care is insufficient, the birth weight is already reduced. Lameness and skeletal abnormalities are observed in piglets suffering from manganese deficiency.

Due to the mostly sufficient manganese content of the feed components (grain, by-products, soy) and a usual manganese supplement to the feed, deficiency symptoms are rarely observed. Usually, as already mentioned, these are causally related to an oversupply of inorganic iron or zinc. The use of protein-bound manganese enables these interactions to be avoided and the animal to be cared for in accordance with the published recommendations.

Organically bound trace elements

Many minerals and trace elements do not appear in nature as salts, but in organically bound form as proteinates or chelates. These can use metabolic pathways of peptides or amino acids and are absorbed differently in the small intestine than normal minerals. This reduces the competition between the elements for the same absorption mechanisms. Not only does this increase their bioavailability, they are also transported to their destination in the body faster than inorganic elements. Today organically bound trace elements are produced especially for animal nutrition and are increasingly being offered in pig feed, especially for sows. These organically bound trace elements are created by the reaction of the elements with hydrolyzed soy protein . The result is the binding of the trace elements copper, iron, zinc or manganese to amino acids and small peptides.

Protein-bound trace elements are stable and are biochemically protected against unfavorable reactions with other food components that can hinder their rate of absorption. It is also known that they can be provided specifically for individual organs, tissues and body functions. They can offer metabolic benefits that result in better performance and with less elimination of minerals into the environment.

There are two main advantages of protein-bound trace elements:

  • Increase in bioavailability (up to 1½ to 2 times compared to inorganic sources)
  • The ability to be made available for certain functions, organs and tissues

Just as the peptides and amino acids are well absorbed, so are the trace elements that are bound to them (proteinates and chelates). In this case, the bioavailability of the trace elements is increased. Under certain conditions the bioavailability can be doubled. It should also be noted that the interaction of the trace element with other feed components such as calcium or magnesium is avoided.

Objective functions

The main effect of trace element proteinates is the ability to target specific organs, tissues and functions. This has been well illustrated several times, through the ability of a zinc proteinate to act specifically on tissues containing keratin. Organically bound zinc can therefore be used for therapy to improve hoofs, for skin conditioning, to improve hair quality and to reduce mastitis . In the case of iron proteinates, it has often been shown that more uteroferrin, the transport form of iron, is formed in the uterus.

Classification of feed according to (external) properties

The subdivision according to external properties makes sense for the operational practice of storage and feeding.

Green fodder

The term green forage is often used as a synonym for freshly harvested forage . In most cases, this is fresh grass that is freshly cut every day when dairy cows are fed in the summer barn (see also: Milk production ).

Molasses feed

Molasses feed is made using molasses and has a relatively high sugar content. The molasses is also used as a pressing aid in the production of feed pellets. Molasses is used in feed for almost all animal species.


As roughage (see also roughage eater and roughage consuming cattle unit ) one describes feed with a relatively high content of structured crude fiber , such as grain chaff . Depending on the feed and the type of feed collection, a different proportion of the crude fiber has a structural effect . This portion of structurally effective crude fiber (colloquially structural portion) is necessary in ruminant rations to stimulate the core through which the feed from the rumen gets back into the mouth and is chewed there again. The saliva formed when ruminating is used to buffer the pH value in the rumen . Feed rich in crude fiber promotes acetic acid production and thus milk fat formation. For other animal species such as pigs, it also serves to satiate without providing too much energy . In addition, it can also (especially straw) take on a function as activity material, which is important for horses or pregnant sows .


Coarse forage is plants that are not or only slightly crushed and pressed that can be fed fresh, ensiled or dried, such as beets, corn on the cob, the entire corn plant or straw and corn stalks. Coarse forage is characterized by its high structural effectiveness. When purchasing coarse forage (fresh), ensiling losses due to anaerobic fermentation must be taken into account (15% for grass, 10% for maize, based on the dry matter).

Juice feed

Parts of plants or processed products with a dry matter content below 55%: beets, roots, tubers, corn by-products, brewer's grains, pressed pulp, citrus and apple pomace, stillage, beetroot meal , whey, skimmed milk, whole milk, etc. a. In terms of structure, juice feed lies between concentrate and coarse feed. When determining the quantity, the losses during ensiling of pressed pulp , pulp and spent grains must be taken into account, either on a dry matter basis (generally 10%) or on a fresh matter basis (seepage and dry matter losses ) for grains 20%, for pulp 15% and for pressed pulp 10%.

Concentrate feed

In feeding practice, concentrated feed refers to energy-rich, but low-fiber feed made from grain or industrially produced compound feed. Individual components (energy and protein carriers) are all components that can be mixed in with a dry matter content greater than 55% and an energy content greater than 7 MJ NEL / kg dry matter. This also includes moist grain , sodagrain , CCM , molasses and dry greens (alfalfa). In feeding practice, mineral feed is not included in this group, but is named separately. Concentrated feed has practically no structural value, so it is usually unsuitable as a complete feed.

Press channels of a ring die
Feed pellets for sheep and goats

Compound feed is usually delivered loose in pellets . Pellets are produced in so-called pelletizing plants (pellet presses) with great pressure. The material is pressed through a steel die with great pressure. When exiting the die , the strands are cut to the desired length by a scraper. The diameter of the pellets is determined by the diameter of the press channels. The thickness of the pellets can be changed by changing the die. Compaction reduces the volume of the product by around two thirds.

A pretreatment (conditioning) of the raw materials with heat and steam (but avoiding condensation) offers the following advantages:

  1. the specific energy requirement is reduced and the throughput is increased at the same time
  2. the strength of the pellets is increased - and thus the abrasion during transport is reduced
  3. the microbial load on the product is reduced
  4. digestibility is increased

The advantages of pellet feeding are:

  • less dust generation
  • no selective selection of feed components by the animals
  • Fully mechanized work chains of transport, storage and computer-controlled individual animal feeding with transponder feeding .

The horse's saliva flow decreases due to the lack of chewing, which in turn can lead to over-acidification of the stomach due to the low production of sodium bicarbonate . The quality of the raw materials cannot easily be assessed in the case of pelleted feed. Particularly in the case of low-priced products with insufficient declaration of content, there is a risk that inferior raw materials have been processed.

A special form of the pellets are so-called hay cubes ( hay cubes ), which came up for cattle and horses, especially in North America in the 1970s. During production, the hay is shredded with special harvesting machines (hay cuber) and pressed into cubes with the addition of water and molasses. Today this process is hardly used any more. However, there are companies that manufacture hay cubes in large stationary plants.

Feed for small animals

Food for small animals kept in and around the house is usually referred to as pet food or pet food. The main groups include:

Microorganisms as feed

Yeasts as animal feed and additives

Dead yeasts (yeast protein from beer or brewer's yeast in a dead form) are also used and, like many other animal feed, represent a source of protein.

Live yeasts are occasionally used as animal feed, especially for dairy cows. It is hoped that this will result in a more stable pH value in the rumen (i.e. a lower reduction in rapidly fermentable feed). The effects relevant to animal performance and health go back to the environment-defining and bacteria-stimulating properties of the still living yeasts and the fact that various fiber-degrading bacteria react by increasing their metabolism and their reproductive activities.

In the future, the effects of feed production on the environment could be reduced by switching feeding to microorganisms .

Insects for animal feed

Larvae , crickets and beetles have long been sold in pet stores as feed for birds, ornamental fish and lizards . Due to their nutritional values, especially their high protein content, various insects can also be used as feed for aquaculture and industrial animal fattening , which according to the International Federation of the Feed Industry (IFIF) consumed 720 million tons of animal food worldwide in 2010. Since 1 July 2017, the use of which is of seven insect species authorized as feed in aquaculture (in the EU soldiers fly , housefly , mealworm , grain cryptophagidae (Alphitobius diaperinus) crickets and two other cricket species (Gryllodes sigillatus, Gryllus assimilis)). In view of the increasing meat consumption with a growing world population, the UN World Food Authority ( FAO ) has called for more insects to be used for animal feed production. By breeding and feeding larvae of the soldier fly and the house fly as well as the meal beetle, the extensive cultivation of the forage crops maize and soy could be reduced. The partly toxic residues of the cattle fattening (liquid manure, manure) can be broken down or composted through the use of insects.

Analysis of the feed

The ingredients of the feed are often specified according to the Weender feed analysis . However, an extended feed analysis provides more precise information . Due to the higher effort and costs, the analysis is usually no longer carried out using a wet chemical method (i.e. by examination in the chemistry laboratory), but rather with near-infrared spectroscopy .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Yoshiharu Izumi, Ichiro Chibata and Tamio Itoh: Production and Use of Amino Acids , Angewandte Chemie 90 (1978) 187-194; Angewandte Chemie International Edition in English 17 , 176–183.
  2. Slide series of the Fonds der Chemischen Industrie: Amino acids - building blocks of life , Frankfurt am Main, 1981.
  3. European Commission: Community Register of Feed Additives pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 1831/2003 (PDF; 7.6 MB) Appendixes 3 & 4, Directorate D - Animal Health and Welfare, Unit D2 - Feed, p. 192, 15 February 2010.
  4. Sven Hoflund : The importance of roughage for the function of the ruminant stomachs. In: Deutsche Tierärztliche Wochenschrift 62, 1955, pp. 403–408.
  5. Ilje Pikaar, Silvio Matassa u. a .: Decoupling Livestock from Land Use through Industrial Feed Production Pathways. In: Environmental Science & Technology. 52, 2018, p. 7351, doi : 10.1021 / acs.est.8b00216 .
  6. Astronaut food for cows: Industrially grown microbes could feed cattle, pigs and chickens with less environmental damage. In: pik-potsdam.de. Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research , June 20, 2018, accessed on February 7, 2019 .
  7. Regulation (EU) 2017/893 of the Commission of May 24, 2017 amending Annexes I and IV of Regulation (EC) No. 999/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council as well as Annexes X, XIV and XV of the Regulation (EU ) No. 142/2011 of the Commission on the provisions on processed animal protein , accessed on 10 September 2017 . In: EUR-Lex .
  8. Desirée Bea Cimbollek, Ralf Krause, Thomas S. Linke: Try something that's crawling - The practical insect food guide , Berlin 2014.


  1. Jens Kersten, Hans-Rainer Rohde, Ernst Nef (eds.): Compound feed production - raw materials, processes, technology . 3rd edition, Agrimedia Verlag, Clenze 2010, ISBN 978-3-86263-001-1 .
  2. Manfred Kirchgeßner: Animal nutrition - guidelines for study, advice and practice . 14th edition, DLG-Verlag, Frankfurt 2014, ISBN 978-3-7690-0819-7 .
  3. Jürgen Weiß, Wilhelm Pabst, Karl Ernst Strack, Susanne Granz; Animal production . 13th edition, Paray Verlag, 2005.
  4. Heinz Jeroch, Winfried Drochner, Ortwin Simon: Nutrition of farm animals . 2nd edition, Verlag Eugen Ulmer, 2008.

Web links

Commons : feed  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: feed  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations