Nutrition, feeding and animal husbandry

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
AGR/18 AGR/19
Learning objectives
The first aim of the course is to provide the basic knowledge on animal nutrition and feeding: the different alimentary and nutrient principles, the main feed (forages and concentrates), the requirements of the
animals in production (milk and meat) and the different practical feeding techniques. The second aim is to provide both theoretical and applied knowledge about husbandry techniques of domestic animals and the influence of animal production systems on quality of animal products,
environmental impact and animal welfare.
Expected learning outcomes
After passing the exam, the student will have gained
competence on the main feed, of their utilization by the
animals and of the different practical feeding techniques
under the various stages of development, the
physiological phases, and the levels of production.
Moreover he will have acquired basic skills and tools for
technical assessment of different animal production
systems in order to progress to higher levels of study or
to work in a livestock farm as a technician or consultant.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
Programme of the teaching unit 1: Animal Nutrition and Feeding. The chemical composition (water, minerals, organic matter, carbohydrates, lipids, nitrogenous compounds) and the related main chemical analyses of feeds will be described. Overview of the mineral and vitamin nutrition. The different factors affecting feed intake and digestibility will be examined. The role of fibre in animal nutrition and feeding and its dietetic and nutritive functions in ruminants and monogastrics will be carefully analysed. Energy and protein metabolism, the two pillars in animal nutrition, in ruminants and monogastrics will be thoroughly explained. Biological analyses of feeds for the determination of in vivo, in vitro (Tilley and Terry; Daisy) and in situ (nylon bags) digestibility, and the assessment of rumen fermentability (gas production) will be also described, in the view of showing to the students the importance of the interactions, beyond the chemical composition of the feed, between the feed itself and the digestive system. The main nutrient requirements of cattle (dairy and beef) and pigs, in the different stages of growth and physiological phases, will be summarized.In the second part of the course, the main feed (forages and concentrates) will be described. Particularly, among the forages (grass, hays, silages, stalks and straw) special reference will be made to those more frequently used: maize silage, Italian ryegrass, Lucerne, autumn-winter cereals. Among the concentrates a particular attention will be paid to the most important cereals, brans, protein meals of vegetable and animal origin, oilseeds, liquid feeds and different industrial by-products. Each feed will be considered for its main chemical and nutritional characteristics as well as the way of use.The last part of the course will focus on the feeding techniques, with practical examples of diets for dairy (calves, heifers, dry and lactating cows) and beef cattle (growing and fattening/finishing) and for pigs (piglet, growing, fattening/finishing, pregnant and lactating sow).
Main topics of the teaching unit 2: - Statistics and economics: animal production in Italy; livestock statistics; animal food production and consumption - Milk production: dairy cattle breeds; milk composition and properties; factors affecting milk yield and composition; lactation physiology; milking techniques; dairy herd management and feeding; reproduction and fertility; calf and heifer rearing. - Beef cattle production: beef cattle breeds; meat composition and structure; growth and development of meat animals; factors affecting meat production and quality; carcass evaluation; main beef cattle categories (veal calves, heifers, bulls); beef cattle management and feeding; cow-calf production systems - Swine production: swine breeds; sow reproduction; sow management and feeding; rearing replacement females; rearing and finishing techniques of light and heavy pigs.
Prerequisites for admission
Knowledge of inorganic and organic chemistry, biology, animal genetics, anatomy and physiology of domestic animals
Teaching methods
Frontal lessons with student involvement; educational visits at two livestock farms, one for cattle and one for pigs, to verify in the field the information and the knowledge gained in classroom.
Teaching Resources
Notes from the lessons and documents online on the course web site on ARIEL
For teaching unit 1 also:
Chapters: Basi di nutrizione e alimentazione del bestiame; Principi di conservazione dei foraggi; Alimenti from the manual: Fondamenti di Zootecnica, Bittante, Andrighetto and Ramanzin, Liviana Editrice, 2010.
or the manual: Nutrizione degli animali in produzione zootecnica di Antongiovanni, Edagricole, 2004.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam is divided into a written and an oral test.
The written test consists of 6 open questions, 3 relating to animal nutrition and feeding and 3 relating to husbandry techniques.
The evaluation criteria of the written test are based on the adherence to the question, on the ability to identify the most important aspects of the topic, on the correctness of the Italian form.
The oral exam consists of one or two short questions, often related to the aspects that were most lacking in the written test.
The mark is expressed in thirtieths
Animal husbandry
AGR/19 - ANIMAL SCIENCE - University credits: 4
Field activity: 16 hours
Lessons: 24 hours
Nutrition and feeding
AGR/18 - ANIMAL NUTRITION AND FEEDING - University credits: 4
Field activity: 16 hours
Lessons: 24 hours
On appointment
Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie e Ambientali, sez. Zootecnia
by appointment
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Via Celoria 2