Animal husbandry

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
AGR/18 AGR/19
Learning objectives
Aim of the course is to supply the basic knowledge on: 1) the rearing techniques of the main animal species of northern Italy (namely dairy and meat cattle, and pigs) with notes on the influence of the farming systems on production and quality of milk and meat, environment, and animal welfare; 2) nutrition, as description of the different nutrients and their utilization in the organism, and feeding, as a characterization of the main feeds and nutritive requirements of dairy cattle and pigs.
Expected learning outcomes
Once passed the final exam, the student will have acquired basic skills in animal nutrition and feeding, and the ability to formulate simple diets for dairy cattle and pigs; he/she will have also the basic skills and tools for the technical evaluation of different breeding systems in view of an in-depth study during the master's degree and for a professional support to the livestock farm.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
In the emergency phase, some details of the course and the exam will change. In particular:
Program - The course program will remain unchanged
Teaching methods - During the semester, weeks of face-to-face lessons will alternate with weeks of remote lessons in sync on Teams. Face-to-face lessons will be always available in sync on Teams for students not present in the class. All lessons will be recorded and made available to students asynchronously on the Ariel course site. Participation in face-to-face lessons must be booked via the specific app. Depending on pandemic conditions, field exercises are planned at some livestock farms. All information, notices, as well as teaching materials and recordings will be available on the Ariel course website.
Reference material - The reference material will remain unchanged and will be available on the Ariel website of the course
Learning assessment methods and assessment criteria - In the case of the continuation of the emergency phase, the exam will take place at the end of the course orally on the Microsoft Teams platform. Evaluation criteria: adherence to the question, ability to identify the salient aspects of the topic, properties of the technical-scientific language adopted
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
Face-to-face 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
Allevamento delle principali specie da reddito
AGR/18 - ANIMAL NUTRITION AND FEEDING - University credits: 0
AGR/19 - ANIMAL SCIENCE - University credits: 0
Field activity: 8 hours
Lessons: 28 hours
Basi di nutrizione e alimentazione animale
AGR/18 - ANIMAL NUTRITION AND FEEDING - University credits: 0
AGR/19 - ANIMAL SCIENCE - University credits: 0
Field activity: 16 hours
Lessons: 24 hours
Educational website(s)
On appointment
Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie e Ambientali, sez. Zootecnia
by appointment
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Via Celoria 2