A good start in life

07-06-2021 | |
Editor special projects
Photo: Misset
Photo: Misset

Young animal nutrition is a huge part of successful farming. For a farmer, this is fundamentally one of the most important areas that should be focussed on to achieve optimal performance from the animal.

Getting the young animal the right nutrition on time will reflect on their performance later on in life.


There are many advantages to getting animals off to a good start in life. In piglets, for example, production success comes through the rapid development of healthy microbiota in the gut. Receiving the right feed at the right time, can trigger this intrinsic ecosystem, which can lead to reaching slaughter weight earlier.


In neonate chicks, early nutrition is vital in order to meet the initial growth rate and the development of their gut. Poultry farmers could see an improvement in flock uniformity and performance as a result.


Finally, ruminants, like other species, are born with an underdeveloped digestive system. Without proper microbial flora the rumen function can be affected and proper development will suffer. Correct feeding of calves in the first 2 months of life can affect milking performance in the first lactations. Thus, rapid maturation of the rumen organ results in efficient feed intake and growth.

A good start in life for the animal = a good start for the farmer

The industry is fortunately recognising the importance of investing in neonatal nutrition and this special covers many aspects of this. From research into using plants and macroalgae extracts to boost health and gut integrity in young animals to how processing can affect the value of soybean meal. A good start in life for the animal = a good start for the farmer, well, that is how I sum it up. How do you see it?