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The relevance of feed diversity and choice in nutrition of ruminant livestock

Leiber, Florian; Walkenhorst, Michael and Holinger, Mirjam (2020) The relevance of feed diversity and choice in nutrition of ruminant livestock. Landbauforschung Journal of Sustainable and Organic Agricultural Systems, 70 (1), pp. 35-38.

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Online at: https://www.landbauforschung.net/issues/vol-70-1-2020/


In this position paper, we argue that the realisation of forage diversity and feed choice for ruminant livestock should be considered as an essential aspect of animal welfare because selection from an array of different plants is an important experience for such animals. We provide examples that diet balancing with regard to nutrients and plant secondary metabolites is particularly for ruminants so much essential that this ability must be a deeply rooted cognitive and behavioural predisposition. In this context, we assume feed choice to be a behavioural need of ruminants. Therefore, we argue in favour of nutritional concepts, which account for botanical and biochemical diversity and are based on behavioural research approaches. We provide a brief outlook of potential research topics, which we consider important if the societal target of animal welfare is to be reached in European ruminant production systems.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:feeding, forage diversity, ruminant livestock, animal welfare
Subjects: Animal husbandry > Production systems > Beef cattle
Animal husbandry > Feeding and growth
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Animal Husbandry and Breeding
Deposited By: Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL
ID Code:38148
Deposited On:22 Jun 2020 09:10
Last Modified:22 Jun 2020 09:10
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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