With the rapid rise of animals being raised for production more and more animals are being raised in feedlots instead of in pastures. These animals are kept mostly indoors instead of being kept outside for the majority of the year, and we are giving them feed that has been specially formulated to speed up their growth and bring them to “market weight,” while still supplying them with the nutrients that they need to survive. This also minimizes the cost to those operators that are raising the animals.
Animal feed is specially formulated by a nutritionist to provide all the necessarily balanced nutrients needed for proper development, growth, and maintenance. These feeds that are used are designed to compensate for the supplements and nutrients that may be missing from their natural diet.
These feeds are heavily regulated by the government to ensure that the animals that are eating them are getting nothing but the best of the best. To begin a career working as an animal nutritionist, you will need extensive schooling; at least a bachelor’s degree will be required, but depending on the exact job you want to hold you may be required to obtain a doctoral degree of some kind.
There are regulations, which care governed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, and they are responsible for the enforcement and implementation, that must be followed. There are also numerous certification programs that are available for additional regulation and compliance.
Once a recipe has been formulated for the feed, the ingredients are then mixed together. This mixing process is extremely important because it will determine the final outcome of the product. The ingredients that are used in animal feed manufacturing can either be dry, liquid, or moist.
The dry ingredients are mixed together first, and then those are followed by any supplements, such as vitamins and minerals. If a wet or moist ingredient is going to be added it will be done at the very end so that it can act as a bonding agent.
Once the feed has been mixed according to FDA regulations, it will then need to be packaged. The animal feed manufacturers will then need to determine how to safely ship the feed to its destination. If the feed is going to a retailer, then it will need to be packaged and tagged with the proper federal and state labeling regulations.
Per regulations, labels will need to list what ingredients are being used in the feed, list how the feed is to be used, and how you are supposed to administer the feed safely also. Some state regulations will also require that labels guarantee analysis, any warnings that might go along with the feed, and manufacturer information.
The process that goes into safely making and distributing animal feed is an extensive and heavily regulated one. When animal feed manufacturers work on providing the best possible feed to their customers they make sure they are using the best ingredients available to them, and adding supplements when and where they are needed.