Formulate three rations for an animal species of choice for the life cycle of that animal, including growth, reproduction and either maintenance, lactation or a type of ‘performance’ if it exists. This will vary considerably between animal breeds and species and provides scope for you to focus a diet on a particular key stage of a lifecycle or performance event (eg, hibernation in bears, racing in greyhounds, the ‘rut’ in deer or simply maintenance in an aging golden retriever. Carefully explain why these rations have been developed according to the published nutritional requirements for this species. For domesticated animals (cattle, dogs etc) there are documented values for nutritional constituents, which often don’t exist for many wildlife species. Where animals have been selected that do not have sufficient nutritional parameters published, extrapolations from ‘similar’ species with known parameters may have to be undertaken. For example, Blackbuck antelope may have similar requirements to certain species of deer and African Hunting Dogs may have similar requirements to certain breeds of domestic canids. Research and reference these well.
Discuss the most important nutrients at different stages of the life cycle of this animal, along with any potential problems associated with nutrition and feeding of this animal. There may be certain points in the life cycles of animals where particular nutrients or requirements are higher than in others. For example, calcium requirements for laying hens, phosphorus requirements for deer growing velvet antler, calcium to phosphorus ratios in growing puppies or amino acid requirements in growing pigs. Identify and discuss the nutrients that have the greatest impact on the animal if not supplied to meet the requirements of the animal at that stage of its life cycle. Discuss any potential problems associated with the feeding of these animals, whether in general, or at particular stages of their life cycle. Problems may be in formulating rations, meeting dietary requirements from available feedstuffs (of particular importance with non-domesticates) or in relation to differences between lifecycle changes in nutritional requirements. For example, hypocalcaemia, pregnancy toxaemia, acidosis, urinary calculi, osteochondrosis.