Livestock farming has grown tremendously over the years. This has been due to increased demand for domestic animal products. With more farmers practising cattle rearing, the demand for feed also intensified. Consequentially, the price of livestock feed increased making it difficult for cattle farmers to sustain high quality dietary plans. As such, the agricultural community has been focused on the discovery of alternative feed sources that are not only readily available but can meet the nutritional needs of livestock. It has therefore been established that agricultural by-products such as cucumber can be used for animal feed, provided the recommended guidelines are met. Farmers are advised to acquire knowledge on nutritional needs of cows so as to provide relevant supplementary feeds as well as accurate rations.
The nutritional value of feed is of the essence in livestock health. Similar to humans, animals have nutritional requirements that need to be met in order to carryout different bodily functions. Failure to meet these needs exposes them to a variety of health related illnesses and diseases. Animal dietary needs largely comprise of carbohydrates and proteins. These must form the basis of livestock feed. Vitamins and minerals are also necessary for health and productivity. Studies reveal that cows can feed on cucumber so as to meet their daily nutritional requirements. Cucumber are a good source of roughage and vitamins including C, A and K. They are also rich in minerals, namely; manganese, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, potassium as well as phosphorus. It is recommended to provide cucumber only as part of animal feed. This is because it is lacking in some necessary nutrients and minerals such as sodium among others. Usage of cucumber as a replacement for normal feed is not advisable because it cannot solely sustain animal dietary plans. That being said, cows can eat cucumber in order to supplement their feed, absorb nutrients necessary for growth, health and productivity.
The physiological development of livestock is dependent on the type of feed as well rations provided. Calves given poor quality feed and insufficient rations may not fully development to reach their full potential. For mature animals, this impacts on their overall weight as well as productivity. As previously stated, the feeding value of a feedstuff is mainly determined by its energy and protein content. Crude fibre is of the utmost importance for proper functioning of the rumen. Cucumber is an excellent source of roughage which is necessary for digestion. Cows can feed on cucumber in order eliminate digestion related challenges and so are given the opportunity for growth, maintenance and production. Cucumber is also a rich source of trace elements. Trace minerals are often ignored by farmers as they are considered to have no impact on growth. However, studies reveal that although effects of deficiencies are not experienced immediately, they do exist. In fact, it can take several months for deficiencies to appear. Reduced reproductive performance and impaired health are some of the consequences. Ill animals do not grow well, tend to weigh much less and cost farmers a lot of money in form of veterinary as well as medical costs. In severe cases, even after recovery they might not reach their full potential and so command less market value. Cows can eat cucumber as a preventative measure against these effects.
Dairy cows can feed on cucumber in order to absorb nutrients that are needed for milk production. Cucumber is a rich source of roughage among other nutrients. Provision of good quality roughage and a high rate of supplementation with relevant feeds is necessary to achieve high milk production. Cows with dietary plans rich in roughage tend to perform better than those deprived of sufficient roughage. They can produce about 8 to 10 litres of milk per day while those lacking in roughage only produce 2 to 3 litres. Lactating cows are most productive during the 100 days of giving birth and so require feed rich in roughage so as to improve on quality as well as the quantity of milk produced. Therefore, cows can eat cucumber as a means to maintain a healthy physical state so that they are able to produce high quality yield. Dietary plans lacking in sufficient roughage among other nutrients have adverse effects on productivity. The following consequences are experienced:
- Low lactation yield
- Poor condition
- Poor fertility
- Delayed heat and sometime no heat signs
- Low fat test and ketosis
An advice given to dairy farmers seeking to improve on productivity is to provide livestock with good quality roughage. If a cow receives less than the required amount, it begins to lose weight which leads to reduced milk production.
Cows can eat cucumber for health purposes. However, in order for them to efficiently absorb nutrients necessary for sustenance, proper feeding management is of the essence. According to research, feed management does not only determine productivity but it also has a major impact on animal health. Livestock can only experience good health when provided with well-balanced dietary plans. Feed rations are also essential because they provide animals with the amount of nutrients needed for body functions. In general, animals need energy, protein, vitamins as well as minerals for maintenance. As such, it is the responsibly of farmers to make sure that livestock acquire feed inclusive of these nutrients. Protein is necessary for growth, maintenance, reproduction and production. Vitamins found in cucumber help to maintain a strong immune system and so offer livestock some form of resistance against disease and infection. In addition, cows can eat cucumber to absorb roughage needed for rumination thereby enabling them to effectively absorb nutrients needed for health maintenance.
To add on, cows can feed on cucumber as it contains trace minerals necessary for blood synthesis, hormone structure, reproduction, vitamin synthesis, enzyme formation and maintaining the integrity of the immune system. Iron found in cucumber helps to maintain the immune system. Manganese is of the essence in enzyme activation, growth as well as born formation. Potassium is necessary for osmotic pressure, acid base balance and nerve transmission. Other trace minerals that are important include phosphorus which plays a role in energy metabolism and zinc that helps to repair damaged tissues as well as in teat keratin formation. As such, cows can feed on cucumber for these benefits and to avoid deficiencies which are detrimental to health and productivity in the long run.