Essence of Calcium and Phosphorus in Animal Nutrition

Calcium and phosphorus are essential minerals in animal nutrition and that require the need for laboratory analysis to ensure balanced ration is produced for optimum performance of livestocks. Most times farmers do not bother about things that may lead to deficiencies and cause huge loss in livestock investment.

Calcium is one of the main minerals needed by animals to grow, develop and produce. Its main function in the animal is for bone and teeth formation. A deficiency or imbalance in calcium can cause poor growth rates, poor bone development, reduced milk output and more obviously milk fever.

Grinded limestone is a common and economical calcium source for animals because it contains pure calcium carbonate which contains one of the highest levels of calcium—40%.

The importance of Calcium include blood clotting, nerve impulse transmission, cardiac regulation, immune system activation, muscle contraction, egg shell formation etc while Phosphorus regulates osmotic balance, acid-base balance, energy utilization and cellular metabolism. High calcium in diet can lead to high digesta pH which can affect absorption of other minerals.

Every animal has calcium and phosphorus requirements, therefore a nutritional guide should be used for compounding feed formulations from time to time or a nutritionist should be consulted to ensure that complete diets are produced for the animals consumption.

However, it is important to prevent calcium excess or deficiency in the feed as will lead to loss of production, nutritional deficiencies, loss of appetite, fragile bones, poor growth and poor feed efficiency.

Therefore, feed samples must be sent to the laboratory for a proximate analysis, it must be accurately done to confirm the calcium and phosphorus level.

Formulation of animal diets should be based on digestible Calcium and Phosphorus  through synchronization of non-conventional feed ingredients and efficient use of feed ingredients.

Lastly, feed mills, farmers and nutritionists must frequently check diets for calcium and phosphorus, necessary adjustments must be made on formulas.


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