Digestive system

Know your terms. Food Chemistry 101

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The bursa is most prominent in young birds and serves as the area where B-lymphocytes the white blood cells that produce antibodies are generated T-lymphocytes are generated in the Thymus. Digestible fibre has nutrients locked away inside it, so the colon diverts it to the caecum for processing. Sodium chloride, the scientific name for salt, is crucial in your pets cellular functions and nerve signal transmission. Still, the environment in which the fetal gilt develops is significant to the reproductive and physiological development. Data from a study in by Nelson and Robinson showed that gilts from a small litter size ovulated more than the gilts from the larger litters. Strobila 10 cm long and 2—5 mm wide.

Nutrients & Supplements Topics

Digestive Problems

Exotic animal nutritionists in zoos and in the feed industry are studying problems and generating information on proper nutritional management for many species.

All animals require nutrients and energy in a metabolizable form. The nutrients and energy must be properly balanced and in the correct form to accommodate particular tastes, digestive systems, and feeding methods. For example, large psittacines typically use their feet to hold food, whereas other species obtain or position food using other appendages or they do not manipulate food.

If a commercial extruded food is fed, the pieces must be large enough for the bird to grasp easily. Diets for exotic and zoo animals have been developed by considering food habits in the wild, oral and GI tract morphology, nutrient requirements established for domestic and laboratory animals and people, nutritional research on exotic species, and practical experience.

The ultimate criteria to evaluate the suitability of a diet for a given species are growth, reproductive success, and longevity. The minimum nutrient requirements established by the National Research Council NRC for domestic and laboratory animals can be useful starting points in setting target nutrient levels for an exotic species.

For example, the Nutrient Requirements of Small Ruminants, published by the NRC in , contains nutritional information on cervids white-tailed deer, red deer, wapiti, and caribou and camelids llamas and alpacas.

For many exotic species that have closely related domestic counterparts, diets can be formulated to contain nutrients that would meet the requirements established for ungulates, mustelids, canids, felids, rodents, primates, lagomorphs, gallinaceous and anseriform birds, and fish.

However, nutrient requirements established by the NRC should be used only as guidelines, because the goals of livestock producers in feeding their animals include rapid and efficient gain and high milk yield or egg production—goals that differ from the goals in zoo animal management.

In zoos and other exotic animal collections, a maintenance diet should be fed in general, although a breeding or other specific diet may be needed sometimes, depending on the animal and circumstances.

Although the NRC requirements are less directly applicable to other species, they can still serve as a useful general reference to evaluate the nutritional adequacy for most birds and mammals.

The formulation and evaluation of diets for reptiles and amphibians is even more difficult, because there are no domestic animal models and because metabolic rates of poikilothermic animals fluctuate with changes in ambient temperature. Once the nutrient concentrations for the diet have been established, the types and amounts of foodstuffs, methods of presentation, and feeding frequencies should be selected based on the physical and behavioral attributes of the species.

All food should be of good quality. Food and water dishes should be thoroughly cleaned before adding food or water. Clean, fresh water should always be available to nonmarine species. Cafeteria-style feeding is strongly discouraged, because captive animals rarely select a balanced diet if given a wide selection of foods.

Usually, a nutritionally complete commercial product or in-house mixture that cannot be sorted should comprise the bulk of the diet, with components such as meat, fruit, and seeds comprising only a small percentage. Pelleted diets are especially important with psittacines, to avoid self-selection of calcium-deficient seeds. But beside being acted upon chemically it is crushed and triturated in the gizzard, especially in graminivorous and granivorous birds, which possess a strong muscular stomach.

Thus comminuted it is known as "chyme," and passes through the pylorus into the small intestine, in the first loop of which, the "duodenum," it is mixed with the bile and pancreatic juice, these two fluids being the secretions of the liver and the pancreas.

Their principal action is to convert its soluble parts into "peptones", which are to be conveyed into the Lymphatic System, and so into the Blood. Their absorption as chyle is effected by numerous "villi" or projections which line the walls of the whole Canal from the pylorus to the cloaca.

At the beginning of the rectum the caeca, when such are functional, receive the remaining chyme, and it is probable that in them certain hitherto undissolved matter, as cellulose and possibly chitin, is acted upon by methane, so as to extract as much nutrition as possible from the food. After remaining a due time in the caeca, their contents return to the retum, and are finally ejected through the cloaca as faeces. The caecum can absorb some of the nutrients but most need to go back through the small intestine to be absorbed.

To achieve this, the fermented fibre moves back into the colon, where it is coated in protective mucus, before being excreted from the body as special droppings, called cecotropes or cecal droppings. The rabbit eats these droppings a process called cacography so they pass through the digestive tract again. In their new format, the small intestine can easily absorb the nutrients. Having such a specialised digestion system has drawbacks.

Whilst it's very efficient at processing high fibre - low nutrient food like grass, the wrong types of food or sudden diet changes can easily disrupt it throwing the whole digestive system out of balance. I'm Tamsin, and I like rabbits, such as Scamp at the top there.

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