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Ever spotted your pet, a cat or a dog maybe feed on a lizard, a rat, or a tiny helpless creature? On the other end of your farm, the sheep and chicken were completely unperturbed by the presence of the other small animals. It is such a balance; the feeding habits of animals are different. As grain is to the poultry birds, so is grass to the cattle.
The feeding habits of farm animals are different because of their adaptability to the habitat in which they are raised, the availability of food which determines what the animals will eat, the level of competition for food, and the varying physiological features of the different farm animals.
For a moment, imagine a farm in which all your animals would only eat one specific animal feed. The chaos this would bring if every time you went in to feed the animals they all came running towards the same food and feeding points. So what is it really that saves you from such a hustle? Take a look at what makes your farm animals have different feeding habits.
Why are the Feeding Habits of Farm Animals Different?
Different animals have different feeding habits due to their habitat and adaptability. A living organism’s physiological and morphological aspects are primarily informed by their surroundings. The environment defines what food an animal living there requires to survive.
In effect, the habitat determines the kind of food that is available. In the savanna, for example, there are enough animals that feed on plants since it is easily available.
Naturally, different animals have to resort to different food and feeding habits to reduce competition. This is the primary concept in Darwin’s theory of natural selection. It is the fittest that survive.
For survival, different animal farms need to have different feeding habits. Different feeding habits on the farm reduce the competition that would otherwise be. Various feeding habits reduce significantly the number of animal species that eat the same food. It lowers the competition to acquire food and with that, every animal on the farm is assured of their pie.
Animal’s eating habits also have to do with their physiological features. Different animal species have different structures of the digestive system. In essence, grass contains cellulose and can only be digested by the ruminant stomach. As such, hardly would a cat or a dog digest plant feeds. But the two animals are better eating meat and bones from their teeth adaptation.
What are the Feeding Habits of Different Farm Animals?
Different farm animals do not only have varying feeding habits but also a difference in how they eat their food. Animals like rabbits and rats feed on hard grains and nuts. They use their very sharp front cutting teeth to bite into the hard nuts. This method of eating is also known as gnawing. Mice and rabbits nibble their food by taking small bites.
Animals like cows have a special way of obtaining nutrients from feeds. They first swallow their food whole to fill their stomach. Later on, they regurgitate their cud and keep chewing it for several hours. The process of returning the food from the stomach and chewing it is commonly known as chewing cud, or simply rumination.
Insects such as bees and butterflies have long tubes through which they are able to suck nectar from plants. Dogs and cats on the other hand use their tongues to lap up their food. Cats and dogs also lap liquids like water and milk using their tongues. Cats have rough tongues that have sharp edges surfaces. It is this feature that makes it possible for them to lap liquids and also groom their fur.
Birds do not have teeth. They swallow their food whole. Poultry birds like chicken spend most of the time foraging around the dirt. They pick up delectable insects, grains and grasses, and sometimes even rodents. It is a natural feeding habit of chicken.
How are Animals Classified Based on their Feeding Habits?
A food chain is formed from the different feeding habits of animals. The food chain includes many different types of animals, each with its specific food. Animals are classified into 3 major classifications according to their feeding habits. These classifications include herbivores, omnivores and carnivores.
Herbivores refer to animals that eat plants only. They mainly focus on eating the fruits or seeds of plants. Some herbivores may eat the stems and leaves as well ignoring the roots. These animals have specialized digestive tracts and are able to handle the different types of plants they might eat. In most cases, herbivores are large animals in size such as cows and deer. Herbivores can also be medium-sized animals such as goats and sheep.
Omnivores are animals that eat both plants and meat. Since they have the most diversified eating habits, these animals have a wide selection of food. It is therefore easy for them to satisfy their hunger and dietary needs. Omnivores are also known as opportunistic eaters. They eat anything that is available when they are hungry.
Such animals have the advantage of readily finding food all year-round since they eat what is available. During the summer an omnivore will readily feed on fruits and nuts growing on plants. Throughout the other seasons of the year, omnivores will hunt for meat.
Bears are an example of big sized omnivores. They eat plants such as berries and nuts when they are growing. They also eat fish when its spring. Bears will hunt for animals during any season when they need something to eat. Pigs are examples of medium-sized animals.
Carnivores are animals that eat meat only. These are mammals that only eat meat obtained from other animals. Carnivores in the wild hunt other animals for food. They are likely to spend most of their days hunting to obtain enough food. Big sized carnivores include lions, wolves and tigers. Some birds such as eagles and hawks are also carnivores. Birds such as robins, spiders, and frogs are examples of small carnivores.