When we are dealing with production animals, we cannot rely on the nutritional balance of rations or feeds alone. Indeed, a balanced feed is in some situations not well eaten and therefore cannot provide all its nutritional balance, thus impacting performance. The ingestion of a feed by an animal cannot be forced. What is the barrier between the balanced feed and the feed intake? The animal and its behaviour.

The feeding behaviour of animals
Ingestion" is the key to ensuring that the perfectly formulated feed delivers all the nutrients required by the animal and its production. Without voluntary ingestion by the animals, the feed cannot be effective.
Parameters external to the feed can influence the animal's feeding behaviour - heat stress, density, weaning, etc. - and parameters intrinsic to the feed can influence the animal's feeding behaviour. - and parameters intrinsic to the feed as well. Two major categories directly related to the feed and having an impact on voluntary intake can be highlighted:
  • The physical aspect of the feed: appropriate pellet hardness and size, absence of fines, etc. These parameters are linked to the technological manufacturing process and are perfectly mastered by the manufacturer.
  • Palatability of the feed: odour and taste. These parameters are controlled by a specific aromatic approach: it is the science of olfaction, and consequently of taste.
A poorly ingested balanced food is an expensive food
Animals have the physiology to detect smells and tastes very accurately (even more so than humans), and to identify the different components of a ration. Coupled with their neophobia, this can lead to unfavourable feeding behaviour for the farmer. The animals will reduce their food intake:
  • A rejected taste: a mineral that is not ingested, a food that is sorted out or rejected, certain compounds that are essential to the balance of a ration or a food sometimes taste bad.
  • Feed transitions: as we all know, these periods are delicate: between the limitation of milk feed, immature organs, to which must be added the drop in intake between two types of feed, which has an even greater impact on overall performance.
  • Formula variations: necessary to maintain a quality feed at a reasonable cost, they are detected by the animals and can cause drops in intake. 
Feed, however well-balanced, becomes a costly and unvalued expense for the farmer if it is not eaten or is eaten poorly by the animals.

Appetite tips the scales
The palatability of a foodstuff is something that needs to be worked on and is a profession in its own right. These animals, which have a nose and a taste, look not only at the physical profile of the food, but also at its aromatic profile, the key to palatability.
Palatability is essential for voluntary ingestion by animals and is mainly worked on with aromas. Knowing the olfactory and gustatory physiology of the animals, the aromatic molecules to which they respond positively, is essential for proposing the right aromas to secure the ingestion of the feed and to allow the animals to benefit from the full nutritional balance of their feed. For good performance.

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