The Maintenance Rations of Farm Animals
Source of Digital Item
It is the quantity of feed necessary simply to support the animal when doing no work and yielding no material product. If an animal receiving exactly a maintenance ration were subjected to a so-called balance experiment, there would be found an exact equality between income and outgo of ash, nitrogen, carbon, hydrogen, and energy, showing that the body was neither gaining nor losing protein, fat, carbohydrates, or ash.
The word "maintenance" is sometimes used popularly in another sense to signify the total amount of feed required, for example, by a horse in order to perform his daily work or by a calf in order to make a normal growth. It is important to grasp the idea that, in its technical sense, the maintenance requirement means the minimum required simply to sustain life. The feed of the horse or calf would, from this point of view, be regarded as consisting of two portions; one of these is the maintenance ration, which if fed by itself would just support the horse at rest or the calf without growth, and the other the productive portion of the ration by means of which work is done or growth made. To recur to the illustration of the factory, the maintenance ration keeps the empty machinery running, while the additional feed furnishes the power necessary to turn out the product.