Interesting uses of animal waste you didn’t know

Just like in humans, when animals eat, the body breaks down what is eaten, absorbs the needed nutrients, and gets rid of the unwanted residue as sweat, urine, and feces. It is a process that all living things must go through for a balanced healthy body. In animal farms or in keeping pets, feces are commonly seen as waste products and treated as such. But are they really to be wasted at all? Based on what is commonly seen in Nigeria, animal farms produce huge amount of fecal waste on a daily basis and most of the waste is dumped in streams, rivers and lagoons or left to decompose in the open which pose a significant environmental hazard. The air pollutants emitted from such waste include methane, nitrous oxide, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds and particulate matter, which can cause serious environmental concerns and health problems. In addition, the uncomfortable disgusting smell in such environment is a great concern. This is even more obvious in abattoirs and slaughterhouses all over Nigeria.

But what if we knew that there are alternative ways of “wasting” these fecal waste products that are even more beneficial to the overall process of animal farming and production? And what if it has the added advantage of improving your farm productivity, improving your income, and preserving our environment? Great! Now let’s look at these alternative ways of making use of fecal animal waste and later, check out some other weird uses of animal fecal waste that were done in the past.

This might slightly disgust you but it will also amaze you!

 

  • As Manure and Fertilizers

Animal feces can be commonly used as animal manures for the soil especially for those that are involved in mixed farming (plant and animal farming). Manure is an excellent fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other nutrients. It also adds organic matter to the soil which may improve soil structure, aeration, soil moisture-holding capacity, and water infiltration. Manure from different animals has different qualities and requires different application rates when used as fertilizer.

Forexample horses, cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens, turkeys, rabbits,and guano from seabirds and bats all have different properties. Sheep manure is high in nitrogen and potash, while pig manure is relatively low in both. Horses mainly eat grass and a few weeds so horse manure can contain grass and weed seeds, as horses do not digest seeds the way that cattle do. Chicken litter is very concentrated in nitrogen and phosphate and is prized for both properties.

  • For Biogas generation

Animal feces and waste is a valuable source of biogas – one of the great form of renewable energy today. The introduction of tighter environmental controls on odour and water pollution resulting from animal waste means that some form of waste management is necessary, which provides further incentives for biomass-to-energy conversion. The biogas potential of animal manure can be harnessed both at small- and community-scale.

Normally, organic materials that decompose in a warm, airless environment release biogas and this process occurs spontaneously in nature. However, for a larger scale or industrial use, biogas production can be hastened by sealing the organic material inside a heated, airtight tank called a digester and this process is called anaerobic digestion of feces. This unique treatment solution for animal wastescan  deliver  positive  benefits  related  to  multiple  issues,  including  renewable  energy, water pollution, and air emissions. Biogas, through anaerobic digestion of animal manure is gaining popularity as a means to protect the environment and to recycle materials efficiently into the farming systems. For example, there are Waste-to-Energy (WTE) plants, based on anaerobic digestion of cow manure, that are highly efficient in harnessing the untapped renewable energy potential of organic waste by converting the biodegradable fraction of the waste into high calorific gases. The establishment of anaerobic digestion systems for livestock manure stabilization and energy production has accelerated substantially in the past several years especially in western countries. There are thousands of digesters operating at commercial livestock facilities in Europe, United States, Asia that are generating such clean energy and fuel from biogas produced from animal fecal waste.

Other interesting uses of animal feces in the past include the following;

  • For Traditional medicine and remedies

A very long time ago, our ancestors depended solely on traditional remedies to cure their ills. They used plants, animals, magic, and a lot of different minerals. Even today, a lot of people still use a wide range of traditional medicine.

In China, tiger parts and products are some of the most important ingredients in traditional medicine. Tiger feces have been used to treat boils, hemorrhoids, and alcoholism.

About 80 percent of Africans also employ traditional medicine for their health care. A lot of animal feces are applied for such treatments, including that of elephants, palm squirrels, chimpanzees, mongooses, civet cats, and cane rats. These animals’ feces are used for a lot of problems, such as gonorrhea, keloids, barrenness, and miscarriages as well as for spiritual strength and powers.

  • For Birth Control

In 2000 BC, Egyptian physicians recommended using pessaries of crocodile dung as a spermicide. While this ancient birth control method is no doubt unavailable at your local pharmacy, you can probably ask your local crocodile to provide it under the table.

  • About Elephants and Paper Products

Since elephants only digest 45% of their food, and the waste product is mostly fiber, the Thai Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang, Northern Thailand has developed a method for making elephant dung into paper. The paper is later cut and fashioned into handmade notebooks. Amazingly, an elephant can generate enough dung to make 115 pages of paper a day (or an 1/8th of a Stephen King novel).

As for the process, papermakers boil the fibers for sterilization before spinning and framing them into paper. Of course, elephants aren’t the only ones getting into the stationery business. In Thailand, Panda Poop Paper is also quite popular, and the Welsh company Sheep Poo Paper has also managed to make paper from, you guessed it, sheep dung.

  • About Llamas to Fight Pollution

Oddly enough, in Bolivia, llama dung is being used to combat pollution in the water supply from abandoned mines. The microbes living in the dung neutralize the acidic water and remove dissolved metals like iron, neutralizing the pH of the water. This filtration method isn’t unique to Bolivia, though. The technique was originally developed in the United Kingdom through use of cattle and horse manure.

  • Bats to Fight Wars

Up until World War I, bat caves were essential resources, providing American soldiers with materials for gunpowder and explosives. That’s because dried bat guano consists largely of saltpeter (potassium nitrate). In fact, it’s been used by the United States as early as the War of 1812 for making gunpowder. Bat droppings also played a major role in prolonging the Civil War. During the conflict, nearly every substantial Gray Bat cave in the South was harvested for its guano, and the Confederacy relied on these caves as a source for saltpeter long after supply lines were cut off.

  • Moose Droppings for Tourists

Fecal droppings from moose are made into souvenirs in Alaska, Maine, Colorado and Canada. In fact, Talkeetna, Alaska has an annual Moose Dropping Festival every July. Highlights of the event include the Moose Dropping Drop Game, where numbered nuggets of moose dropping are tossed out of a helicopter and participants place bets on where they will land. There’s also a Moose Poop Toss Game. And bagpipers. Really! Typical moose poop souvenirs include Moose Poop earrings, Moose Nugget swizzle sticks, Moose Poop tie tacks, and Moose Poop mugs.

 

Quail Eggs – What about them?

What are Quail Eggs?

Quail eggs are the eggs laid by various species of quail, which are in the order Galliformes.  Quail are mid-sized birds found through Europe, North Africa, the southern United States, parts of Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Quail eggs are notably smaller than duck and chicken eggs, and are widely consumed and sold as novelty foods around the world. They are popular in Japanese bento boxes, and are typically eaten 3-5 at a time, due to their small size. Aside from being considered “cute” in many cultures, they are also packed with nutrients that make them a delicious and healthy option to add to your daily or weekly diet.

In the Yoruba-speaking parts of Nigeria, quail eggs are commonly known as eyin aro or eyin aparo. They are usually raised as backyard farm animals in Nigeria and are sold in food markets or by hawkers on the road. In recent times, quail eggs have received more and more attention in Nigeria as it’s rumored benefits continue to abound. These benefits are not spoken of  in Nigeria alone but also in the western world where the sale of quail eggs have risen (due to these) and have even become more expensive than chicken eggs. Though there have been arguments for and against if quail eggs are really that beneficial or are just over-hyped, we cannot ignore the positive beneficial findings of various peer-reviewed studies on quail eggs  over the years.

It is important to note that they have a higher yolk-to-white ratio than normal chicken eggs, which can make them potentially dangerous for people with elevated cholesterol, but generally, quail eggs are considered very healthy.

That being said, let’s take a closer look at some of the health benefits of quail eggs

They improve vision

There is an impressively high level of vitamin A found in quail eggs, which means that it helps to protect our vision and eye health. The antioxidant activity of vitamin A can help to reduce macular degeneration and prevent the development of cataracts, helping you see better for longer!

They provide cholesterol balance

There is a good amount of beneficial fatty acids found in quail eggs that many people enjoy due to their heart-boosting effects. HDL cholesterol is the “good” form of cholesterol that our body needs to offset the negative effects of LDL cholesterol, and HDL makes up more than 60% of the fat in quail eggs. However, for people with pre-existing cholesterol problems, adding large quantities of these eggs to your diet might not be the best choice, as there is roughly 1.6 grams of saturated fat in each serving.

They stimulate growth

Just like with regular chicken eggs, quail eggs provide a solid boost of protein to the diet, which we need for countless processes in our body. Proteins are broken down into their constituent components and reformed for new cells, tissue, muscle, bone, and blood vessels. The protein punch of these eggs can ensure healthy and normal growth/repair.

They reduce blood pressure 

There are many essential minerals found in quail eggs, and potassium happens to be one of them. Although the cardio-protective effects of quail eggs are still under heavy research, the presence of potassium means blood pressure-reducing abilities, as this mineral acts as a vasodilator, relieving strain and stress on the arteries and blood vessels. There is also FAR more potassium in quail eggs than in normal chicken eggs.

They detoxify and cleanse the body

Detoxifying the body is important, particularly in a world filled with toxins, pollutants, and heavy metals. Studies have shown that adding these eggs to your diet can help eliminate toxins from the blood stream, as help to reduce the size of bladder stones and kidney stones.

They prevent chronic diseases 

Antioxidants are crucial components of human health, as we are constantly battling free radicals that cause chronic disease and cancer. Quail eggs possess significant levels of vitamin C and vitamin A, which can help to neutralize those free radicals and protect your overall health.

They soothe allergies

Quail eggs are naturally high in ovomucoid protein, which acts in the body as a natural anti-allergenic. Therefore, if you are suffering from congestion, inflammation, or other symptoms of allergic reactions, quail eggs could help in getting your body back to normal.

They increase metabolism

The range of B-family vitamins that are found in quail eggs result in boosted metabolic activity throughout the body, including hormonal and enzymatic function. By ensuring smooth bodily processes and organ functions, quail eggs can be far more than a delicious treat!

They raise energy levels: The long list of minerals and micronutrients found in these tiny eggs, as well as the protein boost of nearly 6 grams per serving, makes these eggs particularly good for an early morning surge of energy and mood. A high-protein, nutrient-dense breakfast is highly recommended for those who often feel dependent on caffeine or other stimulants to regulate their energy levels.

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As mentioned earlier, there is a moderate amount of saturated fat in these eggs, so any consumption should be made in moderation, and any major alterations to your diet should be approved by a trained medical professional. Aside from that, feel free to crack open a quail egg and enjoy in any way you can!

 

 

Adapted from Organic Facts

9 Food Animals with Amazing By-products You Didn’t Know

Animals play very important roles in our lives – roles that are highly underestimated and under-utilized in Nigeria. Animals can be kept as pets, raised as food and also provide products that are important to our everyday life. As you read on, you would be very surprised at how many things come from each of the following animals.

Cattle

Beef is definitely one of the most widely consumed meat in Nigeria. Beef cattle provide different cuts of meat that many of us eat every day. These include ribs, steak, fillet mignon and ground beef. Beef cattle also provides us with the treasured delicacy of inu eran which is basically the cattle offal including intestines, lungs, spleen, liver etc.

Dairy cows are another type of cattle that provide us with nutritional products. There are many different dairy products but some you might be most familiar with include milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, and ice cream. Other dairy products include sour cream, cottage cheese, whey, cream cheese, and condensed milk. Dairy products are often consumed (after processing) in its entirety or used in cooking and baking. They contain calcium, which can help to strengthen your bones.

When dairy animals can no longer produce milk, they are often used for meat, primarily in the form of ground beef. It is possible to get the same cuts of meat from a dairy cow that you do a beef animal. Male dairy calves, called bull calves, that are not used for beef are often used for veal. Veal is meat from younger animals and is very lean (that is, has little fat). It is considered a delicacy in many western countries.

There are various by-products that come from all types of cattle. They include;

  • Tallow; which is fat from cattle, and it is used in wax paper, crayons, margarine, paints, rubber, lubricants, candles, soaps, lipsticks, shaving creams, and other cosmetics.
  • Gelatin is a protein obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones of cattle in water. Gelatin is used in shampoos, face masks and other cosmetics. Gelatin is also used in foods as a thickener for fruit gelatins and puddings (like Jell-O), candies and marshmallows.
  • Leather comes from the hides of animals. It is used to make wallets, purses, furniture, shoes and car upholstery. Leather can be made from the skin of pigs, cattle, sheep, goats and exotic species such as alligators.

 

Pigs

In Nigeria, pork may be no-no among our Muslim brethren and in northern Nigeria, but on a global scale, pork is the most widely consumed meat in the world. People eat many different pork products, such as bacon, sausage, ham and pork chops. In addition to pork, several valuable products come from pigs. These include insulin for the regulation of diabetes, valves for human heart surgery, suede for shoes and clothing, and gelatin for foods and non-food uses. Pig by-products are also important parts of products such as water filters, insulation, rubber, antifreeze, certain plastics, floor waxes, crayons, chalk, adhesives and fertilizer. Lard is fat from pig abdomens and it is commonly used in shaving creams, soaps, make-up, baked goods and other foods.

 

Poultry

Poultry meat, especially broiler meat, is also widely consumed in Nigeria. Meat from chickens can come in many different forms such as BBQ, wings, nuggets, boneless, roasted or fried, just to name a few. Chickens also produce eggs which serve as a source of protein and are used in baking. Eggs are also used to produce therapeutic vaccines and to produce antibodies and pharmacological proteins in medical research

Some lesser-known members of the poultry family include turkeys, ducks and geese. We use all three of these animals for meat production. In the western world, Turkey is growing in popularity as a lean protein and alternative products, such as turkey bacon and sausage, are available.

The eggs from all three of these species are safe to eat; they are sometimes just larger in size or a different color than traditional chicken eggs. Feathers from ducks and geese are also used as stuffing and decorations in jackets and pillows.

 

Sheep

Sheep produce a wide variety of items that people use. Like cows, sheep produce milk that is safe for people to drink. This milk can be made into cheese, yoghurt, and various other dairy products.

Sheep provide meat in the form of lamb, which is from an animal less than a year old, or mutton, which is from an animal older than a year. Sheep meat is mainly consumed in Europe and the Mid-East, but sheep are mainly raised in Australia and New Zealand.

Sheep Shearing – Other than meat, wool is one of the most commonly known products from sheep. Wool is sheep hair that is shaved off during hot weather. After processing, wool can be made into lots of different things, such as shirts, socks, yarn for knitting and tennis ball covers. Wool is also used as an oil absorbent in oil spills.

After slaughter, sheep skins are turned into leather used in car upholstery, clothing, and shoes. The bones, hooves and horns of sheep are also used to make products such as gelatin, tape, brushes, and pet food ingredients.

 

Goats

Meat from goats is a type of red meat and can come in many different cuts from the animal. Goat meat is not widely consumed in the United States, but it is a popular protein source in developing countries. In Nigeria, goat meat is in fact, a popular delicacy including the head of goat, widely known as isi ewu.

Goats also produce milk that can be made into cheese, yogurt, soap and baby formula. Goat’s milk is a good replacement for babies who are allergic to cow’s milk.

Soft cashmere comes from the wool of certain types of goats called cashmere goats. Other types of goats, such as Angora goats, also produce wool, but it is a different texture than cashmere. All wools can be used to make clothing such as sweaters, socks and scarves.

 

Horses

Typically, horses are thought of as fun animals to ride, or to help farmers herd animals. However, there are other uses for horses that vary around the world. In the country of Kazakhstan, milk from horses is consumed and is often fermented into a drink called Kumis. Meat from horses is also consumed in many countries around the world.  Horse meat is popular in the region of Central Asia.

 

Rabbits

You may be surprised to learn that rabbits provide fur and meat. Angora rabbits are a type of rabbit that have long fur. People obtain their fur by combing them. This fur can be turned into yarn, socks and other clothing. Rabbits can also be raised for meat and rabbit stew, made with cuts from rabbit meat, is well consumed in Nigeria

 

Fish and seafood

The oceans, lakes, rivers and streams of the world provide us with different types of nutritious foods. Nigeria has a wide variety of frozen (imported) and fresh fish in different localities that we consume generously. Fish is usually considered a cheaper alternative to beef in Nigeria, even though some fish are actually more expensive to purchase. Nevertheless, fish is a rich and even healthier source of protein than beef.

Fish serve as a source of protein. Fish eggs, called caviar, are also used as food, and are considered a delicacy. Fish oils are a by-product of fish and are said to improve mental health, decrease the risk of cancer, and increase heart health. Seafood can also include products such as shrimp, squid, mussels, clams, and crab.

 

Bees

Bees play a vital role in the food you eat even if you may not realize it. Honey bees help crops grow by pollinating plants. In the United State Agriculture, the value of honey bee pollination is more than 14 billion dollars annually. In Nigeria, honey production from bees is a viable source of income for a lot of people. Bees also make honey from the nectar of plants which is collected by bee keepers. Honey can be used as a healthy alternative and all-natural sweetener (instead of table sugars), for our teas, coffees, pap and custard.

It can also be used as a sweetener in hand lotions, soaps, natural cough suppressant, and also as a natural form of energy. Honey is also a source of the carbohydrates that provide energy to your muscles. Bees also produce beeswax which is used to make candles, lipstick, lotions, shoe polish, crayons, chewing gum and floor wax.

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It is quite obvious from this list that apart from consuming food animals, when we use their by-products resourcefully, we can reduce waste and be more environmentally friendly. We can  take some of the items that would otherwise be thrown away, and develop it into major sources of income, while turning them into something that benefits our health, environment and society.

 

Adapted from Animal Smart

IS YOUR DOG IS UNDERWEIGHT OR OVERWEIGHT?

Just as in humans, weight is an important factor in determining the health of an animal. Generally, for our dogs (and other pets), an ideal optimum weight range is highly essential to keeping your dog healthy. Obesity can cause many serious health problems in pets of any age. Too much weight stresses bones and joints, strains the heart and other internal organs, crowds the lungs, and turns a simple walk around the block into a major core. Infact, overweight dogs suffer much the same risks and consequences as overweight humans. In underweight dogs, malnourishment,underlying illness or parasitic infections are usual precursors to underweight dogs and this is also as harmful and unhealthy as being overweight.

Now, what happens when dog is overweight or underweight? How do you even know if your dog is overweight or underweight? Let’s find this out together!

OVERWEIGHT DOGS

A lot of pets these days are overweight, even if their owners are in denial about it. However, its important for owners pay attention to this since being overweight puts the dog (or pet) at risk of many diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and arthritis.

To find out if your dog is overweight or not, you can make the following observations or carry out the following activities….

  1. When you cant feel the ribs

This may seem silly, but it’s one of the simplest methods for discerning whether your dog is becoming obese. The rib-cage test is significant because the ribs shelter the lungs, and lungs need room to expand. In obese or overweight digs, the presence of excessive fatty tissue curtails room for such expansion.

To observe, stand above your dog, look down on them and place your hands on each side of their chest/ribcage. You should be able to feel your dog’s ribs easily with just a bit of muscle and fat on them. Feeling your dog’s ribs is important, as the coat of many dogs will make a visual check difficult. But if you can’t find or feel the ribs without pushing through layers of skin, muscle, and fat, then your dog is probably overweight

2. Little or no body definition

While all breeds have different body shapes, every dog should have some amount of definition. They should have a chest, a stomach, and a “waist.” – giving a hourglass figure. To observe, position yourself at level and overhead simultaneously with your dog and look for the abdomen to be tucked up behind his rib cage giving an ideal waist or hourglass figure. Generally, obese dogs will have a pendulous abdomen, hip fat, and neck fat, all of which are very noticeable and may give the dog a blocky body shape.

3. Your dog cannot groom itself

Does your dog struggle to groom or scratch himself? Without other medical or physical constraints, your dog should be able to do this with ease. If your dog is finding it difficult to reach around and groom or scratch itself because of the impeding layers of fat and muscles, then your dog is definitely overweight.

4. Your dog has difficulty in breathing

If there is no stress or heat, and your dog still seems to pant a lot or has difficulty in breathing or little stamina, then your dog may be overweight. Dogs who are having consistent trouble breathing, or dogs who become tired quickly after very little physical exertion, may be obese. Excessive panting is a related sign, one that indicates that your dog is having difficulty getting fresh, oxygenated blood to his vital systems. Cardiovascular and respiratory disorders are common in obese dogs. Over time, complications from long-term obesity result in conditions such as congestive heart failure.

You can try observing how long your dog can walk or run until he starts panting hard. A dog that gets out of breath quickly and pants easily is probably overweight.

5. Trouble getting around

Because dogs are naturally athletic, they should be able to get up and down easily and move quickly. Barring any medical issues or undue stress, if your dog is having trouble getting up after lying down, or can’t jump on the couch, he has too much weight on his body

6. Constipation and digestive problems

If your dog is having regular problems defecating and struggling with repeated bouts of constipation, being overweight or obesity could be a major factor. Dogs who take in too many calories and burn off too few, particularly if they are eating rich or unusual foods, are at higher risk for developing dangerous conditions (such as pancreatitis, liver problems, and diabetes) that affect the body’s ability to regulate and cleanse itself.

7. Your dog is moving gingerly

Obese dogs may move gingerly or assume resting positions with effort. Obesity in dogs is a contributing factor to bone and joint problems such as arthritis or hip dysplasia. As with congestive heart failure, there are certain dog breeds that are predisposed to suffering from hip dysplasia, and the severe arthritis that follows, as they age. An obese dog’s legs, back, and joints are placed under constant, unrelenting strain. In dogs already at risk, obesity only speeds the rate of musculoskeletal deterioration.

 

 

UNDERWEIGHT DOGS

Being overweight or obese poses significant health threats to your dog, but being underweight is not healthy either. If your dog seems too skinny to you, regardless of what the body check indicates, consult your veterinarian. Malnourishment is a sure precursor to a dog being underweight and this can lead to serious nutritional issues. Also, a thin dog may have an underlying disease or parasitic infection problem, and should be seen by a veterinarian.

A quick body check can determine if your dog is too thin. Let’s find out by making the following observations and exercises…..

Seeing the ribs

This is similar to the rib-check as described for overweight dogs. However, in this case, you should be able to feel their ribs but not see them. If you can see the ribs already without even touching them then your dog is too skinny. If your dog is of healthy weight, examined from above, his waist will curve in gradually from his ribcage. Underweight dogs appear emaciated, with dramatic waist lines.

Also, move to your dog’s side and note the appearance of his abdomen. If your dog is healthy, his abdomen will slope gradually upward from his ribcage, and his overall appearance will be muscular. However, a skinny dog will have no noticeable body fat, and his abdomen will appear sharply tucked. Furthermore, you can run your fingers down your dog’s spine and then feel for his pelvic bone. Prominent vertebrae and pelvic bones indicate your dog is underweight. Ideally, you’ll be able to easily find the location of your dog’s bones, but a thin layer of fat should offer some padding between the bones and skin.

 

In one of our next articles, we will discuss what to do if you notice unhealthy signs of overweight or underweight issues in your dog (and pet)