Animal Science Terms - M

Macrominerals: minerals required in relatively large amounts by livestock including: calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P), magnesium (Mg), potassium (K), chlorine (CI), sulfur (S) and sodium (Na)

Maintenance Energy Requirement: amount of feed energy required per day by an animal to maintain its body weight and support necessary metabolic functions

Mammal: warm-blooded animal whose mother produces milk to feed her babies

Manure: organic matter used as organic fertilizer in agriculture. Manures contribute to the fertility of the soil by adding organic matter and nutrients, such as nitrogen, that are trapped by bacteria in the soil. Higher organisms then feed on the fungi and bacteria in a chain of life that comprises the soil food web. It is also a product obtained after decomposition of organic matter like cow-dung which replenishes the soil with essential elements and adds humus to the soil

Market hog: hog that weighs from 220 - 260 pounds and is 5 - 7 months of age when it is sent to market

Marbling: fat within the muscle. The pattern created by intramuscular fat in meat, especially red meat. The quality of marbling in meat is influenced by selective breeding and feeding practices. In the U.S. “prime” cuts of meat have the highest marbling content

Mare: mature female horse, usually over age three

Mare hinny: proper term for a female hinny over three years of age 

Mare mule: proper term for a female mule over three years of age

Marine oils: oil extracted from fish or algae, particularly rich in long-chain fatty acids that have health benefits

Market animal: livestock bred and raised for food consumption

Masculinity: secondary male characteristics which are exhibited in the head, neck shoulders and chest

Mash: mixture of ingredients in meal form

Mastitis: inflammation of the mammary gland (milks ducts) during lactation and usually caused by a bacterial infection and treated with antibiotics

Maternal: pertaining to the mother or dam

Maternal EPD:  representing the effect of the genes of an individual’s daughters on the trait of interest. A calving ease maternal EPD, for example, represents the ease with which an individual daughters calve are born

Meal: feed ingredient having a particle size similar to flour

Meat Goat (type): breed of goat that is primarily used for meat production

Meat types of pig (Bacon types): developed to have more lean meat with moderate marbling of fat

Medicated feed: feed containing drug ingredients intended to cure, treat, or prevention of animal disease, enhancement of feed efficiency or promotion of growth

Mega: prefix used in the metric system of measurement to represent 1 million (e.g., 1 megacalorie (Mcal), 1,000,000 calories)

Melengestrol acetate (MGA): hormone added to diets to suppress estrus cycling and improve feed efficiency and growth rate in feedlot heifers. It is not to be used in animals kept for breeding purposes

Metabolic Disease: diseases that involve the lack of or unusual breakdown of physical and chemical processes in the body. Often associated with nutrition and feeding

Metabolizable energy (ME): measure of the useful energy in a feed, representing that portion of the feed gross energy not lost in the feces, urine, and eructated gas

Metabolizable protein: in ruminants, this represents the sum of protein and amino acids reaching the small intestine from ruminally undegraded protein and microbial protein supply

Methane Digester: technology that converts cow manure into methane gas that is burned as fuel to generate electricity

Methionine: sulfur-containing essential amino acid for protein synthesis; a limiting amino acid in many ruminant diets. Protected-methionine means resistant to rumen digestion

Metritis: inflammation of the uterus

Micro: prefix used in the metric system to represent 1/1,000,000

Micro-ingredient: vitamin, mineral, antibiotic, drug or other compound normally required in small amounts and added to diets in milligrams or micrograms

Micromineral: minor mineral elements required by animals and fed in very small amounts in the animal rations including: manganese (Mn), copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), selenium (Se), iron (Fe), cobalt (Co), iodine (I) and fluorine (Fl)

Micronized: feed ingredients subjected to dry heat by microwaves emitted from infrared burners, followed by rolling

Microorganism: any living creature of microscopic size, especially bacteria and protozoa

Middlings: byproduct of milling, it consists of granular particles containing differing proportions of the grain, endosperm, bran and gluten

Milk claw: device connected to the milking system and to the cow’s udder whose massaging action helps the udder to release the milk

Milk fat (M.F.): fat in milk; also called butterfat. It is the lipid components of milk, as produced by the cow, and found in commercial milk and milk-derived products, mostly comprised of triglyceride

Milk house: designated area at one side of the barn that stores the milking equipment and bulk tank separately from the dusty and dirtier areas of the barn

Milk replacer: substitute for fresh whole milk, fortified with vitamins and minerals: used as a nutrient source for young animals

Milk solids: roughly 13% of the milk that is left over once the water (87%) is removed. Solids are 3-4% butter fat (fat soluble vitamins) and 9% solids not fat (protein, minerals, and lactose)

Milking machines: machinery used by dairy farmers to extract milk from cows. Electronic milking machines use a pulsating vacuum that simulates the effect of a suckling calf. The machines do not cause any harm or discomfort to the cows and they keep the milk safe from external contamination

Milking parlor: specialized area on the dairy farm where the milking process is performed. Cows are brought into the parlor two or three daily. Parlors come in many types and names, including flat barn, herringbone, parallel, swing, walk-through, and rotary

Milking Shorthorn: breed of reddish-brown and white dairy cattle that originated in Britain

Mill byproduct: secondary product obtained in addition to the principal milling product

Mill dust: fine feed particles of unspecified origin resulting from feed handling and processing

Milli: prefix used in the metric system of measurement to represent 1/1,000 (e.g., 1 mg =1/1,000 g)

Milliliter (ml): metric volume measurement that is identical to cubic centimeter (cc)

Mineral: inorganic group of nutrients, including elements such as calcium, phosphorus and copper that are essential for life

Mineral supplement: rich source of one or more mineral elements

Mixed: feed ingredients combined by agitation to a specified degree of dispersion

Moisture free: see Dry matter

Molly: informal term for a female mule

Monkey Mouth or Bull Dog Mouth or Undershot Mouth: lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw, and the teeth extend forward past the dental pad on the upper jaw. This is disqualifying feature for confirmation

Monogastric: having a single or simple stomach system consisting of one compartment for digestion(e.g., swine and humans)

Mule: hybrid animal that is produced when a male donkey (Equus) (jack) is crossed with a female horse (mare)

Mule colts: (males) and mule fillies (females) are young mules under 3 years of age 

Mule jack: male donkey (Equus) used to produce mules

Multiparous: 1. Having given birth two or more times. 2. Giving birth to more than one offspring at a time

Mummified Fetus: dead, shrunken fetus usually carried to term or later by the doe. The fetus usually died at an early stage of development, but after was too large to be reabsorbed by the doe

Mutton: meat from sheep that are over one year old

Mycotoxin: substance produced on plants by fungi, particularly during weather stress during the growing or harvest seasons, that is toxic to animals (e.g., vomitoxin, zearalenone, aflatoxin and T-2)



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