Animal Feed & Nutrition (Animal Husbandry III)

Learn to manage the feed and nutrition of farm animals. Study at home with this 100-hour, extensive course for farmers and farm workers.

Course Code: BAG202
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
Get started!

What do Animals Eat?

Learn to manage food and nutrition for pets, farm animals or wildlife in zoos. This course introduces animal foods, food components, evaluating food and digestibility for animals, classifying foods and calculating rations.

Comment from a student in this course:
“I think it is absolutely brilliant. I have never come across such a friendly, helpful staff and am so enjoying my course. I will definitely recommend ACS to anybody who wants to study over the net.”  
T. Sadler

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

    • Terms and Definitions
    • Groups of Foods
    • Other Terms That Are Used
    • Food Processing Terms
    • Water
    • Carbohydrates
    • Carbohydrates as a Source Of Energy
    • Fats and Oils
    • Adipose Tissue Deposits in Animals
    • Fat Deposits in Different Animals
    • Composition of Proteins
    • The Build Up Of Proteins
    • Biological Value of Protein
    • Protein Content of Foods
    • The Function of Protein
    • Feeding Urea to Ruminants
    • Major Minerals
    • Trace Elements
    • Vitamins
    • Analysis of Feed Stuffs
    • Calculating Digestibility
    • Protein Value
    • Energy Value
    • Nutrient Value of Some Common Foods
    • Cereals and Cereal By-Products
    • Brewing By-Products
    • Grasses, Legumes and Succulents
    • Lucerne
    • Sainfoin
    • Other Succulent Foods
    • Roughage, Hay, Silage and Dried Grass
    • Oil and Legume Seeds
    • Oil Seeds and Their Products
    • Legume Seeds
    • Fodder Trees and Animal Products
    • Fodder Trees and Shrubs
    • Animal Products
    • The Object of Rationing
    • Nutritional Requirements of the Animal
    • Calculating a Maintenance Ration
    • Cattle at Pasture
    • Working Out Rations for a Herd
    • Nutrient Requirements for a Dairy Cow
    • Working Out the Total Requirements
    • Feeding a Ration to Meet Nutrient Needs
    • The Dairy Ration
    • Ready Mix Feeds
    • Using Protein Contents
    • A Summary of Rationing
    • Further Considerations in Rationing

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Describe the range of livestock feeds and feeding methods available for animal production, using accepted industry terminology.
  • Explain the role of energy foods, including the sources and functions of those foods, in animal diets.
  • Explain the function of the major nutritional groups, including proteins, vitamins, minerals and trace elements in animal diets.
  • Explain the on-farm methods used to evaluate feeding, including selection of feeds and feed digestibility.
  • Evaluate the dietary value of pastures, including grasses, cereals, and other edible plants, and their by-products for animal feeds.
  • Explain the dietary value of seeds, including oil seeds, legume seeds and their by-products as food sources for animals.
  • Evaluate the dietary value of fodder plants, including trees and shrubs and their by-products, as a food source in animal production.
  • Determine suitable feed rations for a farm animal maintenance program.
  • Analyse the method(s) to determine suitable feed rations in a farm animal production program.
  • Evaluate the dietary value of protein in an animal production program.
  • Explain the factors affecting the composition of feed rations in animal production.

What You Will Do

  • Explain the importance of feed quality in livestock production.
  • Describe the various food groups that animal foodstuffs are based upon.
  • Define at least fifteen relevant industry terms related to livestock feed, feeding and feed processing.
  • Explain the role of water in animal nutrition.
  • Describe three different, commercially available, animal feeds, including the composition and appropriate uses for each.
  • List the chemical names of at least five different carbohydrates which are of importance to animal production.
  • Evaluate the roles of four different carbohydrates in animal metabolism.
  • List the important sources of carbohydrates for at least four different types of farm animals.
  • List the chemical names of at least five different fats which are important to animal production.
  • Compare fat deposition patterns in three different animals.
  • Explain the role of two different lipids in animal metabolism.
  • List the important sources of fats and lipids used in livestock feeds.
  • Explain the importance of proteins to animal production.
  • Describe the chemical composition of naturally occurring proteins.
  • List the sources of protein commonly used in foodstuffs for two different types of farm animal species.
  • Explain the differences in protein requirements for different animals.
  • List five vitamins of importance in livestock nutrition.
  • List five minerals of importance in livestock nutrition, including their: *source foods *requirement levels *physiological functions *deficiency symptoms.
  • List five trace elements of importance in livestock nutrition, and including their: *source foods *requirement levels *physiological functions *deficiency symptoms.
  • Prepare a one page chart or table comparing the vitamin, mineral, protein and trace elements components of three different commercial animal feeds.
  • Explain the function and source of the various nutritional components found in three different commercial livestock nutrient supplements.
  • Describe the components of a specified animal feed.
  • Distinguish between the 'protein value' and 'energy value' of two specified animal feeds.
  • Explain the concept of 'digestibility' as it relates to animal feed.
  • Describe the techniques used to calculate digestibility of animal feeds.
  • Perform a calculation of digestibility for a specified feed.
  • Describe two standard methods used to assess animal feeds.
  • Compare five different feeds, in terms of *composition *relative digestibility *palatability.
  • List at least five cereal and cereal by-product feeds used in animal production.
  • Describe the food value characteristics of five cereals and cereal by-product feeds used in animal production.
  • List at least five grasses and forage crops used as farm animal feeds.
  • Describe the dietary value of five forage crops, including grasses, used in animal production.
  • List at least five harvested feed products, including hay, roughage and silage used as feeds in animal production.
  • Explain the dietary value characteristics of five harvested feed products including hays, roughage and silage used in animal production.
  • Explain the dietary value of a growing pasture, on a farm visited and studied by you.
  • Compare the nutritional value to farm animals, of ten different pasture foodstuffs, including cereals, grasses, hay and their by-products.
  • List four oil seeds (or their by-products) used as feeds in animal production.
  • Explain the use of oil seeds (or their by-products) as animal feeds.
  • List three legume seeds used as feeds in animal production.
  • Evaluate the dietary value of three different legume seeds, as animal feeds.
  • Collect small samples of three oil seeds and three legume seeds.
  • Compare the characteristics of two different oil seed species, with two different legume seed species. -List five fodder plants (or their by-products) used as feed in animal production.
  • Provide recommendations on how three different fodder plant species may be used as an animal feed source on a specified farm.
  • Compare the nutritional value of three different fodder plant species.
  • Explain the objective of maintenance rationing in two different farm situations observed by you.
  • Explain the differences in feed rations given to maintain the same type of animal on two separate farms.
  • Describe the nutritional requirements of two different specified types of livestock.
  • Calculate a 'maintenance feed ration' for a specified farm animal.
  • Develop a maintenance feeding program, for a group of animals, such as a herd of cattle or flock of sheep.
  • Design three different types of animal feeds/rations, for three specified purposes.
  • Define, using examples, the concept of 'production rations'.
  • Explain the objective of production rationing in two different farm situations observed by you.
  • Explain the differences in the production feed ration given to maintain the same type of animal on two different farms.
  • Explain the nutritional requirements for a specified type of production livestock.
  • Calculate a 'production feed ration' for a specified farm animal.
  • Develop a production feeding program for a herd of milking dairy cattle, in a specified locality.
  • Explain the uses of ready-mix feeds as protein supplements for farm animals in two specified situations.
  • Calculate, using two different methods, the protein requirements of a production feed ration for a specified farm animal.
  • Explain the assumptions behind feed ration calculations for farm animals in a specified situation.
  • Explain the rationing factors, including food quality and palatability, for three different specified situations.
  • Describe the role of acids in two different specified animal diets.


As with humans; the food needs of any animal will depend not only on the species, but also the breed, where it lives, it's daily routine (eg. level of activity) and much more.

Animals in the wild tend to have fewer eating disorders than those in captivity; except perhaps during extraordinary events, such as prolonged drought.  Their bodies respond to seasonal and reproductive cycles. However, domestic animals and animals in captivity can be prone to eating disorders.

Activity Anorexia - is a condition with some similarities to the human mental health disorder known as anorexia nervosa. An animal with this condition begins to cut down on its food intake and increases its exercise levels.  If rats are given access to an exercise wheel and food, they will have a balanced routine between food and exercise and be healthy. If their food is restricted, but they have unrestricted access to the exercise wheel, they may begin to eat less and exercise more, which can lead to weight loss and eventually death. This does not occur when the rats are given restricted access to the wheel and unrestricted food supplies.  

This type of research suggests that the running behaviour is similar to the natural behaviour of rats – foraging, so when the rat begins to starve its response is to look around for more food, hence the exercise wheel behaviour increases.  This type of behaviour is also found in primates. Rhesus monkeys become hyperactive if their food is reduced in the long term.

Whilst humans can have eating disorders, diagnosing an eating disorder in an animal is more difficult. We have to determine whether the maladaptive eating condition in the animal is due to a medical disorder, medication, behaviour or nutrition.

Overeating - some animals will overeat, but this is more about how they are fed rather than an eating disorder as such. Owners may misinterpret a pet’s signals and assume they are begging for food, meaning they are hungry. But dogs, for example, may beg for food because it is a normal canine behaviour, not because they are actually hungry. Over time if the owner keeps giving in to the begging, the dog can become overweight and its health is at risk. Dogs are opportunistic feeders. They do not stop eating just because they are full. Cats are slightly different. Cats are born to hunt. But whilst they may hunt excessively, they will not usually eat excessively. However, cats can become obese if they do not have to hunt for their food or their food source is too available.
Certain medical conditions can also cause overeating - such as Cushing’s disease, diabetes and hyperthyroidism.

Under-eating - other animals may under-eat. It is acceptable for a dog to miss the odd meal, but a longer period without eating can be serious for cats.  They may develop fatty liver disease or hepatic lipidosis. When this occurs the cat will literally starve themselves to death by refusing more food.

Weight loss - is usually the first sign of an illness, but it can also have behavioural roots. For example, if there is a bereavement in a family, a pet may show signs of loss, such as reduced appetite and social withdrawal.

Pica - some animals will eat “random objects”. This is known as pica. It tends to occur more in dogs than cats, although cats can also display some forms of pica behaviour. Some breeds, such as Siamese cats, are more predisposed to pica than other breeds. Cats have been observed chewing non-food substances such as wool, plastic, cardboard, and so on, then ingesting the substances. This is usually seen in the first two months of the cat’s life and often when they are introduced to a new home. One theory is that this is a response to early weaning and separation from their mother and litter, leading to stress.  Eating wool may be a way the cat soothes itself as it comes to terms with its new environment.

Why Study Animal Feed and Nutrition?
There are many reasons you may need to learn about animal feed and nutrition requirements, including:

  • As a farmer or pet owner; to better care for your animal
  • To care for animals you work with (eg. in animal rescue, animal health care, a zoo, pet shop, etc)
  • To manufacture or market animal food products

This course can be a very useful learning experience for these or any other situation where you find yourself involved with providing services or products to support the health and wellbeing of farm animals, pets or wildlife.

What Should You Study?  

Let us help you make the Best Decision for You!

  • It is better to communicate with someone before they enrol.
  • If we understand your passions, capabilities and ambitions - we can help!
  • Plan to achieve your goals.


ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.
ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
ACS is a Member of the Complementary Medicine Association.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
ACS is a Member of the Permaculture Association (membership number 14088).
ACS is a Member of the Permaculture Association (membership number 14088).
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

You can pay by Credit Card, PayPal, Afterpay or bank transfer.

Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).

What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email ( call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.

What if I change my mind?

Please get in touch with if you would like to be removed from our mail list.

If you would like ACS Distance Education to delete your information at any time (whether you are a customer or a prospective customer), please contact our privacy officer and we will process this ( ).

Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Jade Sciascia

Biologist, Business Coordinator, Government Environmental Dept, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Recruitment Consultant, Senior Supervisor in Youth Welfare, Horse Riding Instructor (part-completed) and Boarding Kennel Manager.
Jade has a B.Sc.Biol, Dip.Professional Education, Cert IV TESOL, Cert Food Hygiene.

Marius Erasmus

Subsequent to completing a BSc (Agric) degree in animal science, Marius completed an honours degree in wildlife management, and a masters degree in production animal physiology. Following the Masters degree, he has worked for 9 years in the UK, and South Africa in wildlife management, dairy, beef and poultry farming.

Alison Pearce

University Lecturer, Quality Assurance Manager, Writer and Research Technician. Alison originally graduated with an honors degree in science from university and beyond that has completed post graduate qualifications in education and eco-tourism. She has managed veterinary operating theatre, responsible for animal anesthesia, instrument preparation, and assistance with surgical techniques and procedures.

Need Help?

Take advantage of our personalised, expert course counselling service to ensure you're making the best course choices for your situation.

I agree for ACS Distance Education to contact me and store my information until I revoke my approval. For more info, view our privacy policy.