Need Assistance? 01384 442752 (UK)


Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Learn all about the feeding of farm animals.

  • Learn about animal feed and nutrition from expert tutors.
  • Learn how to understand the composition of a range of feeds - including pasture, fodder crops, grasses, cereals, seed, and other edible plants.
  • Understand how to evaluate and select feeds. All tutors are highly experienced industry specialists.
  • Study when and where you want to.

The course also explains the role of proteins, vitamins and minerals in animal diets.

  • Be equipped with the skills required to evaluate feeding and select appropriate feeds - for digestibility and nutritional content - applicable to real life farming situations.

It's easy to enrol...

Select a payment plan:  

Select a learning method  


Study animal feed and nutrition by distance learning.

A good livestock diet can make or break profitability on a farm.  Well fed animals are healthier, and more productive in terms of both quality and quantity.  They are also more likely to live longer, and less likely to incur costly veterinary bills.

  • Understand animal foods and food components.
  • Learn how to evaluate food and digestibility for animals.
  • Learn to classifying foods and calculate rations.

Study with ACS - to help you improve your farm, or further your job and business opportunities in the agriculture industry.


Course Duration: 100 hours.

Start Date: Start at any time - study at a pace that suits you, and with full tutor support whilst you study.

Lessons: The course comprises 10 lessons as detailed, below.

Lesson 1. Introduction To Animal Foods
Terms and Definitions; Groups of Foods; Other Terms That Are Used; Food Processing Terms; Water.

Lesson 2. Food Components - Carbohydrates and Fats
Carbohydrates; Carbohydrates as a Source Of Energy; Fats and Oils; Adipose Tissue Deposits in Animals; Fat Deposits in Different Animals.

Lesson 3. Food Components - Proteins, Minerals, and Trace Elements
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.

Lesson 4. Evaluating Foods and Digestibility
Analysis of Feed Stuffs; Calculating Digestibility; Protein Value; Energy Value; Nutrient Value of Some Common Foods.

Lesson 5. Classifying Foods Part A
Cereals and Cereal By-Products; Brewing By-Products; Grasses, Legumes and Succulents; Lucerne; Sainfoin; Other Succulent Foods; Roughage, Hay, Silage and Dried Grass.

Lesson 6. Classifying Foods Part B
Oil and Legume Seeds; Oil Seeds and Their Products; Legume Seeds.

Lesson 7. Classifying Foods Part C
Fodder Trees and Animal Products; Fodder Trees and Shrubs; Animal Products.

Lesson 8. Calculating Rations Part A
The Object of Rationing; Nutritional Requirements of the Animal, Calculating a Maintenance Ration; Cattle at Pasture; Working Out Rations for a Herd.

Lesson 9. Calculating Rations Part B
Nutrient Requirements for a Dairy Cow; Working Out the Total Requirements; Feeding a Ration to Meet Nutrient Needs; The Dairy Ration.

Lesson 10. Calculating Rations Part C
Ready Mix Feeds; Using Protein Contents; A Summary of Rationing; Further Considerations in Rationing.


On completing the Animal Feed And Nutrition course, these are some of the things you will be able to do:

  • 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.


Here are just some of the things you will be doing:

  • Explain the importance of feed quality in livestock production.
  • Describe the various food groups that animal foodstuffs are based upon.
  • Define relevant industry terms related to livestock feed, feeding and feed processing.
  • Explain the role of water in animal nutrition.
  • Describe different, commercially available, animal feeds, including the composition and appropriate uses for each.
  • List the chemical names of different carbohydrates which are of importance to animal production.
  • Evaluate the roles of different carbohydrates in animal metabolism.
  • List the important sources of carbohydrates for different types of farm animals.
  • List the chemical names of different fats which are important to animal production.
  • Compare fat deposition patterns in three different animals.
  • Explain the role of 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.
  • Explain the differences in protein requirements for different animals.
  • List minerals and trace elements of importance in livestock nutrition, 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 different commercial animal feeds.
  • Distinguish between the 'protein value' and 'energy value' of 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 the dietary value of forage crops, including grasses, used in animal production.
  • Explain the dietary value characteristics of harvested feed products including hays, roughage and silage used in animal production.
  • Explain the dietary value of a growing pasture, on a farm you visit.
  • List legume seeds used as feeds in animal production.
  • Evaluate the dietary value of different legume seeds, as animal feeds.
  • Collect and compare small samples of three oil seeds and legume seeds.
  • Compare the nutritional value of different fodder plant species.
  • Explain the objective of maintenance rationing in different farm situations.
  • Design different types of animal feeds/rations.
  • Explain differences in production feed ration given to the same type of animal on two different farms.
  • Calculate a 'production feed ration' for a specified farm animal.
  • Develop a production feeding program for a herd of milking dairy cattle.
  • Describe the role of acids in specified animal diets.


You can start the Animal Feed And Nutrition course at any time.

It is studied by distance learning, so you can study in the comfort of your own home. But this doesn't mean you are all alone in your studies. Our highly qualified and friendly tutors are there to help you every step of the way. If you have any questions at all, they are always happy to help.

Each lesson includes set tasks, and is completed with an assignment which the student submits to their course tutor. The tutor will mark the assignment and return this to the student with comments and suggestions for further reading.


  • Quality - our courses are developed and tutored by experienced professionals, with real world experience.
  • Relevant - our courses are relevant to today's world, with teaching that you can apply to real life situations.
  • Independent - ACS were established in 1979 and continue to be an independent distance learning school, meaning we remain fully focused on the development and teaching of our students.
  • Flexible - our courses can be started at any time and studied at your own pace (we do not impose time limitations), and therefore fitted around your existing commitments.
  • Choice - other than offering a wide range of courses in a multitude of disciplines, we provide the options of either online studies or eLearning - you choose the option which best suits you, so you can determine where and when you study.


When you consider a business or career with animals, you may not think at first about specialising in the supply of food to animals, however, this is something all animals need, and anyone involved in the care and management of animals, in any capacity, is going to be a potential customer.

  • Every pet owner, kennel, pet breeder or other pet industry business, needs to buy food for their pet, and someone needs to manufacture, package and supply that food.
  • Every livestock farmer needs to either produce or buy in food for their animals. This may involve growing pasture, or something else.
  • Every wildlife refuge, zoo or animal reserve also needs to feed the animals in their care.
  • Managers of parks and wilderness areas also need to consider the food requirements of the animals that inhabit the land they are in charge of. They need to ensure that land is managed in a way that ensures the food needed by animals is available. At times this may involve some supplementary feeding, but more often, it may involve managing the land to minimize competition for food from non-indigenous animals by controlling plant and animal pests, and so on.


It's easy to enrol - simply go to the box at the top right hand side of this page.

If you have any QUESTIONS on the Animal Feed And Nutrition Course or would like ADVICE on the right course to choose for you, please get in touch with our specialist agriculture tutors, they will be more than happy to guide you.


Food is required by an animal for the following reasons:

a) For Maintenance
to keep up the body temperature,
to supply energy for breathing,
to maintain the circulation of the blood,
to repair and to renew worn and damaged tissues.

b) For Production
to provide for the growth of the young animal,
to provide for the growth of the foetus inside the mother,
to provide energy for work e.g. ridden horses or draft oxen,
to provide for the production of milk or eggs or meat.

You can see from the above that there are two possible objects of feeding pets, livestock or wildlife - maintenance, and production.

A farmer may feed for maintenance only or for maintenance AND production. He cannot feed for production only. The maintenance needs of an animal must be satisfied before it can produce anything in the way of growth, offspring, work, milk, meat or eggs.

A pet owner is likely to only be feeding for maintenance; but a dog breeder may be feeding for both maintenance and production (i.e. producing puppies to sell).

What is the Purpose of Rationing?
A ration is the total amount of food given to an animal in 24 hours. The object of rationing is:

a) To satisfy the animal's requirements for a particular purpose: i.e. for maintenance or both maintenance and production. A dairy cow that is dry will only require enough food to satisfy her maintenance requirements. A cow that is milking will require enough food for her maintenance and for her milk production.

b) To use the available foods to the best advantage. All farms produce crops, and crop residues which can be fed to cattle, sheep, pigs or poultry. Knowledge of food rationing helps a farmer to make the best possible use of these foods.

c) To feed animals as economically as possible, but at the same time keeping up the best possible production. Livestock foods are expensive and a farmer cannot afford to overfeed or waste food on any other way.


It's easy to enrol - simply go to the box at the top right hand side of this page.

If you have any QUESTIONS on the Animal Feed And Nutrition Course or would like ADVICE on choosing a course, please get in touch with our specialist agriculture tutors today, they will be pleased to hear from you.

Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

Alison Pearce (animal)B.Sc.(Hons) in Animal Science. Masters Degree in Ecotourism. P.G.Cert. Ed. (Science). Alison's first job was in 1982 as a stockwoman, working with pigs in Yorkshire. Within a few years she of that she was working for the University of Western Australia as a Research Technician and instructor with their school of Agricultural Science.In 1989 she moved to Melbourne University as Unit Manager and Instructor in Animal Husbandry. By the mid 1990's she moved back to England to work in Animal Care and Veterinary Nursing at Cambridgeshire College of Agriculture. Throughout her career, Alison has developed and delivered courses in veterinary nursing and animal sciences for vocational colleges and universities in Australia, New Zealand and Australia. She has built a high level of expertise and an outstanding international reputation as an expert in animal sciences.
Cheryl McLardyA scientist, teacher, writer and animal scientist, with more than 20 years experience including: Sports Horse Stud Groom, Stable Manager, Yard Manager, Equine industrial Training Manager, FE Distance Learning Manager. Cheryl has travelled widely, working in England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand; and is now based in Scotland. She holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons), Higher National Diploma in Horse Management, and a City and Guilds Teaching Certificate.

Check out our eBooks

Working with AnimalsIf you enjoy interacting with animals, are interested in biological science, or are passionate about wildlife, pets or farming; you may thrive in the type of jobs outlined in this book. Get to know more about the industries and the occupations that you could do. The Working with Animals ebook is a comprehensive catalogue to inspire you in your career in working with animals!
Animal Feed & NutritionThe Aniaml Feed and Nutrition ebook is a comprehensive guide to animal feed and the nutritional requirements of different animals.
Profitable FarmingDiscover new ways to make money from your farm and broaden your perspective on the farming industry. A few things in life are certain; change is inevitable and people need to eat. Learn to embrace change as an opportunity and improve your ability to forge a sustainable career in farming.