Learn online, study nutrition for pets and livestock, learn about animal health care, and study from home.

Course Code: BAG202
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Learn to Feed Animals

Different animals eat different things. Their biology is diverse, as is what you should be feeding them.

Learning about animal nutrition is a key part of managing the health and well being of pets, livestock and wildlife.

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction to Animal Feed
  2. Feed Composition -Carbohydrates and Fat
  3. Feed Composition - Protein, minerals and trace elements
  4. Food Evaluation including Digestibility
  5. Classifying Foods Part A
  6. Classifying foods Part B
  7. Classifying Foods Part C
  8. Calculating Rations Part A
  9. Calculating Rations Part B
  10. Calculating Rations Part C


  • 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.

Learn What and How to Feed Different Types of Animals

Animals don't all eat the same foods. The foods that are essential for some can actually be toxic to others. It is very important to understand and respect that fact.

We see that some animals have the ability to consume a variety of feed sources – these animals are known as polyphagous, the ability is referred to as polyphagy.  Certain animals are restricted often by their anatomical and physiological make up that are able to consume one particular feed source – these animals are known as monophagous, the ability is referred to as monophagy. Oligophagous animals feed one particular type of food usually within a taxonomic group.   

Animals can be classified according to the type of feed they consume. The following list shows the types of sources of nutrition for each classification.  

  • Carnivores – animal based diet 
  • Herbivores – plant based diet 
  • Avivores – bird based diet 
  • Insectivores – insect based diet 
  • Bacterivores – bacteria based diet 
  • Frugivores – fruit based diet 
  • Folivores – leaf based diet 
  • Omnivores – eat both plants and animals in their diet 
  • Piscivores – fish based diet  

What source of food an animal chooses, it’s feeding behaviour and the biomechanical method which it engages to feed, have developed over extremely long evolutionary periods.  This has enabled animals to adapt to their environment and survive.  Many species of animals are known to have become extinct because their feed supply changed dramatically and they were either not able to adapt or there were no alternative options.  

Herbivores and Omnivores

Animals eating lots of plant materials have evolved mechanisms for digesting large amounts of fibrous material. This includes rumen stomachs. 

Ruminants have a much larger stomach than non-ruminants.  An example of a ruminant is a cow and of a non -ruminant is a pig. The ruminant stomach is divided into four compartments and feed travels slowly through them so that a tough feed can be thoroughly digested.  By contrast, the non-ruminant has a single (mono-gastric) or simple stomach.  Examples of mono-gastric animals are dogs, pigs, humans, horses etc. Mono-gastric animals can include carnivores, herbivores and omnivores.



  • Anyone passionate about animal care
  • Animal owners
  • People who work on farms, in zoos, pet shops or anywhere else
  • Retailers, manufacturers, service providers supporting livestock, pets or wildlife
  • Students, teachers or anyone else looking to develop  their knowledge of what animals eat.
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Course Contributors

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

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