Simplifying Livestock Feed

Most of the animals on a farm can be fed with three ingredients:

1.  Corn (Energy)
2.  Soybean or Cottonseed Meal (Protein)
3.  Vita/Min Mix (Vitamins/Minerals)

Counting the Costs

Soybean Meal is usually more expensive than Cottonseed Meal, but less is needed.  Right now (10/2012), from our local feed mill, a 50 lb. bag of Soybean Meal costs $21 and Cottonseed Meal costs $17.  The price tends to balance out, but animals seem to prefer Soybean Meal, so I’d recommend Soybean Meal whenever it’s available.  By simplifying feed ingredients, we can buy our supplies in bulk, which further lowers costs.

Costs below that 50 lbs. corn costs $9.00 and 50 lbs. Vita/Min mix costs $13.00.

Basic Livestock Mix (CP 16% )

50 lbs. Corn (CP 12%)
10 lbs. Cottonseed Meal (CP 41%)
2 lbs.   Vita/Min Mix
Cost per 50 lbs = $10.21
50 lbs. Corn (CP 12%)
8 lbs. Soybean Meal (CP 48%)
2 lbs.   Vita/Min Mix
Cost per 50 lbs. = $10.52

To Make Higher Protein Mixes:

18%  = 1 Part Cottonseed Meal to 10 Parts Basic Mix (1:10, $)
     or  =  1 Part Soybean Meal to 14 Parts Basic Mix (1:14)
20%  = 1 Part Cottonseed Meal to 5 Parts Basic Mix (1:5)
     or  = 1 Part Soybean Meal to 7 Parts Basic Mix (1:7)
22%  = 1 Part Cottonseed Meal to 3 Parts Basic Mix (1:3)
     or  = 1 Part Soybean Meal to 4 Parts Basic Mix (1:4)


We mill all of our corn using a grist mill.  We run a bag of whole corn through the mill and crack it, then add the meal and minerals to the batch.  We then run the whole mix through the mill once more, thoroughly mixing the batch and bring the corn down smaller to increase digestibility.  If you see corn in the animals’ manure, it needs to be ground more finely.

Keep it Simple:
1 quart of grain mix
weighs 1 lb.

1.  Cows:

  • feed the mix dry unless they are messy eaters, then we moisten it to help it stay in their feeders.
  • milking cows are fed at milking, the same volume of mix as they produce volume of milk, which works out to about 1/2 lb mix per 1 lb milk.
  • non-milking cows are fed in a common feeder as their condition requires

2.  Goats/Sheep:

  • feed the mix dry
  • milking goats are fed at milking, an equal volume to milk produced
  • non-milking goats are in a common feeder, 1/2 lb. (1/2 qt.) per head, or as condition requires

3.  Pigs:

  • feed the mix with water, as a soupy slop. They Vita/Min mix is salty and the pigs love slurping up the “broth” that develops.
  • provide 2 lbs. (=2 qts) mix per pig, twice daily, in common.

4.  Chickens:

  • feed the mix moist so it clumps but is not wet.
  • feed twice daily, as much as the birds eat without allowing leftover waste


  • We do not add any molasses to our feeds because we have no problem with animal appetites.
  • Keeping animals together and making them wrestle a bit for their food tends to make them eat more aggressively.


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