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Animal Nutritionist

Position Overview

Animal nutritionists develop diets for animals ranging from fish to birds to mammals. Their goal is to better understand the impact diet has on the animals' health and wellbeing. These nutritionists are required to have a strong scientific background in animal behaviour, biochemistry, physics, and chemistry. Prior to working in the field, they need to have a doctoral degree in dietetics, nutrition or another relevant field. Animal nutritionists typically stay within agricultural industry, providing nutritional advice for animals, while formulating and assessing diets for specific animals.

Animal Nutritionist Duties

Duties vary depending on if you work for a farmer or a feed company, the following are general duties performed by animal nutritionists:

  • Creating feed and nutritional plans for animals (vary based on type of animal, age, breed and feed type)
  • Determining chemical and nutritional levels of grass, forage, feed and any other animal intake
  • Determining causes of nutritional diseases and disorders
  • Managing quality of various feeds
  • Develop feed plans using computer software to help increase growth, performance and reproduction
  • Ensure feed meets quality and health standards
  • Continue to stay up to date with regulatory changes
  • Develop reports and conduct research
  • Examine and assess animals in lab trials
  • Develop new animal food products and increase range of existing animal food products

Typical Employers

  • Animal / livestock farmers
  • Feed companies
  • Universities
  • Laboratories
  • Agricultural advisory bodies
  • Food production companies
  • Consulting firms (Mainly agriculture and livestock)
  • Zoos and Veterinarians

Required Education and Training

An animal nutritionist requires a degree in science, such as biochemistry, biosciences, dietetics and physiology, health sciences, etc. Some courses that can help increase employability are animal/equine science, animal management, animal studies, animal welfare and behaviour, public health nutrition, veterinary science, zoology and others along those lines. Just having a bachelor's degree in nutrition or science may not be enough depending on the role you are looking for. It is recommended to further increase your understanding with a postgraduate specialisation in nutrition. Some positions may require a PhD. Registering with the Association for Nutrition can help to set you apart from the competition.

Key Skills and Qualities

Animal nutritionists are required to demonstrate the following skills and qualities:

  • Data analysis and report writing skills
  • Ethical and reliable research abilities
  • Excellent communication
  • Core understanding of nutrition
  • Ability to manage time and personal development (stay up-to-date with latest research, practices and treatments)
  • Problem solving skills (critical for feed development, determining cause of nutritional disorders and diseases)
  • Organisational skills

Average Salary

  • Entry level salaries can fall between £18,000 - £22,000
  • PhD holder salaries can range between £23,000 - £32,000
  • Experienced salaries can range from £35,000 - £50,000