Animal Nutritionist

An Animal Nutritionist develops nutritionally balanced diets for a range of animals. They have a strong scientific background and aim to promote a better understanding of the impact diet has on the productivity, health and wellbeing of animals.

In day to day work you may; develop feed plans for animals, ensure feeds meet standards, analyse nutritional disorders, work with animal owners to develop tailored nutritional plans, advise animal owners/ farmers, compare and assess feeds, keep up to date with regulations and standards, interpret nutritional data and determine nutritional levels of feeds.

Key Skills Required:

  • Passion for science and animal welfare
  • Effective problem solver
  • Excellent Communication skills
  • Data analysis and report writing skills
  • Time management
  • Organisational skills
  • Core understanding of nutrition
  • IT skills
  • Ability to work effectively independently

Key Points to Know:

  • A full driving license is beneficial as travel within the work day is common e.g. visiting a client’s farm etc.
  • Working hours can be irregular and evening work may be required but weekend work is not common.
  • As this job takes you to many different areas and situations, uniform requirements will vary; you will likely require waterproof/ outdoor clothing for farm visits etc., a white coat for laboratory work and formal wear for meetings.

To be an Animal Nutritionist you will need to:

Study a science or animal-based degree, there are many that can lead to a career as an Animal Nutritionist including animal science, veterinary science, equine studies, nutrition, medical science, dietetics or agriculture. Many Animal Nutritionists go on to complete postgraduate specialisation.

It may also be beneficial to register with the Nutrition Society – a one year membership costs £20 for a student or graduate or £60 for a full membership if you’re employed within a nutrition field. You may also decide to register with the Association for Nutrition too.

Estimated average salary: £18,000 – £32,000 annually.

As an Animal Nutritionist, you can anticipate employment in a variety of roles including:

  • Livestock farmers
  • Animal feed companies
  • Agricultural advisory bodies
  • Zoos
  • Veterinarians
  • Laboratories
  • Universities
  • Government agricultural departments

Being an Animal Nutritionist is a varied, challenging and rewarding career. The job provides a balance between being hands-on with animals and researching their needs. There are many potential employers for qualified Animal Nutritionists and there is also the possibility of working on a freelance basis once you have experience within the field and have built up a reputation. You may decide to go into teaching and research positions if you are less interested in being hands-on with animals/ out in the field. From here, you can go on to study a PhD and specialise in a certain field if desired.

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Megan Richards