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Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets #4114805 03/11/13 08:44 PM
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We've been feeding protein pellets to East Texas whitetail deer for many years and have no complaints and great results with our management program. However, we just picked up a lease in South Texas and the biologist for the ranch swears by cottonseed. Admittedly, I have no experience with feeding cottonseed to whitetail because we never saw a reason to replace our "proven" protein program. But the larger acreage in South Texas is going to kill our budget for supplemental feed.

I've done some initial research and it appears that cottonseed is cheaper and consumed by fewer species (whitetail and cattle--so I'm not worrying about feeding birds and hogs). What are the positives/negatives of switching from protein pellets to cottonseed? Is it worth doing?

Helpful info regarding price, handling, storage, wildlife consumption, antler and body growth, tooth wear, and delivery methods is much appreciated. I've heard it stands up well to moisture and that there are easy ways to build wire bails to deliver the feed--in comparison to expensive protein pellet feeders delivery systems.

Thanks in advance for helpful comments.

Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: Aggieivy] #4114842 03/11/13 09:04 PM
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I have never fed whitetail with cottonseed but Yearly I feed them to our cattle. We get an 18-wheeler load a couple times a year and just pile it up in a covered barn(no sides on this barn). I think it would be great deer feed because of the protein content. We feed it in a big bin style feeder to our yearlings and to our other cows we feed it in a feeder my dad designed and patented. In the bin style feeder it is a pain in the butt because every day we have to go and manually rake the cottonseed down with our hands because cottonseed has a funny consistency. its almost like when you want it to clump it doesnt and when you want it to be loose it clumps. so feeding it to the wildlife in a reliable way would seem difficult to me. out of a feeder that is gravity fed it will clump and stick and the deer will not be able to get it out. sorry for the long explination but that is the answer I have. good idea if you can figure out how to make it dispense from a feeder.


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Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: Double-R] #4114974 03/11/13 10:03 PM
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Hey I feed cotton seed all winter myself. It is around 44-45 % protein, and has the highest content of TDN of any feed. I have been talking to some guy about the deer thing and I think it would be a good thing.

Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: Lever Action Jackson] #4115651 03/12/13 02:28 AM
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Cotton seed has a compound known as gossypol wich can reduce reproductivity in some mammals. There has been a few studies with deer and this compound and no one can say for sure if it negatively effects deer, but other than that I have seen it do great things on some ranches i have been on in South Texas.


Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: BgBkHunter] #4116361 03/12/13 01:55 PM
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Can cotton seed be purchased at feed stores?

Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: Reich] #4116740 03/12/13 05:00 PM
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I think it can be purchased at most large feed stores in cotton-growing areas or directly from a cotton gin. If you're around South Texas, I know Lyssy & Eckel carries it and will deliver if you order in large enough quantities.

From what I learned in reading articles and studies, cottonseed CAN cause temporary sterilization when consumed in high quantities. Most of the studies were done with captive (red) deer on a high percentage cottonseed diet--and indications are that sterilization is not a worry with white-tailed deer in the wild that have an abundance of natural forage and use the cottonseed as a supplement. While I have not found a definitive answer, most articles conclude that as a cautionary measure you could stop feeding cottonseed approximately six weeks before the rut and will be okay.

Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: Aggieivy] #4116907 03/12/13 06:16 PM
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Whitetail and mule deer love it. There are numerous resources more so from A&M and Tech that state it can/does causes steroliization. A lot of places will not feed it for that reason.

The cheapest way to get this is from a cotton gyn. With that said the price has soared like corn and its higher now then a few yrs ago. Most of the cost is hauling to your location and not so much the cottonseed.

It definately packs a lot of protein. I'm 50/50 on the gained antler growth. I haven't seen that much improvement. Scoop it on the ground or make a holder from fence and tie to a post. It has to be free choice and like other feed will rot, a bit worse then other feeds.

Best of luck.


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Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: 7mag] #4117100 03/12/13 07:56 PM
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My uncle feeds it at his ranch just West of Mason. Took the deer about 6 months before they started eating it, but after that they tear it up whenever he puts it out. Throws in straight on the ground inside of the feed pens all year long. Never had a problem with the reproduction process. He is high fenced on 200 acres and gets 30 permits a year being MLD.

I dont know how much it really helps because he does everything. Plants 25 acres worth of food plots, gravity protein and corn feeders year round. They eat it all.

But once they get used to it, they will definitely eat it.

Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: newulmboy] #4119015 03/13/13 04:27 PM
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Dang! He's got 'em packed in there. We have a 1,200 acre high-fenced place in East Texas and feed year round. Been on MLD for 10 years but we only get about 60 tags (50/50) per year and rarely use them all.

I'll probably make some cottonseed feeders and continue feeding protein until they pick it up. While I'd like to do it all in South Texas, we'll go way over budget on 10K acres.

Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: Aggieivy] #4119035 03/13/13 04:35 PM
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The first year he high fenced it, noone was allowed to shoot anything because he was trying to get a count of everything inside the fence. After sitting a few hunts, you could definitely see there were toooooooo many deer already there. But its his place, his rules. Plus he got plenty of money, so he doesnt worry about the feed bill. Just a right-off from his taxes in his book.

Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: newulmboy] #4132052 03/19/13 11:31 PM
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Both are good choices and we like to feed them year round. Cottonseed has to be kept dry or it will start to mildew and rot. This is usually not a problem once the deer start eating it. It is gone before it can get too wet. Nothing eats the cottonseed other than deer, if you put it inside a pen. If you don't build a pen, the hogs and javalina WILL eat it. They might not be able to digest it or they might puke it up, but they WILL eat it. We have alot of bullying going on around the cotton baskets and one or two bucks will generally rule the roost. It is generally cheaper than protein pellets. We buy it in 85lb bags and find it easier to handle than a trailer loaded with bulk cottonseed. We feed in v-mesh baskets. Much cheaper than gravity feeders. Cotton does wonders for body/antler growth and you will see results after a few years. Increased body weights and more mass on the antlers when compared to the bucks that are not on the seed. We find the tooth wear method of aging deer to be worthless after 3 years old. So all of our deer are aged from encounters with pictures and video on file.

Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: SplitTimeHunter] #4132071 03/19/13 11:38 PM
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Thanks, STH. Are you in South Texas? If so, where are you getting cottonseed in 85lb bags and how much per bag? I think we are going to start feeding it along with protein but would rather do bags than bulk because the most negative thing I've seen about feeding cottonseed is how to store/handle it.

Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: Aggieivy] #4132115 03/19/13 11:58 PM
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We are in Northern Mexico and get the bagged seed from various feed stores in Piedras Negras or Nuevo Laredo. You should be able to find it bagged in Texas, just call your local feed stores and ask. Bags are the way to go. We bought it in bulk for years in Texas and Mexico before switching to bagged.

Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: SplitTimeHunter] #4135522 03/21/13 02:43 PM
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Check with Mummes in Hondo. They can get both bulk and bagged whole cottonseed. Do some internet searches by articles by Dr Randall on gosypol. A lot of ranches feed it to whitetails and mule deer. Most do not feed it year round or continually though. It is labor intensive and needs minerals added to it. With the drought and high use of it today it is not the great buy it used to be. Also ask about aflatoxin levels in it also.


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Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: stxranchman] #4139830 03/23/13 04:38 AM
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Don't worry about the gossypol. Free range deer will not consume enough to become sterile. You can feed cottonseed year round. It does not have all the minerals that a protein pellet has, but it sure puts the weight on them.

Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: SplitTimeHunter] #4140209 03/23/13 01:34 PM
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Originally Posted By: SplitTimeHunter
Don't worry about the gossypol. Free range deer will not consume enough to become sterile. You can feed cottonseed year round. It does not have all the minerals that a protein pellet has, but it sure puts the weight on them.

I do due to his studies and I would not feed it full time or year round till I was 100% sure. I know many ranches that do use it but they feed it along with pellets or do not feed it continually year round.
http://www.livestockweekly.com/papers/02/12/19/whlcottonseed.asp


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Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: stxranchman] #4140285 03/23/13 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted By: stxranchman
Originally Posted By: SplitTimeHunter
Don't worry about the gossypol. Free range deer will not consume enough to become sterile. You can feed cottonseed year round. It does not have all the minerals that a protein pellet has, but it sure puts the weight on them.

I do due to his studies and I would not feed it full time or year round till I was 100% sure. I know many ranches that do use it but they feed it along with pellets or do not feed it continually year round.
http://www.livestockweekly.com/papers/02/12/19/whlcottonseed.asp


I just dont see how a non penned up browser will consume enough consistanlty to hurt them.

But I wouldn't use it as my only supplement, just do to lack of trace mineral. We use to mix it with peanut skins for cattle. Deer id for sure feed it next to pellets


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Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: BOBO the Clown] #4140293 03/23/13 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted By: BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted By: stxranchman
Originally Posted By: SplitTimeHunter
Don't worry about the gossypol. Free range deer will not consume enough to become sterile. You can feed cottonseed year round. It does not have all the minerals that a protein pellet has, but it sure puts the weight on them.

I do due to his studies and I would not feed it full time or year round till I was 100% sure. I know many ranches that do use it but they feed it along with pellets or do not feed it continually year round.
http://www.livestockweekly.com/papers/02/12/19/whlcottonseed.asp


I just dont see how a non penned up browser will consume enough consistanlty to hurt them.

But I wouldn't use it as my only supplement, just do to lack of trace mineral. We use to mix it with peanut skins for cattle. Deer id for sure feed it next to pellets

Most guys that do use it also top dress it will a Purina Dairy mineral. Said to work very well along with pellet feeds in the diet. But by the time you book enough on contract and then have to add mineral to a labor intensive feed it is not that good of choice to me for an only supplemnetal feed source to me.


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Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: stxranchman] #4140303 03/23/13 02:17 PM
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Ya when I used it for cattle, id buy by the truck load. Dump a yard in a mixer and a yard of peanut skins. .. let the pto do its job and feed it out of the mixer.

That was 15years ago before it got popular as a deer feed


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Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: BOBO the Clown] #4140363 03/23/13 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted By: BOBO the Clown
Ya when I used it for cattle, id buy by the truck load. Dump a yard in a mixer and a yard of peanut skins. .. let the pto do its job and feed it out of the mixer.

That was 15years ago before it got popular as a deer feed

It was already being used by quite a few in South Texas at that time. Bill Maltberger was one of the first and I guess he has been using it for 30 yrs or so now. But I do not think he feeds continually from month to month.


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Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: stxranchman] #4140379 03/23/13 02:49 PM
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use to be able to use goat feed around here until it caught on also...now its higher than protien

Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: Aggieivy] #4140471 03/23/13 03:30 PM
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old pic, but here it is



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Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: stxranchman] #4140717 03/23/13 05:43 PM
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I have a neighbor that feeds it. He goes to Crystal City,Batesville or someplace near there and gets a trailer load. I really don't see that it is doing any better nor is it cheaper in the long run than mixed feed or proten pellets.

Re: Cottonseed v. Protein Pellets [Re: don k] #4140747 03/23/13 06:13 PM
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After what I've read (articles and commentary) it seems like the most efficient use of cottonseed would be another supplement to prevent crowding and bullying at feed stations--rather than spending more money on protein feeders and it's a bit cheaper than protein pellets (for the time being).

I haven't seen any articles that say this--but our biologist told us that protein pellets actually "alter" a deer's digestive system and cottonseed does not. I have no idea what effect this has on overall health but just shook my head in agreement (as I had no idea what he meant) because the way he said it sounded like a good thing.

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