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Cotton seed vs protein pellets #7741267 02/09/20 03:24 PM
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This has probably been hashed over numerous times but I have not read any of it. I don't feed either to Deer. I have a neighbor LF that has done both for at least 5 years and to tell the truth I have not seen where it was money well spent. I see cotton seed advertised on here for what looks like $13.75 for 50 pounds. If memory serves me it seems like that is about what protein Deer pellets run. So what is the better value and why?

Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: don k] #7741313 02/09/20 04:30 PM
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I’m on a lease south of San Angelo. We buy our cottonseed in bulk. We go to the gin and have them load as much as we can fit in the back of our pickup bed. Then cover with a tarp. Usually around 1000 lbs per truck. Prices range from $210-250 per ton. That’s $5.25-6.25 per 50 lbs. We feed it inside our feeder pens to keep the cows and goats off it. Plus side to cottonseed is coons and other animals won’t eat it. We have been feeding 40,000+ lbs of protein and 10,000+ lbs of cottonseed for the last 5 years. I have to say I’m not very happy with the results. We haven’t seen body weights or antler size improve much over that time.

Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: don k] #7741373 02/09/20 05:36 PM
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You have to measure every buck you take. And even then you will only see incremental increases most of the time. Protein or cotton seed alone will NOT produce massive gains. You need good rains at the right time of the year so that there are good natural food sources available for them. Protein w/o the right set of minerals is just filler for them.

Healthy does produce healthier fawns. That should be part of the reasons you are spending all of that money. But, all of that being said, if you don't have the genetics for a 140, 150, 160, or better buck, it ain't gonna happen. Let them grow!

Last edited by deerfeeder; 02/09/20 05:37 PM.
Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: deerfeeder] #7741499 02/09/20 07:52 PM
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Originally Posted by deerfeeder
You have to measure every buck you take. And even then you will only see incremental increases most of the time. Protein or cotton seed alone will NOT produce massive gains. You need good rains at the right time of the year so that there are good natural food sources available for them. Protein w/o the right set of minerals is just filler for them.

Healthy does produce healthier fawns. That should be part of the reasons you are spending all of that money. But, all of that being said, if you don't have the genetics for a 140, 150, 160, or better buck, it ain't gonna happen. Let them grow!


I agree with you. We keep good records on all deer harvested. Score, weight and age estimate. We haven’t seen any big gains in weight or score though. We’ve watched several bucks for 2-3 years before harvesting. IMO the little increase in score and weight was mostly due to age. We have had above average rain and good to great range conditions. The protein helps to fill in the short gaps when conditions weren’t good. Does are healthy and we take 20-30 per year to control the numbers. As far as genetics, we have taken bucks in the 140s and 2 in the low 50s but usually only 1 over 140 per year. Most mature bucks score 120-130s so I’d say not the greatest.

Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: don k] #7741533 02/09/20 08:55 PM
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Supplement feed pays its way during extended drought periods (of which there will be at some point).

We are not in an area that is conducive to food plots due to lack of rain but if I had a choice I would have food plots over any supplemental feed (other than natural browse of course). Protein and cottonseed are ingested at a much lower rate (proof is with trail cameras that show most deer do not spend much more than ten minutes total at a feeder eating protein). On the other hand, deer will spend hours grazing in a food plot ingesting protein. Tecomate Ranch is proof of what food plots can produce - I heard a quote once "the better a farmer you are the bigger the deer you will grow."

Last edited by tlk; 02/09/20 08:57 PM.

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Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: CGB] #7741694 02/10/20 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by CGB
Originally Posted by deerfeeder
You have to measure every buck you take. And even then you will only see incremental increases most of the time. Protein or cotton seed alone will NOT produce massive gains. You need good rains at the right time of the year so that there are good natural food sources available for them. Protein w/o the right set of minerals is just filler for them.

Healthy does produce healthier fawns. That should be part of the reasons you are spending all of that money. But, all of that being said, if you don't have the genetics for a 140, 150, 160, or better buck, it ain't gonna happen. Let them grow!


I agree with you. We keep good records on all deer harvested. Score, weight and age estimate. We haven’t seen any big gains in weight or score though. We’ve watched several bucks for 2-3 years before harvesting. IMO the little increase in score and weight was mostly due to age. We have had above average rain and good to great range conditions. The protein helps to fill in the short gaps when conditions weren’t good. Does are healthy and we take 20-30 per year to control the numbers. As far as genetics, we have taken bucks in the 140s and 2 in the low 50s but usually only 1 over 140 per year. Most mature bucks score 120-130s so I’d say not the greatest.




No idea where you hunt or how many acres y'all have. But taking 20 to 30 does a year indicates a pretty good herd. Have you established a semi reliable buck to doe ration? I say semi reliable because even with a helo you will never find them all.

High fence/low fence will also matter in that do your deer move around to other areas or are they more or less fixed on your property. Depending on where you are at, 120-130s are pretty much average. 140s and 150s don't grow behind every guajillo bush. 5 years, in the overall scheme of feeding is not that long. Where I guided we fed for the 11 years I was there and finally got the herd up to where a 160 was taken. And that was starting from the 120-130s. These were a 12.5K ranch, a 10K ranch, and a 5K that was low fenced and bordered the 12.5K ranch. My thought would be if you can afford to feed keep after it. But to each his own.

There's really no good time to quit feeding. If you cut back when you have good Spring rains and forbs most of your does are pregnant and the embryos are profiting from it. Summer time the natural stuff is getting baked into pretty much just fiber. Fall, they'll eat, but run it off rutting, post rut, you really want to get them back on their feet. Dang if you do and dang if you don't. Depends on what your crew is willing to pay out.

Last edited by deerfeeder; 02/10/20 12:45 AM.
Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: don k] #7741786 02/10/20 02:45 AM
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The question is still, both being the same price which gives you or the Deer more bang for the buck?

Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: don k] #7741796 02/10/20 02:52 AM
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Originally Posted by don k
The question is still, both being the same price which gives you or the Deer more bang for the buck?


In bulk they aren’t the same price from everything I’ve seen.

Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: don k] #7741810 02/10/20 03:08 AM
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Originally Posted by don k
The question is still, both being the same price which gives you or the Deer more bang for the buck?


Quality made protein with all the correct percentages of minerals.

Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: krmitchell] #7741811 02/10/20 03:09 AM
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Originally Posted by krmitchell
Originally Posted by don k
The question is still, both being the same price which gives you or the Deer more bang for the buck?


In bulk they aren’t the same price from everything I’ve seen.

It seems that if you don't buy in bulk the price seems to be very close to each other. There is CS for sale in the for sale section that works out to be about $13.75 for 50#. If a person was using CS at this price what is better? Pellets or CS?

Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: don k] #7741822 02/10/20 03:15 AM
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Originally Posted by don k
Originally Posted by krmitchell
Originally Posted by don k
The question is still, both being the same price which gives you or the Deer more bang for the buck?


In bulk they aren’t the same price from everything I’ve seen.

It seems that if you don't buy in bulk the price seems to be very close to each other. There is CS for sale in the for sale section that works out to be about $13.75 for 50#. If a person was using CS at this price what is better? Pellets or CS?


At that price I’d say protein if nothing else for pure convenience. If buying in bulk cottonseed would be my choice.

Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: don k] #7741841 02/10/20 03:43 AM
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Originally Posted by don k
This has probably been hashed over numerous times but I have not read any of it. I don't feed either to Deer. I have a neighbor LF that has done both for at least 5 years and to tell the truth I have not seen where it was money well spent. I see cotton seed advertised on here for what looks like $13.75 for 50 pounds. If memory serves me it seems like that is about what protein Deer pellets run. So what is the better value and why?


Cotton seed doesn’t have trace mineral that are vital to deer health.

Cotton seed is a supplement to a supplement. If I could only do one it would be pellets because the pellet is more of complete package


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Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: don k] #7741964 02/10/20 01:10 PM
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It would seem to me to actually be a waste of money feeding cotton seed if that is the sole provider of additional protein. From my experience just feeding something to make an animal in better shape physically is not what that animal actually needs to be healthy. Instead of CS why not feed straight corn? It will make the animal fatter and it may look good but is it actually healthy? Years ago I feed my Ibex a textured mixed feed that I got from a feed mill. The feed was called "Beef Grower". The Ibex were in good shape but I was having trouble with females aborting babies and kids dying not long after birth. I asked a well known Ibex raiser what he fed and if he had the same problems as I was having. He said no and told me what he fed. I switched to L&E Exotic breeder pellets the feed he used. The problem I was having went away. My cost for feed almost doubled but I made up for it in amount of Kids born alive. Maybe it is the same with CS. You may think the Deer are in better shape but are they really healthy? Maybe a good pellet feed even though you think is more expensive might be the better choice. I don't know.

Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: don k] #7742016 02/10/20 02:12 PM
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We feed both. The cottonseed holds well against the weather and is, pretty much, varmint proof. It has a higher fat content and I believe a higher, digestible protein content. The deer sometimes prefer the cottonseed to the pellets, but not from March 1st through the end of June. When it gets hot, the deer seem to shy away from the pellets and they revert back over to the cottonseed. I don't really see the need to keep pellet feeders topped off after July 4th. September 1st, we pretty much are finished with this stuff and fill up the corn feeders. Cottonseed is $12.50 - $13.50 a bag while the Dilley Feed RHR protein pellets bags are $9.75. Even so, we do go through a lot more cost with the pellets than we do with the cottonseed.

In mineral rich South Texas soils, the need for pellets may be a little exaggerated. In much of South Texas, they used to grow vegetables. Fowlerton which has about 90 residents now, had about 3,000 in 1900 and that was to tend the vegetable fields near the Frio. Turning 60 in a few days, even I can recall the cabbages piled up in Cotulla all over the side of the road at harvest. The estimate here is if the land is good enuff to grow fat cows and vegetables, it is pretty durn good enuff for the deer.

Pellets and cottonseed are supplemental feeds which help you to both attract or pattern deer and get them over the top. Neither are a cure all. About the getting over the top thing - we started out 13 seasons ago and 140 was trophy. The addition of the supplemental feed, culling and getting age on the bucks saw at least a couple of 160s being passed on this year. Every once in a while we do get a "bomber". I think five 170 plus since the 2012/13 season and including the largest net typical in the TX Big Game Awards South TX Low Fence Division in 2014 (I think). Yes, the place is pretty big (8 on 5,000) with most of the perimeter fencing being high and with about two miles or so of it being low fence.

Shot the last of my does this weekend. She was still lactating which caught me off guard. Despite feeding for two, she was in great shape. Loads of fat inside and on her hams & back. This despite some very dry range conditions we are currently experiencing. If she hadn't been in good shape prior to the dry conditions, she would not have still carried the fat she had.

I cannot say the supplemental feed had everything to do with the increased presence of goods horns & body weights at our place, but I do firmly believe it is a part of it. On thing is certain, we will maintain what we have been doing. Other than that, we can't really enumerate the benefits of the supplemental feed program, but it does give us something else to do during the off season.

Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: don k] #7742059 02/10/20 02:56 PM
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I think maybe what happens with a place starting to have what appears to be better quality Bucks is maybe not the actual feed program. It may be that once a feed program is started then more attention is paid to some of the other factors that produce larger antlers. Such as getting rid of inferior Bucks and letting the what appears to be Bucks that have a better potential get some age. I personally think age is probably the most important factor in getting good Bucks. Second is getting rid of the ones that don't have that potential.

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It all works together.

If I could only have 1 of the two A- protein/corn/cottonseed year round feed or B- a good age structure. I would take B for growing big deer every time. If you shoot them all young it doesn't matter what you feed them.

Know a few that feed protein corn and cotton seed, but they farm cotton so it makes sense they also grow corn. I wish our feed bill looked like theirs.


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Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: don k] #7742127 02/10/20 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by don k
It would seem to me to actually be a waste of money feeding cotton seed if that is the sole provider of additional protein. From my experience just feeding something to make an animal in better shape physically is not what that animal actually needs to be healthy. Instead of CS why not feed straight corn? It will make the animal fatter and it may look good but is it actually healthy? Years ago I feed my Ibex a textured mixed feed that I got from a feed mill. The feed was called "Beef Grower". The Ibex were in good shape but I was having trouble with females aborting babies and kids dying not long after birth. I asked a well known Ibex raiser what he fed and if he had the same problems as I was having. He said no and told me what he fed. I switched to L&E Exotic breeder pellets the feed he used. The problem I was having went away. My cost for feed almost doubled but I made up for it in amount of Kids born alive. Maybe it is the same with CS. You may think the Deer are in better shape but are they really healthy? Maybe a good pellet feed even though you think is more expensive might be the better choice. I don't know.


It’s wildly documented to be fine. Your body can only take in so much trace minerals etc a day. The objective of feeding cotton seed is simply to cheap up the total consumption costs, while still maintaining peak/capacity nutrition


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Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: don k] #7742152 02/10/20 04:25 PM
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I may have overlooked something. Providing supplemental feed gives us the opportunity to talk about how much we did and how serious we take it when we actually have the good fortune to shoot a trophy.

Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: BOBO the Clown] #7742191 02/10/20 04:51 PM
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Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted by don k
It would seem to me to actually be a waste of money feeding cotton seed if that is the sole provider of additional protein. From my experience just feeding something to make an animal in better shape physically is not what that animal actually needs to be healthy. Instead of CS why not feed straight corn? It will make the animal fatter and it may look good but is it actually healthy? Years ago I feed my Ibex a textured mixed feed that I got from a feed mill. The feed was called "Beef Grower". The Ibex were in good shape but I was having trouble with females aborting babies and kids dying not long after birth. I asked a well known Ibex raiser what he fed and if he had the same problems as I was having. He said no and told me what he fed. I switched to L&E Exotic breeder pellets the feed he used. The problem I was having went away. My cost for feed almost doubled but I made up for it in amount of Kids born alive. Maybe it is the same with CS. You may think the Deer are in better shape but are they really healthy? Maybe a good pellet feed even though you think is more expensive might be the better choice. I don't know.


It’s wildly documented to be fine. Your body can only take in so much trace minerals etc a day. The objective of feeding cotton seed is simply to cheap up the total consumption costs, while still maintaining peak/capacity nutrition


That is very true, but what minerals are they getting from CS? And if they are getting minerals are they the ones that are beneficial to their health?

Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: don k] #7742276 02/10/20 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by don k
Originally Posted by BOBO the Clown
Originally Posted by don k
It would seem to me to actually be a waste of money feeding cotton seed if that is the sole provider of additional protein. From my experience just feeding something to make an animal in better shape physically is not what that animal actually needs to be healthy. Instead of CS why not feed straight corn? It will make the animal fatter and it may look good but is it actually healthy? Years ago I feed my Ibex a textured mixed feed that I got from a feed mill. The feed was called "Beef Grower". The Ibex were in good shape but I was having trouble with females aborting babies and kids dying not long after birth. I asked a well known Ibex raiser what he fed and if he had the same problems as I was having. He said no and told me what he fed. I switched to L&E Exotic breeder pellets the feed he used. The problem I was having went away. My cost for feed almost doubled but I made up for it in amount of Kids born alive. Maybe it is the same with CS. You may think the Deer are in better shape but are they really healthy? Maybe a good pellet feed even though you think is more expensive might be the better choice. I don't know.


It’s wildly documented to be fine. Your body can only take in so much trace minerals etc a day. The objective of feeding cotton seed is simply to cheap up the total consumption costs, while still maintaining peak/capacity nutrition


That is very true, but what minerals are they getting from CS? And if they are getting minerals are they the ones that are beneficial to their health?


They aren’t that’s the point. Like taking an Ensure drink (pellet) vs straight protein powder(cotton seed).


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Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: don k] #7742309 02/10/20 06:47 PM
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I've always put out a trace mineral block. Kind of a half-arsed anchor for the deer to check out, in case I let the feeder go empty accidentally.

I've never seen deer go for it like I have on this new ranch in northern Kimble. 'Hoping the blocks will help too.


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Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: don k] #7742341 02/10/20 07:12 PM
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My experience with blocks has been that the ones I bought are only gone because it rains once in awhile here. Maybe I bought the wrong ones, but tried several brands with the same results.

Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: don k] #7744266 02/12/20 10:04 PM
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Cotton seed is great post rut to assist in putting the weight back on your herd and if you're near a gin, you can back your truck up and fill the bed for pennies on the dollar versus protein.


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Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: don k] #7744688 02/13/20 01:30 PM
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IMO cottonseed is very good at getting bucks to their full potential body weight/structure. Once their bodies are complete you will then see the full benefits of the protein and minerals in antler growth. 2cents



Re: Cotton seed vs protein pellets [Re: don k] #7745218 02/13/20 09:52 PM
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cottonseed is the greatest thing since sliced bread. The pigs, birds, and coons won't touch it. It's like a feed blessed by God himself.

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