Homebrew Lick

Homebrew lick, a customized supplement for cattle, boasts approximately 35-50% crude protein and has proven effective as a nutritional boost for cattle with access to abundant but low-quality dry feed. This article details the composition, usage recommendations, and precautions associated with homebrew lick.

Composition of Homebrew Lick

Table 1: Composition of homebrew lick for cattle (ingredients and parts by weight)

Ingredients High palatability (%) Medium palatability (%) Low palatability (%)
 Crushed grain 38.5 33 27.5
 Coarse salt 20 25 30
 Molasses 20 17 15
 Urea 10 13 15
 Gran Am 1.5 2 2.5
 DCP* or Kynofos** 5 5 5
 Vegetable protein meal*** 5 5 5
 Approximate total crude protein % 37 46 52

* DCP is dicalcium phosphate
**Kynofos is a proprietary phosphorus fertiliser
*** e.g. Cottonseed meal or copra meal

Usage Recommendations and Adjustments

  1. Mixture Adjustments:
    • Choose the mixture based on cattle response and the salt content in the drinking water.
    • Start with an intermediate mixture and adjust as needed to achieve an intake of 0.3 to 0.5 kg per head per day.
  2. Introduction to Simple Mix:
    • Initiate cattle on a simple, palatable mixture: 70 kg grain, 15 kg molasses, 15 kg salt, and 9 L water.
    • Gradually transition to include other ingredients once cattle are accustomed.
    • Never exceed 0.5 kg per head per day to avoid urea poisoning.
  3. Adjusting Palatability:
    • To reduce intake of low palatability mix, add chaffed straw or 1-2% cement.
    • Mixing method involves dissolving urea, adding molasses, and thoroughly mixing other ingredients.
  4. Mixing Procedure:
    • Dissolve the urea in 9L of hot water. Make sure the urea is completely dissolved before adding the other ingredients. Next, add the molasses and mix thoroughly. The grain, vegetable protein meal, dicalcium phosphate (DCP) and salt are then added and mixed well.
    • Mixing can be done easily in a concrete mixer or on a floor using a shovel in the same way as mixing concrete by hand. The finished product is comparatively moist and can be poured into a trough or a sturdy cardboard carton. Tamp it down (this can be done with the back of a shovel) to firm it in the trough and allow to harden for a few days before allowing stock access to it.


Homebrew (and all high urea licks) must be removed from stock or covered during wet or showery weather.

Cattle can be poisoned by eating too much of the lick when it is softened by water, or by drinking water containing dissolved urea that has accumulated in the trough.

Before making homebrew, consider other options that may do the same job more easily. One alternative to the homebrew is a straight vegetable protein meal supplement, for example, 500g / head / day of cottonseed meal (CSM) or copra meal.

To minimise bullying, it is best fed out twice or once a week. To optimise the distribution among animals, plenty of trough space must be provided. A vegetable protein meal has the advantage of providing better quality protein than urea, no money is wasted on salt for intake control and little time is spent on mixing.

Further information