Apple Cider Vinegar For Dairy & Beef Cattle

How to Feed Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) 
to Livestock

The method of feeding apple cider vinegar depends on the type of livestock, the quantity of ACV to be administered, and your current infrastructure or management system. Regardless of how you deliver ACV to livestock, it is important to feed in a way that ensures animals get the desired dosage.
  • When mixing in water tank, add 1-2 cups of ACV / 20 gallons of water -- Use this method if this is the only water source. 
  • For treatment: the standard dosage is 1 oz per 100# of body weight
  • Can also be sprinkled directly onto hay, silage or concentrate feed
For therapeutic indications, try a free choice container such as a rubber pan with a 50/50 ACV and water mix. 

For increased palatability, and as a powerful energy booster,  mix with liquid molasses, varying from 30% ACV to 70%. Increasing the molasses proportion will increase energy and palatability, it will also prevent freezing in the winter. Both ACV and molasses improve average daily gains and milk production. 

Adding to Feed

Our method, and probably the most common, is to simply add ACV to the daily feed ration. You don't need to invest in a new system or equipment for ACV to work well. 

Grind Feed
One option is to simply add ACV to the grind mixture.

TMR Wagon
We use a TMR wagon and add ACV when feeding. Our system is large and we pump the vinegar directly into the TMR. Alternatively, you can use a bucket to add ACV over a loader bucket of grain, soyhulls or silage, then put it in the TMR wagon.

Water Tank
Another easy option is to add ACV to the water tanks you are currently using. The size of your water tank determine how often you will need to add ACV. Larger tanks will only require adding it once a day. Smaller tanks will require adding ACV multiple times per day. The key is determining how fast the water turns over and how often you'll need to administer the ACV to achieve the desired dosage.

Free Choice
One option for this method is adding ACV to a 200-gallon lick tank then diluting it with water or molasses to maintain the desired dosage. We recommend putting a semi tire around the lick tank so the livestock won't tip it over.

Injection System Into Water Line
You may also inject ACV into your water line, if you have one. An added benefit of this method is the ACV will help keep your water line clean. Make sure you check with local regulations to ensure it is possible to do this. Some customers have informed us that they weren't allowed to inject ACV into their water lines.

Scientific Research
The Journal of Dairy Science printed a research paper titled "Performance of dairy cows fed high levels of acetic acid or ethanol" in January, 2013. Click on the link to read the paper in its entirety. Below is the conclusion portion of the paper.


Ethanol and acetic acid contributed significantly to animal performance, although the ethanol-containing diet had energy efficiency similar to the other diets. When losses of volatile compounds during the drying process of fermented feedstuffs in the laboratory occurs, including their estimated loss in the NFC fraction (NRC, 2001) is a suitable alternative to computing their energy value without biases. The intake of ethanol and acetic acid did not negatively affect the composition and sensory quality of milk.

J.L.P. Daniel
A. Sá Neto
M. Zopollatto
T.L. Cardoso, 
F.A.P. Santos
L.G. Nussio
Performance of dairy cows fed high levels of acetic acid or ethanol. J. Dairy Sci. 2013; 96:  398-406

Suggested Dosage Rates
(Source: "Apple Cider Vinegar Stories" - Will Winter, D.V.)
    • Recommended consumption  3-6 oz. per day. Will vary depending on body weight, stress level, season, quality of ration, and overall health condition
    • Mature animal: We shoot for about 4 oz. of ACV/head/day
    • Smaller animal: Our goal is to provide 1 oz. of ACV/head/day for every 250 pounds of body weight
    • GENERAL RULE OF THUMB:  1 oz daily per 250# body weight
    • Sick or stressed animal: We double or triple the dose
    • Recommended consumption: 2-4 oz/day. Drench with 1-6 oz. of vinegar and 1-6 oz. water depending on weight
    • Safe after 2-3 days of age
    • For treatment: drench 3-5 days in a row
    • Recommended consumption: 4-6 oz/day. Drench with 1 cup of ACV & 1 cup water when needed
    • For treatment protocol: drench 3-5 days in a row until improvement is noted
    • For mastitis or high somatic cell count (SCC), continue at the higher dose (1 ounce per 100# of body weight) for 6 weeks

Supplementation of Organic Dairy Cows: Getting Started
by Jerry Brunetti, Managing Director of Agri-Dynamics, published by Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance

  • 80% of the energy needs of a ruminant should come from the production of volatile fatty acids (VFA's) and acetic, proprionic and butyric are the three primary VFA's. For dairy animals, 50-60% of these VFA's need to be acetic acid (aka vinegar).

  • VFA's depend upon the digestion of soluble fibers such as cellulose, hemi-cellulose, pectins and glucans as well as mono and polysaccharides. 

  • Acetic acid is the precursor that drives growth hormone, which in turn drives butter fat and milk production. (That's the reason why rBGH, or somatotropin, is injected into cows to increase milk production.) 

  • Apple cider vinegar is a wonderful rumen tonic and can actually buffer an acidic rumen affected by lactic acidosis because it contains only 10% of the molar acidity that lactate from starch contains. 

  • Raw apple cider vinegar contains "the mother"- fermentation metabolites that are stimulatory to the microflora in the G.I. Tract. 

  • It's also a wonderful source of electrolytes and since it is a VFA, it can really fortify the ration with energy. 

  • Drought stricken pastures and hay convert much of their digestible fiber into indigestible lignin, dropping the potential of that forage to produce milk and butterfat. 

  • The typical feeding rate of apple cider vinegar is 3-4 oz per head per day.