In their raw, unprocessed form, lupins have many desirable characteristics for feeding both ruminants and single-stomached animals. An emphasis on these desirable characteristics when formulating diets, combined with an advanced knowledge of how components of lupins can influence nutritional value, will ensure they make a cost-effective contribution to livestock diets. The main lupin species used in livestock diets include Lupinus albus, L. angustifolius and L. luteus. Supplementation of ruminant diets with lupins has been shown to have many positive effects in terms of growth and reproductive efficiency, comparable with supplements of cereal grain. The true value of lupins in ruminants, however, can only be determined following a better definition of animal requirements and a closer match of ration specifications. Pigs can effectively utilize L. angustifolius and L. luteus, but detailed research has yet to reveal the reason for poor utilization of diets containing L. albus. Poultry can tolerate high levels of lupins in their diets but levels are often restricted to avoid problems associated with excess moisture in the excreta. Variable responses to enzymes have been observed when attempting to rectify this problem. Lupins have unique carbohydrate properties characterized by negligible levels of starch, high levels of soluble and insoluble NSP, and high levels of raffinose oligosaccharides, all of which can affect the utilization of energy and the digestion of other nutrients in the diet. In addition to carbohydrates, an understanding of lupin protein, lipid and mineral composition together with a knowledge of potential anti-nutritional compounds is required if the use of this legume is to be optimized.