Can Cows Eat Apples? Nutrition And Best Ways to Feed

Cows are one of the most important animals in the world today. Along with being an important source of meat and milk, they are also kept as pets on farms.

No matter what the purpose for you keeping cows, they need to have a good and balanced diet. 

If you want your cow to produce milk and meat of the highest quality, you need to feed it a balanced diet full of protein and other nutrients.

If you’re keeping a cow as a pet on your farm, you’ll want her to eat the best possible diet. You’ll want to make sure of this so that it can stay as healthy and happy as possible.

Nutritional Requirements of Cows

Cows have very specific needs in terms of their diet. More than anything else, they need to have a large intake of protein. This is because cows produce a large volume of milk every day, and they need the protein intake to ensure that they do not start to feel weak and malnourished.

Cows that do not have a significant intake of protein and other necessary nutrients also fail to produce milk of the highest quality.

Even though cows have a very specific nutritional requirement, they do not have any trouble with getting those nutrients from a wide variety of plant based foods.

The majority of a cow’s diet will obviously consist of grass and hay. This is because they need to eat a minimum necessary volume of food. According to studies, an average cow weighing 1000 pounds will need to eat around 26 to 27 pounds of fodder.

However, it’s entirely safe and commonplace for cows to have a diet that is variable in terms of the foods that they are eating.

Cows also love to have snacks every once in a while, and apples are some of the best snacks that you could give your cow.

Is it Safe for Cows to Eat Apples?

Yes, it is safe for cows to eat apples. Apples have been one of the most popular snacks for cows, and for good reason. Mentioned below is the nutritional breakdown of apples and how it is beneficial for cows.

Nutritional Breakdown of Apples for Cows

According to the study, Apples are a rich source potassium, thiamin, vitamin B-6, and riboflavin. These are all nutrients that are very good for the health of cows and allow them to have a more balanced diet.

Potassium is a very beneficial nutrient for cows, just as it is for humans. It primarily helps in regulating the amount of fluid that the body retains. It also helps the body with sending nerve signals throughout the body and muscle contractions.

A diet that possesses significant amounts of potassium also helps to reduce blood pressure and is good for kidneys.

Thiamin, which is also known as vitamin B-1, is also essential for the body. Thiamin’s most important function in the body is that it allows it to absorb carbohydrates and use them as energy.

It also plays a key role in the functioning of the muscles and nerves in the body, including the heart.

Vitamin B-6 is essential for cows because it can help them maintain a stable blood sugar levels when their caloric intake is low.

Riboflavin is also beneficial for the muscles in the body, along with providing benefits to the blood.

This a detailed breakdown of the nutrients in apples that are beneficial for cows, and goes to show us that apples really are safe for cows to consume.

There will obviously be adverse effects if you let your cow overindulge, but that has more to do with the harms of excessiveness than the harms of the apples themselves.

The Proper Way to Feed Apples to Cows

All foods that animals eat should be fed to them in a certain way to reduce risk to their health and maximize its benefits. This fact is true no matter what the food is or what animal we are talking about.

The same is true in this case of cows and apples. There are certain things that you can do to ensure that your cow can eat apples comfortably and happily.

The first thing that you can do to assist your cow in ingesting apples is mashing them or cutting them into smaller chunks.

This step is always very important regardless of the food or the animal it is being fed to. Making the bite size smaller ensures the safety and comfort of the animal.

Cutting or mashing the apples means that the animal can comfortably chew and swallow the apple. It also significantly reduces the risk of the cow choking on the apple while swallowing it.

apples-for-cows

Fermented Apples

It is a very common practice to feed cows apples that have fallen from the trees already. In most cases where apples have already fallen from trees, they are also fermented to a certain degree. 

Some people believe that letting cows eat fermented apples can lead to problems for them in terms of their health, but this is not the case. What happens in real life might actually be the opposite.

Since these apples have already started fermenting, they can help in balancing the pH levels inside the cows’ stomachs and digestive tracts. So in most cases, you are helping your cows avoid acidic stomachs by feeding them apples that are in the process of fermenting.

This scenario mostly occurs when people are keeping cows on lands that are in the vicinity of large numbers of apple trees or dedicated apple farms. In these lands, the cows are free to roam and eat whatever they deem edible.

Some farmers try to discourage their cows from eating apples fallen on the ground. However, scientific evidence mentioned above suggests that it can actually be beneficial. For this reason, this is something that you can actually encourage in your animals.

The only thing you need to be wary of is rotting or moldy apples!

There is a difference between apples that are fermenting and apples that have started rotting or accumulating mold. Eating rotten or moldy apples can actually lead to upset stomachs in cows and should be avoided at all costs.

Portion Sizes of Apples for Cows

The portion size should also be kept in mind. Overfeeding your cow can lead to bloating in the stomach and this could then lead to significant discomfort for the animal.

Eating too many apples can lead to bloating because of the high amounts of fructose and fiber in the fruit. Foods that are high in fiber can lead to bloating when eaten in excess amounts.

In this dilemma, cows are not much different than humans. Although fiber is an essential and beneficial nutrient, it must not be consumed in excess amounts.

This is why it is important to ensure a small portion size when feeding apples to cows. This is because the majority of a cow’s diet needs to consist of grass or hay.

At most, apples should be allowed to make up thirty percent (30 %) of a cow’s diet. According to research conducted by scientists in the relevant fields, this is a safe level of apple consumption for cows. (Source)

Apple Pomace

Apple pomace is the name given to the waste that remains after apples have been processed for the production of apple juice or cider.

Apple pomace is produced as a byproduct when apples are pressed and milled. It is solid waste and consists of the seeds, stem, core, and peels leftover after apples are processed.

These leftovers have a similar composition to apples themselves and serve many purposes, including being used as feed for cattle.

According to recent Research, Apple pomace can act as a very nutritious and filling feed for your cows. It is readily available in the apple seasons, and has been used feed for cattle for countless years.

Apple pomace has a significant amount of moisture which means that it can spoil very quickly. To combat this, farmers have been known to dry it to allow for longer periods of storage.

Moreover, apple pomace can cause a significant level of land pollution when it is discarded. This means that by feeding apple pomace to your cows, you will be saving the environment while providing a healthy and delicious snack.

However, you should take the same precautions with apple pomace as you would with apples themselves. The portion size should not be too large and the majority of the day’s feed should consist of grass and dry hay.

This is because there is insufficient research about the adverse effects of large amounts apple pomace consumption in cows.

Other treats for cows

Conclusion

In conclusion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeding your cow apples or its derivative feeds.

The nutritional benefits offered by apples will help your cows in many different ways.

So as long as you practice moderation and ensure that your animals are eating a balanced diet of fruits and grass, there is nothing to worry about.

References

  • Hi, I am Waqar, a passionate farmer, and Livestock Expert. I have done my graduation in Agriculture and Animal breedings. Relevant to Farm Desire as a research writer and data recorder. My writing material will help you to find valuable information about farming.

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