Can Cows Eat Tomatoes? Nutritional Value

Tomato is the one cheap, highly nutritious vegetable that is available all year round. It is immensely demanded and gets sold readily probably because it enhances the flavor of our dishes.

Let alone humans, even farm animals and birds are fans of the heavenly delicious vegetable.

Leave ripe tomatoes, you would see how quickly they get eaten by squirrels, groundhogs, raccoons, deer, chipmunk, deers, and even cows. Yes, you have to believe your eyes that cows happen to love tomatoes as well.

It’s a fact that cows like snacking on tomatoes. It does mean tomatoes are entirely safe and healthy or that the said farm animal can eat tomatoes.

Like humans, animals can also be eating something that’s not healthy.

Since cows do not spare a chance of eating tomatoes, it’s the need of the hour to know whether this vegetable is safe? If cows can eat tomatoes or not?

So, Can Cows Eat Tomatoes?

Yes, cows can eat tomatoes but in moderation. This said members of the nightshade family can also not be fed frequently as tomatoes are not entirely safe and healthy.

Do Cows Like Tomatoes?

Yes, there is no reason to hate this heavenly delicious member of the nightshade family.

Cows are often noticed trying to eat as many tomatoes as they can (whenever they get a chance). So, it can be said that cows do have some appreciation for tomatoes.

Only completely ripe tomatoes are safe to be eaten

It is no secret that unripe tomatoes contain solanine-like alkaloids called tomatine.

The presence of tomatine makes the unripe tomatoes a little unsafe and unhealthy to be consumed.

It’s just not the unripe tomatoes, the tomatoes that are not completely ripe can also contain tomatine. So, in such cases, only the fully ripe part can be fed and the green part should be immediately discarded.

It is proven that when the tomatoes turn red, in other words, the tomatoes ripen, the tomatine disappears.

So, the said vegetable becomes safe for human and animal consumption.

tomatoes-and-cow

Fully ripe tomatoes can be as healthy as high-quality hay

It’s super hard to believe and might come to you as a surprise. Fully ripe tomatoes have the same amount of protein and energy that only high-quality hay can have.

However, the calcium content is super low but that can be fixed by adding a calcium supplement.

What’s more worth mentioning is that tomatoes are composed of 94% water and 6% dry matter. So, feeding tomatoes once in a while would surely prevent dehydration.

Tomatoes have to be fresh

To be able to serve efficiently, tomatoes have to arrive fresh. Moldy tomatoes can not serve cows the same way as fresh ones. Moreover, they have to be thoroughly washed as well.

What Vitamins and Minerals do Tomatoes Have?

According to research, Tomatoes indeed contain a dietary source of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is linked to many serious health problems like cancer and heart issues. However, if we look at the other side of the picture tomatoes are a natural source of fiber and

  • Potassium
  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K

All of these above-mentioned nutrients are needed by the cows for the healthy functioning of several important functions. Here’s what these nutrients do;

Fiber

Fiber is a crucial nutrient not only for humans but animals as well. The subject of this post needs fiber for a variety of reasons.

Read some Fiber-rich foods

According to recent studies, The major ones are; maintaining cow health, rumen function, and normal fattest. Moreover, it encourages chewing and saliva production.

So for all the important reasons, it is advised to have cow feed that is rich in fiber. Since tomatoes contain a good amount of fiber, the said vegetable would make a highly nutritional treat. And then tomatoes are a natural source of fiber so what’s the harm?

Potassium

Cows need potassium more than anything else as a significant amount of potassium is lost through milk production.

In the period of lactation, potassium requirements doubles. Feeding potassium-rich grains, fruits, and vegetables would greatly help in overcoming the need.

The said domestic animal needs this nutrient for impressive milk production, reproductive performance, immune function, and to prevent cardiovascular disease and treat heat stress.

tomatoes-for-cow

Phosphorus

Phosphorus is an essential nutrient that is demanded for almost every function in the cow’s body.

However, mainly it is used in producing milk, metabolizing fats, carbohydrates, protein, building bones, and teeth.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that must be consumed every single day.

Continuous supply is needed for proper bone formation, growth, energy metabolism, skin, hoof, epithelial tissue, and mucous membrane maintenance.

As per the experts, one average-sized tomato contains 427 mg potassium. So, there might not be any other better potassium-rich option.

Vitamin C

Cows do not require vitamin C in impressive amounts because the said animal can not synthesize ascorbic acid.

Fortunately, tomatoes do not contain enough vitamin C that would create an issue. Three or four tomatoes at a time can never be the cause of any health issues. Cows can eat oranges and apples as an alternative.

However, a small amount of vitamin C would improve rumen function and help in protecting the structural integrity of the cells of the immune system.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is needed for one important reason; the production of prothrombin. Adequate prothrombin prevents blood clotting and internal bleeding.

So if a fruit or vegetable, satisfying the taste buds, is playing it’s part in fulfilling a part of the need, it’s a win-win.

Be aware!
Be aware of tomato poisoning. There can be many causes however the most common ones are;

  • Replacing tomatoes with the typical cow feed
  • Choosing unripe or moldy tomatoes to feed

Tomato poisoning is not that deadly but it can give birth to various health issues like lethargy, vomiting, abdominal pain, and constipation. So, be careful.

Conclusion

In brief, yes, cows can eat tomatoes but there are some conditions. Tomatoes have to be fresh, fully ripened, and thoroughly washed. It must be fed as a treat in moderation. If tomatoes are fed appropriately, they can be as healthy and nutritional as good-quality hay.

Resources

  • Hi, I am Talon Juper, a passionate farmer, and Livestock Expert. I have done my graduation in Agriculture and Animal breeding. Relevant to Farm Desire as a research writer and data recorder.

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