Can Cows Eat Apples? (Do This First!)

Just like humans, a cow’s diet needs to be balanced. We all know they eat grains, silage, and hay, but what about apples? Can cows eat apples? 

Yes, cows can eat apples. Apples are a fun treat for cows and a healthy source of vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. However, they are meant to be eaten in small amounts.

Also, you need to remove the seeds and core of the apple before giving them to the cows. Ideally, you should feed them apples in combination with other foods, such as hay or grain. This is to provide a balanced dose of the nutrients they need to stay healthy and productive. 

Can cows eat apples

Can cows eat whole apples?

Feeding cows with whole apples is a bad idea. If you must do so, then you need to remove the seeds and core before giving them to the cow. The seeds and core contain small amounts of cyanide, which can be toxic in large amounts.

Cyanide hinders the use of oxygen by a cow’s cells, causing it to suffocate. This is why cattle tend to choke when fed with whole apples. To prevent this, break up the apples into smaller pieces. This could mean grounding or finely chopping them.

Can cows eat half-fermented apples?

Yes, partly fermented apples are good for cows. Although they are not good when served in large amounts, just like the fresh ones.

They aid in digestion and help stomach acidity. So there’s no harm in feeding your cows with a few fermented apples. If you go overboard, then it could cause problems, specifically bloating and acidosis.

Are apple leaves safe for cows?

Like the seeds, apple leaves contain a little amount of hydrocyanic acid (also known as cyanide). They are also rich in minerals and antioxidants. But are they safe for your cattle?

Well, the answer is subjective. If you feed them with the leaves in small amounts, then maybe it’s okay. The danger comes when you try to feed them with too much of it. The presence of cyanide in the leaves makes them poisonous when consumed in high amounts. I would be concerned about the choking hazard.  

Apple leaves also contain tannins, which can interfere with how the cow absorbs certain nutrients. 

To put it more simply, it’s best not to feed your cows with apple leaves. And if you must do it, it must be sparingly and in very small amounts. Don’t include the leaves as part of their diet. 

Are apples pomace safe for cows?

Apple pomace is the pulp left behind after pressing or juicing an apple; it makes up 30 percent of the original fruit. Just like the original fruit, apple pomace is safe for cows when consumed in small amounts. It is a good source of dietary fiber and can be a useful supplement to the cow’s diet.

Can cows eat apples and carrots?

Yes, cows eat carrots as well as apples. You can combine the two fruits and offer them as treats. Cows are generally not picky, especially when it comes to treats like veggies and fruits. So, besides carrots and apples, you can also feed them with cabbage, turnips, cauliflower, and similar treats. 

Having said that, you should feed them in moderation, as overfeeding can cause digestive problems or other health issues. 

What happens when you overfeed a cow with apples?

While apples can provide numerous health benefits to cows, there are also potential risks associated with feeding them these fruits. These risks include:

  • Choking Hazard: Cows may struggle to swallow large apple pieces, which may result in choking. So, always prepare the apples before giving them to your cows. 
  • Digestive Issues: Feeding cows with a large number of apples can be a problem. In some cases, it can cause bloating and diarrhea.
  • Acidosis: The natural sugars in apples can cause an imbalance in a cow’s rumen pH, leading to a condition known as acidosis. This can negatively impact her overall health and productivity.
  • Pesticides: Apples treated with pesticides can be harmful to cows. So, except you know where the apples are coming from, it’s much safer not to give them to your livestock. 

How to feed cows with apples

The lack of incisors means cows can put a whole apple in their mouth in one piece. But this is not recommended. 

It’s best you break up the apples into smaller pieces or mash them before feeding them to the cows. Before then, you should take out the seeds and core of the apple. Use a corer to remove the core or cut it into smaller pieces with a sharp knife. This should be done before feeding the cow.

A good apple corer I recommend is the one by Zulay. It is super durable, easy to use and clean, and can be used for many varieties of apples. 

Also, wash the apples thoroughly to remove any dirt, bacteria, or pesticide residues. This will help prevent potential health issues that may be caused by contaminants.

As earlier indicated, don’t feed the cows with a lot of apples. Nutrition-wise, they only need a small amount. It’s best to combine apples with other foods, such as grain or hay, as well as other treats like carrots, watermelons, and bananas. 

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