Cows are often grazers which is why their diet can predominantly be grass-based. Such a diet might not always fully cater for their nutritional needs. That is why it becomes necessary to explore other foods. There is a wide variety of foods that cows can eat. There are those that cows cannot or should not eat. Knowing which is which is essential to the health of your cows. That is why you need to explore the various possible food sources for cows that may be there. One such possible food source is banana peels. Can cows eat banana peels?
Cows Can Eat Banana Peels
Yes, cows can eat banana peels. Banana peels are good for cows to eat. There is a funny hack that banana peels can bring about for farmers. Cows have been found to prefer bananas a lot. The same applies to the banana peels. As such, farmers can use them to attract the cows back home. That is, during the day the cows may be out there foraging. Then once you have built a routine, they head back home in anticipation of the banana peels.
Why Feeding Banana Peels To Cows Must Be A Consideration
Banana production is a huge global industry. Bananas are cultivated both for domestic markets and export ones. When earmarked for export, it is normal to have bananas not being considered export-worthy. This is because bananas for export are rigorously graded first. This often leads to scenarios where 75 percent of bananas meant for export are rejected. Do not forget that there may be more bananas that would not have matured well.
Trying to then sell those bananas domestically can be a tall order. At times the banana market can be flooded. This ends up with lots of bananas that may end up as waste. On average, 3 out of every 10 bananas end up as waste. That is a lot and that is why bananas and banana peels are worth considering as feed for cows. You can source them if you are not a banana producer. If you already cultivate them then it is far easier.
What Cows Benefit From Banana Peels
Banana peels have a wide range of essential minerals. Sodium and potassium are some of the common ones. Banana peels also provide carbohydrates and vitamins. A notable constituent of banana peels is crude fiber – about 30 percent. This is highly beneficial to digestive processes of a cow. The bonus being that the banana peels themselves are easy to digest. Banana peels have considerable amounts of protein, not that much – just 8 percent.
Banana peels have significant water content – up to 80 percent. When cows eat banana peels they get the much needed hydration. Banana peels also have significant amounts of tannin. This leads to high quality meat and milk; even milk production is enhanced. This is of great benefit to dairy cows and lactating cows as well. Banana peels can also contribute to weight gain, especially for meat production.
How To Feed Banana Peels To Cows
Banana Peels Alone Or Full Bananas?
Cows can eat the banana peels as is. This means they can eat discarded banana peels. Another option is to feed actual bananas with the peels on. Either way, the cows can still eat the banana peels. The better approach though is to feed the cows with the banana peels exclusively. You can just feed them without doing anything to the banana peels. Especially if the bananas were overripe, cows will easily ingest. If the banana peels are still substantially firm, you may consider cutting them up first.
Balance Out Proportions
It is important to bear in mind that banana peels are low or deficient in other important nutrients. Two examples of such are phosphorus and calcium. Calcium is notably important for cow development so in mixing up the feeds have that in mind. Moderation is also important. Banana peels are high in crude fiber content. Too much of that can be detrimental to the cows.
Ripe Or Unripe Bananas?
You may be wondering about feeding cows with unripe or green banana peels. Yes the cows can eat such banana peels. However, it might almost be rare to have to feed cows with banana peels from unripe bananas. There can be cases where the banana peels remain green even when the bananas are ripe. Feeding them to cows is not an issue. What is most recommended is to feed the cows with banana peels from ripe bananas.
Banana Peels As Silage
Banana peels can also fed to cows as silage. Caution should be exercised to ensure the silage does not spoil easily. If done properly, silage from banana peels can last for over 6 months. Banana peels, no matter the form they are in, can be mixed up with other cow feeds. Even when making silage, you must take note of the ripe bananas aspect. If you get your hands on unripe bananas it would be better to let them ripen first.
How Much Or How Often Should Cows Eat Banana Peels?
This can be informed by understanding just how much of alternative foods cows should eat. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, they should not exceed 7 percent of a cow’s total daily food intake. With respect to other fruits and vegetables you may be feeding your cows that can guide you.
Cows can and should eat bananas peels only if readily, conveniently, and cheaply available. Banana peels have health benefits for cows. Banana peels also serve as supplementary feeding which can save on costs. Feeding cows with banana peels also helps with waste management. You must not forget that banana production often involves use of chemicals. It is important to ascertain that the banana peels in question are feed-safe for the cows. If they ingest banana peels with chemical residues the effects can be dire. You must also avoid banana peels that would be rotting or rotten already.