Cows are some of the most important animals to a human’s diet and well-being. They provide meat (beef – which is a great source of protein), milk and their skin is used in the production of leather. But in order for a cow to produce all of the aforementioned products (in great quantity and quality) they need to be fed well all throughout the year, which can seem impossible during a season like winter when most plants (which are in the regular diet of a cow) are not in season (or in short supply.) However not all plants are subject to that fate and the pumpkin is a prime example of that. With that being said can a big fruit like the pumpkin be added to a cow’s diet or better yet can cows really eat pumpkins? Let’s find out.
Cows Can Certainly Eat Pumpkins
Yes, cows can certainly eat pumpkins because pumpkins have great nutritional value for the cow’s biology and pumpkins do not contain any bad or dubious substance that may be toxic to the cows when ingested. That’s right, not only can you use pumpkins as decorative ornaments for Halloween and Thanksgiving, you can also feed pumpkins to cows to boost their dietary needs during winter when grass and other plants that are vital to a cow’s diet are in short supply. Pumpkins are high in vitamins that not only aid the average person in maintaining a healthy diet, they also help cows maintain and produce some of the end products we (as humans) have come to love and expect from them.
Why Would You Consider Feeding Pumpkins To Your Cows In The First Place?
Pumpkins are a low cost alternative to feeding the cows (when most plant life is dormant) not only that but they are great for a cold and dry season like winter because that is when they ripen. Pumpkins, like watermelons, are high in water or moisture content, high in fiber and also contain a wide array of minerals and protein. Protein is essential to a cow’s diet because it needs it to produce milk (if you happen to have diary cows) and a lot of beef in order to be of any value, pumpkins offer protein without any need for additional chemical substances. This protein manifests in a bulky and healthy cow.
- Pumpkins taste good (not only to humans) to cows and changing the cow’s diet by adding pumpkins would not drastically affect the cow in a bad way. In fact the cow might benefit a whole lot from eating pumpkin, however pumpkin is only good (as an alternative) for a limited time because they’re only (also) available for a limited time.
- Because pumpkins are packed with fiber, you can be sure that they’ll pass through the cows’ digestive system with ease and not induce any complications with the cows’ (already complicated) digestive system. This is also true because of the high water content contained in pumpkins. But as the saying goes “all things in moderation.”
- Pumpkins are [very] rich in nutrients as you can tell from the above content, that being said you have to be quite particular about the amount of pumpkins you feed the cows.
Preparing The Pumpkins For The Cows To Eat
Cows (cattle) do not have large canine teeth (for example like hippos) to bite straight through the hard outer shell of pumpkins in order to get to the soft and delicious (yet highly nutritious) center. Instead you need to prepare the pumpkins for the cows to minimize the difficulty of eating them.
Remove The Outer Shell And Cut The Pumpkin(s) Into Small (Clenched Fist-Sized) Cubes
Depending on the size of your pumpkin(s), you can use a knife or an axe to help you peel/ cut away the outer (hard) shell to get to the highly nutritious center. But because the pumpkin is highly nutritious, you have to cut it down into pieces to make the dietary intake for the cows more manageable. Not only that, this also insures that the cows have no trouble eating the pumpkin(s.) If you overfeed the cows with the pumpkins, it may lead to very serious digestive issues for the cow (like diarrhea) this is because pumpkins are also high in natural sugars and fiber as well.
- Do not assume that because of the above information the pumpkins are bad for cows because they are not, but too much of something is always bad. This is true of course for any food (fruit or vegetable) you may think of giving to the cows. You would be better served incorporating the pumpkins into the cow’s diet bit-by-bit so that they’re digestive systems are accustomed to the new food, and then adding more as time goes on (but again, do not overdo it.)
More On Cows Eating Pumpkins
- Pumpkins should not be thought of as a long term food replacement to the cow’s normal diet. Instead should be thought of as a seasonal food replacement for a time when the cow’s normal food diet is in short supply and thus more expensive.
- Pumpkin seeds have antimicrobial properties and can effectively help in cleaning the gut of your cows. So when feeding the cows pumpkins, be sure to leave in the seeds from time to time so as to make the cows ingest them.
So you’re looking for a more affordable option to help maintain the health and beef production of your cows but you just don’t know where to start. Well, you can start with pumpkins. They are a great source of vitamins, minerals and so much more you would want for your cows all in the form of a huge orange-colored spherical fruit. Next time you think of saving your pumpkins for Halloween so as to pierce creepy and scary faces onto them (and you are rearing cows) do not deprive your cows of the nutritional richness of pumpkins. You may just save a bit of money for next season.