Cows are one option you can consider as a livestock business focus. There are also a number of possible niches you can consider too. Cows eat a wide variety of foods – natural and manmade. It is essential that you know what they can or cannot eat. By design, cows are herbivorous i.e. their diet is mainly vegetation-based. For the most part cows eat grass; usually in the form of hay or silage. In some cases they just eat it directly from the grass as is (pasture). In fact, more than half of what cows eat is often grass. Ever wondered if cows can eat some fruits? Well, today we are looking at if cows can eat strawberries.
Cows Can Eat Strawberries
Yes, cows can eat strawberries. Cows can eat a wide range of berries. Two other common examples are blueberries and raspberries. Understandably it might not always be easy to find strawberries to feed your cows. After all, strawberries tend to be expensive. Thus feeding cows with strawberries can be feasible for those growing them. Usually if there are leftover or damaged strawberries, they can be fed to cows. Whilst this will enrich the cows’ immune system, this will also help in waste management.
Why Strawberries Are Healthy For Cows?
Boosts Immune System And Fills Nutritional Gaps
Strawberries are nutrient-rich with a host of nutrients cows can benefit from. Some of such nutrients are minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, amongst others. Given how most of what cows eat lacks in such nutrients, the health benefits of strawberries are apparent. In many ways, strawberries should be fed to cows as a supplement. Strawberries, if readily and cheaply available can be useful for emergencies. For instance, other traditional cow food sources e.g. pastures can be depressed sometimes. The nutritional gap left by unavailability of pasture can be considerably covered by strawberries.
Nutritional Content Of Strawberries
Here is a breakdown of the nutritional content of strawberries: On average, 3 strawberries constitute 100 grams in weight. Those 100 grams of strawberries contain 32 kcal of energy and 0.67 grams of protein. They have 7.68 grams of carbohydrates and 0.3 grams of total fat. There are 2 grams of fiber and 4.66 grams of sugars. Then there are other nutrients such as sodium, calcium, iron, vitamin C, potassium, and phosphorus in varying milligram quantities. Strawberries are 91 percent water by the way.
Strawberries Should Fed To Cows In Moderation
Too much of anything is always bad. In the case of strawberries you should consider its sugar content. Sugar is good for the cows for their energy needs. That sugar content also caters to the glucose needs of dairy cows. This has been found to enhance dairy cows’ milk production. However, strawberries typically have significant sugar content. That is why you should limit the quantities of strawberries your cows eat.
Diarrhoea could result from cows eating too many strawberries. This is because the cows will be tempted to eat many strawberries at once. The cow due to its unique digestive system can get overwhelmed by that. It is worth mentioning that due to strawberries’ magnesium and calcium content, too much can be problematic. Due to that and the overall sweetness of strawberries, cows may be less inclined to eat other foods too. This can end up affecting the cows’ diet in terms of nutritional balance.
Ways In Which Cows Can Eat Strawberries
The most obvious way is that the cows can eat the strawberry fruits. Then the cows can also eat the strawberry plants; essentially the leaves mostly. The leaves can usually be nutrient denser than the actual strawberry fruits. The leaves also provide a considerable amount of fiber useful in digestion. The leaves are also rich in protein which is a core nutrient cows need. The other beneficial parts cows can eat are the strawberry stalks and stems. Again they are rich in fiber. Strawberries can also be processed into other foods or by products that the cows can eat.
Can Dairy Cows Produce Strawberry Milk From Eating Strawberries?
There is no question about how what dairy cows eat somehow affects the quality of the milk they produce. Their diet also affects the taste of the milk they produce. Most dairy farmers have been fascinated by the idea of the flavour of food eaten by a cow getting into the milk. One particular dairy farmer once claimed that he fed bananas to his cows and the milk tasted as such. There has been an on-going debate for years regarding this subject. There was even a study done that claimed they had successfully made dairy cows produce strawberry milk.
However, for that study they had fed strawberry capsules to the cows in question. Not raw strawberries. The truth is it is not conclusively proven that cows can produce strawberry milk from eating strawberries. There is a general assumption some may make. As in, that it is possible if you exclusively feed the cows with strawberries. However, there is something flawed in that assumption. Exclusively feeding cows with strawberries will be detrimental to their health.
The bottom line is that cows can eat strawberries. There are proven health benefits that cows enjoy from eating strawberries. It is important to never forget that feeding the cows excessively with strawberries is not good. You also have to weigh your options. Strawberries are not typically readily available and they are expensive. If you cannot afford them then it is best to not consider them. No wonder why strawberry farmers with cows are better positioned to use them as supplementary feeding.
Bear in mind also that not all cows will like strawberries and that is normal. If you are feeding the cows with damaged or leftover strawberries ensure they are not rotten. When feeding cows with strawberries, please make sure you inspect their performance daily. If you notice any anomalies it would be best to stop feeding them with strawberries. This is should be a general rule.