Friday, June 24, 2016

Dairy FAQ: Can cows eat fruits and vegetables?

What do cows eat? Can they eat fruits and/or vegetables? Do they like to eat fruits and vegetables? If you've wondered this, you've come to the right place.

The answer is YES. Our cows LOVE fruits and vegetables. They usually eat hay (more on that here), but they love when we give them sweet corn (usually cows eat field corn...the kind people can't eat and is mostly consumed by livestock) or apples or watermelon rinds. They are so excited when they see us coming with any of those items. 

This Hereford always tends to be a subject of a lot my photos of our beef cows. I guess she’s always in the right place at the right time. She also lets me know that she doesn’t like photos. It’s educational, so I just tell her she’s famous.

We brought some apples out to the manger for the cows.

One of our apple trees
"MY apple!!"
"Apple? What apple? I don't have it!"
Okay, so cows like apples, but what else do they like? Ours LOVE watermelon rinds, corn, pears and pretty much anything else they can get their hands—I mean tongues—on.

Did you also know that many farmers employ an animal nutritionist to balance a ration (diet) for their animals to ensure they are consuming the proper nutrients each and every day? Just think how much better it would be if every person had their own nutritionist on hand. Back to the cows, these rations are balanced for many things, such as fiber, energy, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals and more.

Many animals eat better than most people do.

We want our cows to be as healthy and productive as possible and to live the best lives they can, so we ensure they have plenty of food and water 24 hours a day, every day.

On a farm, there are no vacation days, no sick days and no snow delays. If a farmer decides to take a vacation, they must find someone to take care of the animals. Cows won’t understand if you tell them they won’t be fed or milked until you return from Hawaii the following week. Cows also don’t care if you aren’t feeling well. I like to think they sympathize with people that don’t feel well, but it doesn’t change the fact that they still need to be fed and dairy cows need to be milked.

Now, speaking of fruits and vegetables, if you haven't eaten any yet today, you should probably fix that. Maybe add some milk or yogurt to it. 


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