What Do Cows Like To Eat?

Cows are valuable cattle in the farming industry as they are invested in meat as well as milk. To have a good quality of products, the first condition is to maintain the healthy status of your cows. To learn “what do cows like to eat?” is undeniable since the diet plays a very important role in a cow’s development. Let’s check out the cow food list in this article.

What Do Cows Like To Eat

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What Do Cows Like To Eat?

Do you know that a cow spends around 3-5 hours per day eating? Each might consume 100 lbs. of feed, and drink about 25-50 gallons of water every day. So, what’s on the cow food list? Check out 7 different types of food that cows like to eat below.

1. Hay

Hay is the primary feed source of any cattle. It commonly accounts for 50% of a cow’s diet.

2. Barley

Barley is one of the most popular types of grain to feed cows during farming history. As containing a lot of nutrients, this grain is an ideal food for cows, and farmers can give it several times per day.

3. Grass

A large farm with grass is a paradise for your cows as they love feeding on grass. Sold at a reasonable price, grass could be added to the diet of your cows, however, in case you have a lot of cows, you would need to consider the balance of your budget.

4. Dry feed

To ensure that your stock of feeding is always available, and to avoid your cows being lack of food in their diet, the dry feed could be your backup plan. It can be found easily at many feed stores, however, you will need to find the best price for proper investment.

5. Grain

One of the choices on the cow food list is grain. There are many types with different qualities that you can opt for. The price needs to be considered carefully, so you can choose which grain is suitable for your cows.

6. Oats

Oats, at many farms, can be included in the regular diets of cows as they are greatly nutritious and can enhance the coat quality of cows. Those oats, given to cows, can be processed with barley or grain to enable a more interesting meal.

7. Salt licks

One of the most favorites for cows is salt lick which provides essential nutrients and minerals to your cattle. What cows would love to do most of the time is to lick those during the day. Salt licks are also good for muscle development and digestion.

8. Wet feed

Made of fermented barley, oats, and Alfalfa, wet feed is a great idea for your cow’s diet. You can make the mixture by yourself or find a supplier to do it. The wet feed can be given to cows as treats, and they are certainly full of nutrients.

9. Cow favorite treats

cow favorite treat, such as apple

Besides some main food for daily feeding, it’s ideal for you to give your cows some treats to show your care and how much you love them. Like any other animal, cows would expect something new or interesting in their diet, to have the new taste and enjoy themselves. It’s also the time for bonding as you can feed your cows by hand.

Some recommended treats that you can try are:

  • Apples: Slice or smash.
  • Bananas: Cut into small pieces.
  • Stale bread: You can find the old bread at a very cheap price, and believe me, your cows are gonna love that.
  • Slices of potatoes, carrots, turnip, or cabbage leaves.

Obviously, it will also depend on your cows’ preference, so you will need to take a test to see what they like. You will know if they love what is given by observing carefully and through their reactions.

Read more: What Do Cows Drink?

Weird things that cows can eat

What do cows like to eat? It is surprising to know that cows love not only normal food but also a lot of things considered waste or already expired.

The bread, broken or damaged, can be fed to your cows, which is a win-win situation for the bakery and your business.

By the way, rotten or spoiled fruits and vegetables can also be given to cows rather than be compost or thrown away.

Also, several by-products, which are leftover substances produced after the extraction of main products. We are aware that every product, after processed, still have some remains which contain valuable nutrients.

Or, it can be fibrous pulp – an energy-dense from sugar beets, or wet corn gluten feed, which is very rich in fibre and protein, from corn oil and corn starch. Those are excellent choices of food for cows as the nutrients, at this time, are concentrated and can be mixed in every meal of a day.

For those farmers that use the land for the two purposes – crops and livestock, cows can help remove the residue left over in corn or wheat fields, which can be digested despite its low quality, for the next crop. This is a very important fact because by doing this, farmers can save their time significantly, and at the same time might have better results for the upcoming yield.

Some tips for saving cow feed cost

let cows eat in a bunk

When devising on your budget plan for feeding costs, you will need to figure out the most economical way to make your investment properly. Let’s see some ways of saving your budget for feeding.

  • Choose well upon buying hay: Choose the best one not only with good quality but also at the lowest price. So, make your research on the market properly.
  • Confined cows: Interestingly, cows require less feed during the winter as they spend most of their time on confinement, leading to the reduction of energy needs. That’s why you can make some savings during the season.
  • Ammoniate residue bales of corn: When choosing corn stalks for cow feed, you can ammoniate it to increase the level of protein and TDN. Also, cows love corn bales more when ammoniated.
  • Feed in a bunk: Instead of putting everything on the ground, prepare the food in a bunk as nearly half of the feeding on the ground is wasted.

Read more: Are Cows Friendly?


All in all, I hope that you can learn a lot after reading this article. What do cows like to eat? You might feel better because cows not only eat basic and maybe expensive things, but you can have an alternative for your economic plan. You will need to learn by enriching your knowledge and caring for your cows as well. And don’t forget to try the cow favorite treats as they are also necessary, too.

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