Yes, cows eat pumpkins. Cows find pumpkins tasty, have no trouble breaking whole pumpkins open and consuming the pulp and do not have any issue digesting them either. But perhaps the more important question is should cows eat pumpkins?
There are certainly a few benefits that pumpkins can provide to a cow’s diet. So let’s take a look at them, as well as whether it’s a good idea for cows to eat pumpkin seeds and vines too.
3 Benefits of Feeding Pumpkins to Cows
Pumpkins contain 91 % water, 1 % of ash, 1.3% of protein, and 5.8% of carbohydrates. Pound for pound, this is only about half the equal in food nutrients compared to pasture grasses, making pumpkins particularly useful as feeding in the fall, when the pastures are dried up and are lacking in succulence.
High Nutritional Value
Pumpkins are a good source of vitamin A, E, fiber, and protein for cows. Each of these plays an important role in a cow’s diet.
Vitamin A is valuable for maintaining cows’ eye and skin health, as well as promoting their reproductive performance.
Vitamin E helps to maintain immune function and animal health, while also preventing muscular dystrophy in young calves.
Protein makes sure that many of the functions in a cow’s body are working correctly, including mammary gland activity, reproductive and immune functions while also ensuring maximal growth.
Fiber is key for maintaining and supporting rumen function.
Helps Milk Production
As pumpkins contain 91% of water, this can be a good way to increase dairy cows’ moisture consumption, which may promote milk production in pregnant cows.
Can Cows Eat Pumpkin Seeds?
Cows can safely eat pumpkin seeds – and in fact, it’s probably a good idea if they do too. Pumpkin seeds contain a group of compounds known as cucurbitacin, which acts as an effective dewormer.
Can Cows Eat Pumpkin Vines?
Cows can eat pumpkin vines, much to the annoyance of pumpkin farmers as it doesn’t give the pumpkins enough time to mature. It is more likely that cows will walk through the vines and ruin them in that way, though, which is why pumpkin patches should be fenced off.
How Should Pumpkins Be Fed to Cattle?
There aren’t any special requirements for how pumpkins should be fed to cattle. Cattle will gladly roam a pumpkin patch and eat at will as they have no problem breaking pumpkins open. While it isn’t necessary, you can also chop pumpkins into smaller bits to make life a bit easier for your herd.
It might also be a good idea to start with small amounts so you can monitor how much pumpkin is added to your cattle’s diet.