Can You Feed Horse Feed To Cows? Let’s Debunks The Myths

By Zunnun Ahmed •  Updated: 09/26/22 •  6 min read

Tell me if this is you…….

You have a couple of livestock on your farm and are thinking of switching the food of one another. Or perhaps, you may have heard that farmers are feeding horse feed to cows and vice versa. And start wondering-can you feed horse feed to cows?

Can’t blame you.

There are a lot of rumors flying around about feeding horse feed to cows. That’s why we decided to debunk the myths today and go into great detail about whether it is safe or not.

So, let’s get started. 

First, can you feed horse feed to cows?

No, you can’t feed horses to cows. 

Horses and cows come from two different animal kingdoms and have different digestive systems. Horse feed is higher in protein and minerals than cow feed. This makes it difficult for cows to digest horse feed. And that’s the biggest reason why it’s not safe to feed horse feed to cows. 

In fact…..

Feeding horse feed to cows can be fatal and cause health problems like diarrhea and ulcers.

So you’re probably wondering why it is that so many people think that it’s okay to feed horse feed to cows. 

It’s because of the way that feeds are processed. 

What does it mean?

Horse feed and cow feed are both made of grains, but the way those grains are processed is different. This is because both of these animals use different organs to digest their food.

Can You Feed Horse Feed To Cows Let's Debunks The Myths

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What makes horse feed different from cow feed?

Hear me out……

Cows are herbivorous animals, and they should be fed grass, hay, and plant-based materials. 

Horses, on the other hand, are omnivorous animals. They live off of eating grains, hay, and green vegetables. These foods provide them with their daily nutrient needs and are easier to digest. 

Now come to the main point.

Cows digest their food with their stomach, whereas horses use their intestine, which contains billions of bacteria, to digest their food. Due to the different digestive systems, cows’ and horses’ feed must be processed differently. 

This is why giving horse feed to cows is not a good idea. Your cows can experience serious health issues if you give them horse feed.

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What are the consequences (& risks) of feeding horses to cows?

When you feed horse feed to cows, it can raise the levels of acidity in their stomachs. This can cause health problems like-

Let’s talk about another critical fact – milk.

Will cow’s milk taste different if they eat horse feed? Yes. The milk will taste different if cows are fed horse feed, which is a different diet.

So if you’re thinking about feeding your cowhorse feed, it’s essential to talk to your veterinarian first. They can help you create a feeding plan to keep your cows healthy and happy.


Essential amino acids: why do horses need it but cows don’t?

You gotta understand the characteristics of Amino Acids first……Essential amino acids are the building components of protein. 

Horses require essential amino acids in their diet because they cannot produce them on their own. Horses get protein synthesis from essential amino acids, which help them grow and repair bone and muscle. Protein is a must-have nutrient for your horse’s diet. 

What about cows? Is protein good for cows

The answer is no. Protein is a critical nutrient in a cow’s diet. It can lower your cow’s appetite, growth, and weight. It can also reduce the amount of milk produced by your cow. As a result, it is preferable not to supplement cows’ diets with essential amino acids.

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What are the alternatives to feeding horse feed to cows?

Are there any alternatives to feeding horse feed to cows? Yes, there are a few different things you can try.

One option is to supplement your cows’ diet with hay. 

Hay is a type of grass that’s been dried and cut, and it’s a great source of nutrition for cows. It’s also a good way to entertain since they’ll love to eat it.

Another option is to give some corn. 

Corn is a grain that’s high in protein and minerals, and it’s a great way to help them gain weight. Just be careful not to give them too much, or they’ll get fat.

Finally, you can also give some fresh vegetables. This is a great way to provide them with essential vitamins and minerals. Some good options include carrots, cucumbers, and spinach.


Is all stock feed OK for horses?

Yes. All livestock animals, including horses, can consume the stock feed if it provides a good amount of protein, vitamins, grain, etc.  

Is horse feed bad for cows?

Yes. Horses and cows have different digestive systems and diets. So, feeding horse feed to cows can make them sick. As we mentioned earlier, Horses are omnivores animals, and they eat grains, hay, and green vegetables, which are good for their digestive systems.

Is it safe for cows to eat a small amount of horse feed?

Depends. They might not get sick if you feed them a tiny bit of horse feed. You should, however, avoid giving horse feed to cows.

To sum up…….

Cows and horses are two very distinct animals with different diets. Horse feeds are rich in protein to provide the necessary energy for the horse. Feeding horse feed to cows can bring unwanted consequences. 

And what’s worse?

Your cows can experience digestive problems and cause serious health issues like ulcers. So, avoid feeding horse feed to your cows. 

Zunnun Ahmed

We are a group of horse enthusiasts. We want to provide information and tips to help others learn more about horses, how to care for them, and how to enjoy them.

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