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Can Cows Eat Watermelon?

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It may be hard for some people to believe, but did you know that cows can eat a lot more than just grass and hay? If you are wondering what you can do with leftover watermelon and if you have cows, they may just be the answer to your problem!

Can Cows Eat Watermelon?

A small brown calf stands near a pile of hay and watermelons and looking at the camera

Cows can eat watermelon! While a cow’s main diet should always consist of forage like hay and grass, they can and will eat fruits, including watermelon! As with all new treats, you should monitor your cow’s health and regular diet to keep your cows happy and strong.

Watermelon may be a good treat option for cows, but it should never interfere with their normal diet. Cows can develop gastrointestinal issues if their daily meals are altered too quickly or too drastically.

The trick is to learn all you can about cows and watermelon so you can decide if this fruity treat is the right choice for your bovine herd.

Is Watermelon Safe for Cows to Eat?

Watermelon is safe for cattle to eat, as treats of course. They are easy for cows to chew and they contain no known cattle-toxic substances.

Most cows do not have any issues eating or digesting watermelon, so in limited quantities, it is a safe treat for cows.

Is Watermelon Healthy for Cows?

Watermelon has lots of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and vitamin B5! These nutrients provide cows with antioxidants that help to boost their immune systems.

Most of a watermelon is simply water. Water makes up about 91% of the entire fruit, hence the name watermelon!  It is a low-calorie treat that is also low in carbohydrates, making it an ideal cow treat that will not pack on any unwanted pounds. (source)

Can Cows Eat Watermelon Rind?

Cows can eat the rind, or shell, of a watermelon! While most of us shy away from eating a watermelon rind, cows are not so picky. The rind itself contains a lot of nutrients that can only benefit your cow’s health. It has vitamin C, vitamin B-6, citrulline. These are all invaluable antioxidants that are great for your cow’s health. (source)

Sliced watermelon on the plate on white wooden background

They are relatively easy for cows to break apart and eat if your cows enjoy eating the watermelon rinds. Not every cow will eat the rind, or it may opt to eat the fleshy part first and come back to the rind as a last resort.

Many cow owners recommend breaking or cutting up the rind to make it easier to cows to eat.

Can Cows Eat Watermelon Seeds?

Watermelon seeds are safe for cows to eat, along with the rest of the watermelon. The seeds of a watermelon contain iron and magnesium, both of which are okay for cows. You should not just feed a handful of seeds to your cows, but the seeds that are in the fruit are fine for cows to eat.

How Much Watermelon Can I Feed My Cows?

All treats that you feed to your cattle should be fed in moderation. The treat, no matter how healthy it is, should never be fed in large quantities to cows.

If you overfeed treats, cows are less likely to eat their regular forage, which can cause severe gastrointestinal consequences.

One watermelon per day for every 2 to 3 head of cattle is a good rule of thumb to keep your cows content but healthy.  

How to Prepare Watermelon for Cows

Always clean any fruit rinds that you plan on feeding to your cows. It is important to make sure than any pesticides that may have been on the watermelon or other fruit is removed. You can chop the watermelon up into small pieces to prevent choking in younger cows.

If you are feeding adult cows, you can simply split the watermelon and allow the cows to bite off the pieces they want. Many farmers find this to be the easiest way to feed watermelons to their herd, although some may prefer to cut the fruit up into smaller pieces.

Using Watermelon to Train Cows

While some people may tell you that cows cannot be trained, the truth is they can be encouraged to do certain things with the promise of food.

Cows are extremely food motivated and they will often follow you to the ends of the earth if it means they get a treat. If your cows enjoy watermelon, you can use it to train the cows to eat from your hand without fear.

Over time, you can use watermelon to lure cows back into a pasture they have escaped from, move them to a new pasture, or get them to follow you into a small pen.

Normally, these tasks can be time-consuming and stressful, but the sight of a watermelon treat may be enough to make them move quickly to exactly where you need them to go.

Final Thoughts

Cattle owners across the world are constantly looking for low-cost supplemental foods for their cows to eat. Luckily, watermelon is a cheap but extremely healthy treat for cows and they usually love it!  Feeding your cows leftover watermelon is a great way to recycle your food as well!

Watermelon contains antioxidants as well as serves as an added water source for cattle. So, if you have some leftover watermelon laying around, feed it to your cows! They will love you for it!