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Grain, including corn, barley, wheat, soybean, and rye, is an unnatural diet for cattle. Cattle have evolved to be able to efficiently digest a forage-based diet of grass and hay. When fed a grain diet, besides the benefits of increased weight gain before slaughter and boosting milk production in dairy cows, the bad often outweigh the good, as I mentioned above. When the bad outweigh the good, this means that a grain diet in cattle must be mixed with antibiotics and other additives to decrease the incidence of bloat and acidosis. When slaughtered, many animals that have undergone acidosis (acute and subacute) are found to have lesions or abcesses in their livers. Livers then have to be thrown away, as they are not suitable for food production. Trace amounts of antibiotics can also be found in meat from an animal that has been on a grain-fed diet.

Corn, which is quite high in starch, protein, and carbohydrates like many grains are, is considered a "hot ration" for cattle, and is digested very quickly in the rumen. This quick digestion is often too fast, resulting in maladies like acidosis and bloat. When any of these things happen, most often the animal goes down fairly quickly and dies just as fast. Acute acidosis is the main cause of death in many feedlot and corn-fed dairy cattle, and occurs when the body is overwhelmed with the spike in acid production in the rumen. Those that don't succumb to acute acidosis wander aimlessly around or cannot get up; after they are treated (with thiamine), they can also get what is called chronic acidosis, among other maladies like founder, bloat, and polio. Founder (inflamation of the laminae in the hooves) is often a precursor to acute acidosis, resulting in permanent lameness in the animal. Feed-tested bulls commonly have this problem more than any other animal on a grain-based diet. Bloat is another main cause of death and concern for cattle that have eaten a grain ration; bloat happens when protein digestion in the rumen goes hay-wire, resulting in froth or bubbles of gas that constantly build up in the rumen and are unable to be released through belching. It is often caused by feeding too much grain too soon, and if not treated quickly, the distended rumen, expanding all the time with the digestion of starch, protein and CHO, puts pressure on the lungs to the point where the animal suffocates and dies. Bloat is also found to be a precursor to acidosis. Polio (polioencephalomaladia) is a neurological disease that is often a result of a deficiency of thiamine. Thiaminase, an enzyme that breaks down and "uses" thiamine, is often put into high gear when the animal is digesting a high-grain ration which decreases the pH level in the rumen. Hence polio is also linked to acidosis in grain-fed cattle.

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13y ago
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13y ago

You certainly can feed sweet corn ("people corn") to cattle, but farmers don't because it doesn't yield nearly as much as field corn (dent corn). Most cattle feedlots operate on a tight enough margin that they need to feed the least expensive corn they can get, and that's not as cheap as it used to be.

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12y ago

It's a way to boost their energy demands and make them gain weight or produce higher-quality milk better. It could also be due to the fact that the grass is losing nutritional value and the cows need to be supplemented with corn. Additionally, cows that are "hard-keepers" or do not gain or produce well on grass need to be supplemented to keep up with their nutritional demands.

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12y ago

Here are nutrients of a cabbage: Protein, vitamins & carbo-energy. Too much carbo-energy for cows! They will go hyper-active!

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Q: Why shouldn't cows eat corn?
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Related questions

Why do you need to feed cows corn?

Cows do not eat corn in their natuaral diet. They eat grass. Cows are being fed corn because it is cheap and plentiful. Because corn is not a natural food for cows, they need help digesting it and are fed antibiotics to keep their digestion healthy.


Will cows eat long grass?

Cows will eat long grass. Haven't you ever heard, "The cow's in the corn?" Corn is a tall grass.


Do cows eat dried corn?

Yes.


Do cows eat grass and corn?

Yes.


What Grains do Cows Eat?

cows will eat any grain, but most cows eat corn


How many cows are forced to eat corn?

No cow is forced to eat corn. It's like candy to them.


What do cows in CAFOs eat?

Almost always corn.


Do cows goats and caribous eat corn?

Yes


What is the complete predicate in cows eat corn and other grains?

The complete predicate is "eat corn and other grains".


Do cows like the smell of pine?

Some may.But they shouldnt eat it they should avoid it. It can make them sick or hurt them.


Either grass what else cows and goats eat?

Cows eat corn, any grain, alfalfa and clover, and silage (either green corn stalks or other plant that is chopped into small pieces and fermented in a sealed environment).


If cows dont eat grass can they still make milk?

Yes, as long as they're still being fed. Cows on corn, corn silage and hay can still produce milk.