Can Cows Eat Potatoes?

A cow’s diet is made up of a majority of hay and grass. These foods are what cows need to stay healthy. What if you want to give them some potatoes to eat?

Can Cows Eat Potatoes

Yes, cows can eat potatoes. Potatoes are a good source of energy, carbohydrates, and some essential nutrients for cows. However, you should cook the potatoes first before feeding them any. Raw potatoes contain solanine, a poisonous chemical that can cause digestive difficulties and even death in cows if taken in sufficient numbers.

Are There Any Risks For Cows Eating Potatoes?

Like most foods, potatoes do pose some risks for cows.

One of the main concerns is overfeeding cows with potatoes. Potatoes are high in carbs, which can cause digestive issues and bloating in cows if consumed in excess. This is especially true if the cows are not used to eating potatoes and consume large amounts all at once.

Another concern is the presence of solanine in raw potatoes. Solanine is a toxic compound that can cause digestive issues, weakness, and even death in cows if consumed in large enough quantities. For this reason, it is important to ensure that cows only eat cooked potatoes and that any green or sprouted potatoes are discarded.

Benefits Of Potatoes For Cows

Potatoes are packed with vitamins and minerals that your cows can benefit from. Here are some potential benefits of feeding potatoes to cows:

1. Source of energy: Potatoes are high in carbohydrates, which can provide cows with a quick source of energy.

2. Palatability: Cows generally enjoy the taste of potatoes, which can help to increase their feed intake.

3. Digestibility: Cooked potatoes are highly digestible and can be a good source of easily digestible carbohydrates for cows.

4. Affordable: Potatoes can be a relatively inexpensive feed option, especially if they are sourced locally.

5. Reduces waste: Feeding potatoes that are not suitable for human consumption to cows can help to reduce food waste.

6. Alternative to traditional feeds: Potatoes can be used as an alternative feed source when other feeds may be limited or unavailable.

Can Cows Eat Potato Leaves

While cows can eat potatoes, including the leaves, it’s important to note that potato leaves contain a toxic compound called solanine. Solanine can cause digestive issues, weakness, and even death in cows if consumed in large enough quantities.

For this reason, it’s generally recommended to avoid feeding potato leaves to cows. If you have potato plants in your pasture or feeding area, it’s important to keep the cows away from them to prevent accidental ingestion of the leaves.

Instead, it’s best to stick with feeding cows cooked potatoes that are safe for them to eat.

Can Calves Eat Potatoes

Calves can consume potatoes, but only if it’s cooked first.

Potatoes can be a good source of easily digestible carbohydrates and energy for calves, but they should not be the only feed provided.

When feeding potatoes to calves, it’s recommended to cook them first to improve their digestibility.

How To Feed Potatoes To Cows

When it comes to feeding potatoes to your cows, there are several methods of doing so. Here are some common methods:

1. Whole potatoes: Simply feed whole potatoes to cows as a treat or supplement to their regular feed. This method works best for small herds or individual cows. If you do choose this option, make sure there are no green colors on the potatoes.

2. Chopped or sliced potatoes: Chop or slice potatoes and mix them with the cow’s regular feed. This method works well for larger herds and can help ensure that each cow gets an equal amount of potatoes.

3. Cooked potatoes: Cook potatoes by boiling or steaming them before feeding them to cows. This can help improve their digestibility and make them more palatable to cows.

4. Potato puree: You can mash or crush a lot of potatoes to make puree if you have a lot of them. Cows can be given this puree as a supplement to their normal meal.

How Often Can Cows Eat Potatoes

The quantity and caliber of other feeds available, as well as the total nutritional requirements of the animal, will determine how frequently potatoes are fed to cows.

In general, cows can have potatoes as a supplement to their usual feed once or twice each week.

It’s important to remember that cows shouldn’t eat potatoes exclusively. This root vegetable doesn’t have all the nutrients necessary for healthy growth and development.


As you can see, cows can eat potatoes and they can benefit a lot from eating them. Just make sure that it’s cooked thoroughly first so the toxin is removed from the potatoes.

Leave a Comment