Corn is versatile food many animals love – humans included!
You might even notice corn in your horse feeds but do your cows feel the same?
Can cattle eat deer corn, and does it offer them any benefits?
Farmers can include deer corn in the diet of cattle. Since corn is full of starch and low in protein, it’s best used as a supplement to their diet rather than as a total replacement for cattle feed. These farm animals can eat almost the whole plant, including the stalks and kernels.
If you want to know how your cattle might feel about some deer corn in their diet, keep reading!
We’ll take a moment to answer all your questions.
Will Deer Corn Hurt Cows?
No, reasonable amounts of corn aren’t likely to hurt your cows.
The general rule of thumb is to only give your cows up to 0.25% of their body weight in corn as part of their diet.
Any more corn in their diet can cause problems with digestion.
Still, you will likely run into problems if you overfeed your cows’ corn.
This can include stomachaches from immediate overeating and bloating.
While it isn’t the same for every cow, bloating can occur when cows eat too much corn before they can fully digest it.
This can lead to bacteria sitting in the bloodstream, potentially causing problems with the liver.
As we said, though, giving reasonable amounts of corn to cattle won’t cause a problem.
Your cattle will love corn as an occasional treat or as a supplement to their feed.
Corn is also often praised by cattle farmers for how good it is at bulking cattle up.
This makes them a staple in beef cattle diets as farmers work to get them to their market weight.
What Kind of Corn is Fed to Cows?
Field corn is the most common choice for a cow’s diet.
It’s so popular among them that you might also hear it called cow or cattle corn.
Cattle corn is a little different than the sweet corn you might have at the dinner table.
In taste, you might not enjoy field corn as much.
This starchy corn is low in sugar, so you won’t have the same flavorful bite at your cookout.
When you see it in the field, cattle corn is taller than sweet corn.
It’s also identifiable by its thick leaves and has a strong aroma deer and cattle love.
This is why field corn is often used as deer corn too.
There’s a difference in how farmers harvest these types of corn.
While sweet corn is harvested right when it’s ready, field corn is left to dry as mature corn on the stalk.
Since the majority is used for purposes like cattle feed, this makes large amounts of corn processing methods easier.
Field corn is also commonly used as deer corn.
Can Cattle Digest Whole Corn?
One of the big questions is whether to opt for whole corn or ground corn.
When it comes to digestion, your cows can digest whole corn.
This leads some farmers to choose whole corn over the investment of grinding corn.
Still, there are times grinding or rolling corn is the best choice.
The University of Michigan once suggested that grinding can help in both low and high-moisture corn.
They advise corn with a moisture level of around 14-16% won’t benefit much from grinding.
Above or below this level, though, grinding can help make the corn more digestible.
High-moisture corn also helps increase gains as part of beef cattle diets.
How Do You Keep Cows from Eating Deer Corn?
Given how much cows love deer corn, it’s understandably hard to keep them away sometimes.
As mentioned, eating too much at once can lead to illness in cattle.
You may not want to use your whole supply on your cattle.
So, how can you keep them out?
One measure to take is to feed your cows away from the corn.
This is in reference to where the corn grows, its storage area, and where you spread it for deer.
This way, they’re less likely to go after deer corn spread elsewhere.
Another option is to turn to a fencing panel called a cattle panel.
Farmers use these to deny cattle direct access to an area.
You’ll still want to position the feeder at least a few dozen feet away from the corn to avoid temptation.
Further Reading: Cow fences and how high cattle can jump
Another option is to not use deer corn for purposes other than feeding your cattle.
Some farmers recommend a deer corn alternative for deer to avoid enticing cattle in the first place.
Some choose to use a deer corn alternative such as soybeans, acorns, apples, or even other grains.
Some farmers also opt for animal repellant to deter cows, but this doesn’t always work out the way they might hope.
This can deter cows and any other animal it attracts.
This includes deer.
Plus, it often only lasts a few days, meaning it’s a process you’d have to frequently repeat to see any effect.
What Animals Are Attracted to Deer Corn?
Another common problem is there are so many animals who love deer corn.
So, when you lay it out, you may have more animals to contend with than just deer and cattle.
After all, to give deer access to it, you offer potential access to various creatures.
A pile of deer corn can attract many small rodents such as mice and squirrels.
You might even see a raccoon or two.
Unfortunately, it can attract a predator animal as well.
Bobcats, coyotes, and even foxes are huge fans of deer corn.
Other livestock, such as horses and goats, also enjoy deer corn.
Will Cows Mess with Deer Feeder?
Deer feeders are a common choice for additional storage for deer corn while you wait for deer to eat it.
Unfortunately, you’re probably going to have problems with cows messing with your deer corn feeder if they can reach it.
It’s not uncommon for cows to knock down a feeder or other small unit of storage to access the food inside.
Because of this, many farmers work to keep deer feeder corn far from cattle with the methods discussed earlier.
Most commonly, this includes fencing feed storage and feeders.
Otherwise, your cows may not care if you didn’t intend the deer feeder to feed corn for cattle.
Related Reading: Will soybeans kill cows?