Even though we humans can eat many things without worrying about our health, some animals need to be more careful. Popcorn is an example of perfectly safe food for humans, but what about cows—can cows eat popcorn?

Cows can eat popcorn in moderation, as long as it’s plain and has no added butter, oil, or high amounts of salt. Neither are these added ingredients healthy for humans nor cows. It’s okay for cows to eat popcorn as a treat rather than every day.

The rest of this article will discuss cows eating popcorn in greater detail. Be sure to keep reading if you want to learn more!

Can Cows Eat Popcorn Kernels?

Cows can eat popcorn kernels as well as popped popcorn. However, it’s not healthy to feed them whole kernels. You should grind the kernels to make them more easily digestible. Otherwise, they can cause gut issues and may affect your cow’s stomach.

Some farmers who grow popcorn may decide to feed their cows with leftover kernels that don’t meet quality standards. While this is an excellent way to prevent waste, you shouldn’t rely on popcorn kernels too often for your cow’s diet. One thing you could do is mix in some ground-up kernels with their regular feed.

Kernels can be a good source of vitamins and nutrients for cows. For example, popcorn kernels contain carbohydrates, and carbs are necessary for the health and well-being of lactating cows.

Kernels also contain the following, which are all crucial nutrients for a cow:

  • Protein
  • Vitamin B1
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B6
  • Iron

Can Cows Eat Salted Popcorn?

Cows can eat salted popcorn, but it’s best to feed them plain popcorn. Although salt is essential for a cow’s diet, salted popcorn is generally too salty and unnecessary. The best way to give a cow popcorn is to feed it the plain, uncooked kernels or plain popped popcorn.

Although it’s not the best to give a cow salted popcorn, it’s not the worst thing you could do. In many cases, people will cook popcorn with vegetable oil and butter, for example, and these should be avoided.

Vegetable oil and butter contain saturated fats, so it’s best not to feed these ingredients to cows in large amounts. 

Is Popcorn Healthy for Cows?

Popcorn is healthy for cows when served in moderation. One of the primary nutrients in popcorn is fiber, and fiber is essential in a cow’s diet. Popcorn also contains other nutrients vital for cows, such as carbohydrates and protein. 

Fiber is one of the most critical aspects of a cow’s diet because it maintains rumen function and the cow’s overall health. Luckily, grass contains lots of fiber, which is likely the main thing that your cow eats. But it’s always good to feed your cow added fiber, so popcorn is undoubtedly an excellent choice for this.

However, as already mentioned, it’s best to avoid feeding cows treated popcorn. You may be tempted to give your cow a treat of super buttery and salty popcorn, but you’ll be doing your cow more harm than good.

What Are Some Good Cow Snacks?

Although popcorn is an excellent cow snack, there are many other options to consider on top of that!

Some good cow snacks include fruit, such as apples and pears, and vegetables, such as carrots. This may not seem like much of a treat to humans, but it’s a highly satisfying treat for cows when compared with a grass diet. 

In fact, you can incorporate fruit and veg into your cow’s diet permanently rather than just as a snack. This is because they contain many healthy nutrients vital for a cow’s health, especially if your cow is lactating. 

However, you still would want to feed her fruit and veg in moderation because she’ll still be eating lots of grass and hay. If you give her too much fruit or vegetables, she is more likely to go into a negative energy balance. This is best avoided, so always incorporate new foods into the diet moderately.

Let’s look at some common fruits and vegetables and see how healthy they are for cows.

Feed Your Cow Carrots

Carrots are excellent for cows because they’re easily digestible and taste favorable. Not only that, but they’re also a great source of vitamin A, which is essential for cows to thrive. 

In fact, many farmers need to inject their cows with vitamin A supplements, so feeding them carrots could lessen the need to do this.

Offer Apples to Your Cow in Moderation

Apples are another excellent treat or regular food to feed a cow, but they are acidic. This means they can cause stomach upset in large amounts, so you should only provide a cow with apples in moderation. 

Additionally, you don’t want to feed your cow whole apples. It’s always best to cut it up so that it’s easily digestible and chewable for the cow.

Give Your Cow Sweet Oranges

Another treat that cows enjoy is oranges. Since a cow’s diet tends to be relatively mundane and bland a lot of the time, adding some sweet oranges every so often is a great way to spice things up! And unlike humans, cows can also eat the skins of the orange. 

They are a tasty treat for cows, but they’re also super healthy and contain lots of much-needed nutrients.

Include Pears in Your Cow’s Diet

Pears are yet another excellent choice for cattle feed. Like other fruits, pears are high in nutrients that a cow needs to be healthy. However, it’s important to note that pears are high in moisture. That means you should balance the diet with dry foods if you decide to feed your cow pears.


Cows can eat popcorn because it’s high in essential nutrients, including fiber, carbohydrates, and protein. These are all critical aspects of a cow’s diet. It’s best to give your cow popcorn kernels rather than cooked popcorn. Also, you should grind the kernels so that they’re easily digestible.

Popcorn is an excellent treat for cows, but other viable treats include apples, oranges, pears, and carrots. You can combine these with a regular grass diet and some popcorn. As long as you don’t overfeed your cow and give it popcorn in moderation, it should remain happy and healthy.

Additional Information On Animals Eating Popcorn

Are you curious about what animals can eat popcorn? Click here for an animal overview or click on an animal below to find out specific details:

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