Can Cows Eat Onions? Precautions and Benefits

Can Cows Eat Onions

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It’s quite surprising that onions do not even get hated for their pungent flavor. They are still a mandatory part of most of the dishes.

We have been eating onions both in raw and cooked form since the beginning of time. Frankly, no replacement has been found and we do not think we will ever find a replacement.

Onions, whether they are cooked or raw, do wonders for humans. This member of the Amaryllidaceae family contains anti-inflammatory properties.

It helps in decreasing triglycerides, reducing cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and protecting against blood clots.

For all these and a million other impressive reasons, onions might not get hated even because of their pungent flavor.

Besides satisfying our tastebuds it has also been serving us in a million ways. It’s quite fair to question if this rewarding vegetable is just as beneficial to our farm animals as well or not? Cows are one of the few farm animals that need a highly nutritional diet. They need a variety of food to produce healthy flavorful milk and meat.

Gone are days when cows are other farm animals used to survive on grass and grains.

Feeding such animals fruits and vegetables is a new trend that has taken the world by storm.

Surprisingly, the fruits and vegetables (that were made for humans) have affected milk and meat production favorably.

Since onions are our today’s subject of discussion, allow us to reveal whether the said vegetable is safe for the cows or not?

Can Cows Eat Onions?

No cows should not eat onions, Onions belong to the family of vegetables called Amaryllidaceae. Onions, leeks, garlic, chives, and other members of the said family should be left for human consumption only. Cows and no other farm animal should be eating it even as a treat at all.

Are Onions Safe for Cows?

No, onions are not safe neither for cows nor for any other farm animal. It is only safe for squirrels, raccoons, rabbits, groundhogs, moles, deers, snakes, slugs, snails, rats, and some birds.

Cows can not consume onions at all. Even the slightest quantity of the said vegetable would be harmful to this poor animal.

As per the experts, onions are highly toxic to cattle, horses, dogs, and sheep;
Onions are considered immensely harmful for a few domestic animals.

The animals are believed to be cattle, dogs, horses, and sheep. Cattle is a term we use for a few domestic animals collectively.

To be more specific, cows, bulls, oxen, and calves are collectively referred to as cattle. Since onions are addressed unsafe it can never be healthy for the said animal.


Why are Onions Harmful?

Onions have got a bad reputation because of a toxic principle called N-Propyl disulfide. According to the National Library of Medicine, N-Propyl disulfide breaks down red blood cells in the animal’s body leading it to anemia.

Anemia is a medical condition in which humans or animals do not have enough red blood cells to transport adequate oxygen to the part of the body. Weakness is the first sign of anemia.

So, onions are harmful because they can lead to onion poisoning and anemia. Both are the deadliest medical conditions to be in, however, if we compare both anemias is more alarming.

The entire onion plant is harmful

Leaves, onion flesh, and all other parts of the onion plant are a big no-no for cattle, horses, dogs, and sheep.

Feeding any part of the onion plant would not be good for the poor animal’s health. The other parts of the onion plant carry the same risk, so feeding flesh, leaves, and another part of the onion plant would be equally risky.

Let alone onions or the onion plant, all members of the said family is toxic

Garlic, leeks, shallots, and chives are the few worth-mentioning members of the family called Amaryllidaceae.

It’s just not the onions, the other members of the same family are also equally harmful. The reason reported to be is more or less the same.

Even the onion powder is not healthy

Onions in all shapes or forms are not good for your cow’s health. Even the onion powder that contains a noticeable amount of preservatives is not any less harmful. So, avoid onions in all forms at all costs.

Feeding in moderation would not help either

Most animals are not made to process and digest fruits and vegetables as a meal. This is the reason why fruits and vegetables are advised to be fed in moderation.

Onions are one of the few vegetables that can not even be fed in moderation as they would not do any good.

Onions can make the milk bitter

The food that an animal eat does not only impact the production of milk and the quality of meat. It can affect the flavor of the animal’s milk as well.

Even if onions do not cause onion toxicity or anemia, there are some solid chances that onions would make the milk taste bitter. So for the sake of healthy flavorful milk, onions should be avoided.

There are some healthier alternatives

If you want to add some fruit or vegetable to your cow’s diet, there are some healthier alternatives. Feed regular diet hay and alfalfa to cows. Instead of onions, apples, oranges, bananas, carrots, cabbage, molasses, cauliflower, watermelons rinds, and potatoes are what you should be feeding.

Our opinion?

Since onions are proven to be super harmful to cattle(cows, bulls, oxen, and calves), there is no point in considering it a healthier treat. We suggest you move on and find a better alternative like; apples, oranges, bananas, carrots, cabbage, molasses, cauliflower, watermelons rinds, and potatoes.


In brief, onions belong to a family of vegetables that are not safe not just for cows but bulls, oxen, calves, horses, dogs, and sheep as well. It should never be fed even as a treat in moderation.

The said most widely used vegetable contains N-Propyl disulfide, a compound that breakdown red cells in the animal’s body.

The inadequate red blood cells in human and animals bodies lead to anemia. Moreover, it can lead to onion poisoning as well. The entire onion plant is harmful, so it should not be fed at all.

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