What Animals Eat Corn? (7 Examples + Pictures)

Last updated on November 4th, 2022

What eats corn? This is the question on everyone’s mind.

A zoologist friend of mine, while advising local farmers, told them to include corn in their farm animals’ diet to improve their health.

I was taken aback. Corn! I was always under the notion that corn is used to make cereals. But apparently, corn is one of the healthiest foods that you can give to farm animals.

Animals that eat corn:

  • Pigs
  • Horses
  • Sheep
  • Goats
  • Cattle
  • Chickens
  • Turkey

Corn is rich in carbohydrates, fats, minerals, and vitamins. According to my zoologist friend, farm animals need all of these to build strong bones and a healthy layer of fat.

So irrespective of whether the animals are being raised for their meat or milk, it’s necessary to ensure that they’re given excellent and healthy food to help them build a robust immune system which makes them less prone to illnesses.

Just as you need to provide your crops with beneficial fertilizers to improve productivity, this unique knowledge also helped me understand that several animals consume sweet corn.

List of animals that eat corn

1. Pigs

pig eating corn 19092021

Domesticated pigs are given a regular supplement of corn to help them maintain their bone health and improve their digestive health.

Corn is rich in iron, zinc, selenium, and magnesium. All of these minerals are necessary to help the pigs build stronger muscles while developing a robust immune system

Pigs are raised for their meat, and whether these are grass-fed, pasture-fed, or grown exclusively on the farmland, they’re often given corn as a part of their diet.

Pigs are heavy feeders, and it’s required to provide them with food of high calorific value. This allows the pigs to maintain their body weight, which is necessary to improve the quality of meat.

Whether the pigs are being bred for their lean meat with higher fat content, providing them with food that will help them maintain a healthy body weight is required.

One of the easiest ways of ensuring this would be to include corn in their daily diet.

2. Horses

horse eating corn cob 19092021

Horses bred for equestrian purposes are given a varied diet to improve the health of their bones.

These types of horses usually stand for a good part of their waking hours, which means they have to develop powerful leg muscles and strong leg bones.

To help the horses in building stronger bones, corn forms a part of their diet. But while giving horses corn, the size and breed of the horse must be considered.

Corn is a calorie-dense food that’s also rich in fiber and carbs, which means if the amount of corn given to a horse isn’t monitored, it can prove to be unhealthy for the animal. 

Farm horses that are bred and used on the farmland are often given ears of corn, and you’ll find that the animal loves to eat the entire cob.

A horse finds a sweet corn cob to be palatable because of its excellent taste and because it comes packed with nutrients.

Sometimes domesticated horses are allowed to graze on a cornfield after harvest to eat any remaining corn cob, corn husks, or the remnants of any corn plants.

The horses find corn to be nutritious and full of roughage to maintain their digestive health.

3. Sheep

sheep eating corn 19092021

Sheep are also heavy feeders, and to help them maintain their body weight, it’s essential to provide them with foods that are high in calories; along with that, sheep need to consume food that’s rich in minerals and protein, especially those bred for their wool.

A healthy diet full of vitamins and minerals will help the sheep develop a thick coat of wool.

Corn is also rich in fat which helps the wool rise from the skin of the sheep. This is necessary during shearing.

If the wool rises a little above the skin, the chances of the skin getting hurt are reduced.

Sheep are often fed corn cobs, dried corn kernels, and ensiled corn kernels. Sheep love the taste of sweet corn and find it to be highly palatable.

Many farmers mention that if the amount of corn given to sheep isn’t monitored, they’ll refuse to eat other food.

Hence, you should maintain the amount of corn given to sheep to ensure they get sufficient nutrition.

Sheep can also be given corn cobs as well as corn husks to help them get a good supply of roughage while helping them maintain their digestive health.

4. Goats

goat eating corn 19092021

Goats are another farm animal that loves to eat cracked corn kernels. But it would be best if you only feed corn to goats in small amounts.

Goats don’t have a robust digestive system, making it necessary to keep track of the food given to these animals.

In most cases, corn is often added to supplement the regular diet of goats raised on farms. Goats can eat entire corn cobs, but it’s always preferable to feed goats cracked corn.

Unlike sheep, they can’t properly digest all parts of corn cob, and farmers who want to make corn a part of the daily diet of their goats would need to feed them cracked corn.

You can occasionally feed a corn cob to your pet goat, but you should avoid doing so lest it develops any severe digestive problem.

You might find goats looking for corn in the wild, especially in farmlands where the corn has always been harvested.

In addition to light-feeding corn cobs to goats, you can also feed goats corn husks to help them get a good supply of roughage. 

5. Cattle

cow grazing in cornfield 19092021

Feeding cattle with corn is considered normal practice since cows prefer corn over hay or straw due to its higher digestibility.

Since corn is rich in starch and carbohydrates, it’s usually provided as a supplement to help cows maintain an excellent digestive system.

Corn also provides the necessary amount of starch that the animal needs to maintain its body weight.

You must have seen cows grazing continuously, primarily because they need to consume a large amount of roughage to maintain their body weight.

Along with that, they need to get a good supply of minerals and vitamins to help them develop a robust immune system.

Dairy cows need to be fed 2-6 kilograms of corn every day to ensure that the cow produces quality milk.

The starch content of corn ensures that the quality of milk is good and the health of the lactating cow is maintained.

6. Chickens

chickens eating corn 19092021

Farmers involved in poultry farming mention that chicken needs to be given a steady diet of corn kernels to ensure that meat quality is rich and milky.

The minerals and vitamins in corn ensure that the meat and the eggs have the same nutritional quality. 

Corn-fed chicken tends to be healthier, and meat has a higher protein and fat content than other types of chicken.

Corn has the macro and micronutrients that chickens need to build strong bones, muscles, and meat quality.

You’ll find that chickens with a steady diet of corn also produce better eggs than other chickens fed on a rice grain or fish diet. 

Yellow corn has xanthophyll and carotene, both of which are necessary for forming the shells of eggs and the yolk.

The distinctive yellow color of the egg is caused by the combination of these two chemicals.

Thus, corn seeds form a part of the combination of grains and other feed given to chickens in poultry farming.

7. Turkey

turkeys 19092021

Turkeys are heavy feeders, and they need to be provided food that’s rich in calories. Corn is one such seed that can give the bird the necessary nutrition and calories.

For the formation of eggshells, a turkey needs to consume a significant amount of calcium.

Similarly, they should have vitamins A, E, B, and C, to help absorb calcium. This is necessary for the formation of eggshells.

Corn has these vitamins and the required amount of carbohydrates to help the bird maintain its body weight.

A turkey has a significant amount of adipose tissue, and to ensure that it doesn’t lose this layer of fat during winter, it needs to consume a good amount of starch.

Farmers who raise turkeys often make corn a part of the regular diet of the birds to maintain their health and weight of the birds.

Another reason why farmers feed turkeys corn is to provide them with a steady supply of fiber. The high fiber content of corn can help the birds maintain their digestive health.

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