I just bought some land with a few fruit trees on it, mostly peach and plum, and I'm wondering if I should put up a fence around them to keep my future dairy cow from eating the fruit. Being ruminants I would assume they would just eat grass and not care about the fruit, but I want to be sure. It's going to be a large investment to put up fencing around them, so I'd rather not unless it's necessary.
I can only speak from my experience....yes, Daisy LOVES our Plum trees. We haven't let her around the apple trees, but have no doubt that since she likes Apples, she wouldn't hesitate to chomp on the tree branches.
I will say, she has not 'stripped' our trees the way the goats/sheep do. She just 'trimms' the branches she can reach, so we have that nice trimmed tree look year round with the trees she can reach. She didn't do any permanent damage at all.
In fact, since she has been where the Plum trees are, the fertilization she left gave us the BEST Plum crop we have had out of 7 growing seasons in this house!!!!
Post by simplynaturalfarm on Jan 8, 2007 8:10:38 GMT -5
I haven't had as much positive experience as Rena with cows and fruit trees. Mine ate all the branches they could when they got out, rubbed up against them, licked bark and in general wreaked havoc til I realized they were out and eating apple, cherry, plum trees and fruit bushes. My horse loved raspberry canes (and the sheep then finished them off), and the chickens would eat anything within reach I learned the garden and fruit either got fenced or the animals were locked up Heather
Cows LOVE apples and pears and all parts of apple and pear trees. They also will eat citrus fruit (we are in CA), which makes the milk taste really strange. Everyone's (sheep and cattle) favorite seems to be rosebushes, though.
We have peach trees next to the cow pasture and needless to say, the girls decided that peaches were good! We had to keep picking them up off the ground so the cows wouldn't eat them as we didn't know if they were good for them or not.
I swear they just stood there and waited for a peach to fall so they could stick their heads underneath the fence and snatch it!
Oh yes. And blue spruce, maple, apple, plum, pine and other kinds. It might be OK if you trim the branches up above head height, or just live with the fact that your bottom branches are going to be chewed silly. Of course, if they're dwarf trees, kiss them goodbye. My cows chew because they're bored. Of course, the pine trees make their coats smell nice as they browse through them.
As far as fruit goes, Gwen will eat apples until she explodes. Carrots too.
This spring, I'm going to have to electric fence the vegetable garden. Otherwise, it's going to look like Iraq when they get through with the newly planted veges.
In Normandy they used to put special harnesses on the cows when they put them in the orchards to graze. They prevented the cows from lifting their heads to pull down branches and damage the trees. But this was done in established cider apple orchards. On young trees without mature bark they will strip the bark off and kill the tree that way. Every part of an apple tree tastes good to most livestock. I assume a peach tree would be equally appetizing.
1 cow, Daisy the Jersey/Highland cross
Small vegetable farm in NY
This book is intended as an inspirational manual for keeping a family milk cow. A lifetime of practical experience has been bound into one volume. Practical advice for the everyday and procedures for cow emergencies. Plus, answers to FAQ's like, 'Should you get a cow?' and 'How Much Space do I need?'