Can Cows Eat Cherries?

Welcome to our informative article on whether cows can eat cherries! As professionals in the field, we understand the importance of providing accurate information for livestock owners. Today, we will explore the potential risks and consequences of cows consuming cherries and shed light on the best practices to keep your cows safe from harm.

Key Takeaways:

  • Cows should never consume cherries or any part of cherry trees due to their toxicity.
  • Cherry leaves contain prunasin, which can be converted into prussic acid, a form of cyanide.
  • Even small amounts of wilted cherry leaves can be lethal to cows, causing rapid poisoning.
  • Proper prevention and removal of cherry trees are crucial to safeguarding your livestock.
  • Cows can safely enjoy other fruits, such as watermelon, apples, bananas, and carrots.

The Toxicity of Cherry Trees to Cows

Cows are at risk of cyanide poisoning if they consume any part of a cherry tree. This includes the leaves, seeds, bark, and foliage. The toxicity of cherry trees comes from prunasin, a compound found in the leaves. When damaged or wilted, prunasin is converted into prussic acid, a form of cyanide. Prussic acid acts rapidly in the body, leading to severe poisoning in cows.

The leaves of cherry trees are particularly dangerous to cows. Even healthy leaves can pose a risk if cows chew on them. Ingesting as little as one pound of wilted cherry leaves can be lethal for a 1200-pound cow. It’s crucial for farmers and livestock owners to be aware of this toxicity and take necessary precautions to protect their animals.

To minimize the risk of cyanide poisoning, it is recommended to remove cherry trees from areas where cows graze. This involves cutting down the trees and treating the stumps to prevent regrowth. Adequate feed should be provided to ensure that cows are not tempted to eat cherry leaves as a substitute. Additionally, implementing proper fencing and sequestering livestock during storms can help reduce the chances of cows accessing cherry trees.

Part of Cherry Tree Toxicity Level
Leaves High
Seeds Moderate
Bark Moderate
Foliage High

In conclusion, cows should never be allowed to eat cherries or any part of a cherry tree. The toxicity of cherry trees, especially the leaves, poses a serious threat to their health. It is essential for farmers and livestock owners to remove cherry trees from grazing areas and provide proper care and nutrition to their cows to prevent cyanide poisoning.

The Lethal Quantities and Symptoms of Cyanide Poisoning

Ingesting even small amounts of wilted cherry leaves can prove fatal to cows. Cyanide poisoning in these animals is fast-acting, with most succumbing to its effects within an hour after consumption. The lethal threshold for prussic acid, which is converted from prunasin found in cherry leaves, ranges from 2 to 2.5 milligrams per kilogram of the cow’s body weight. To put it into perspective, a 1200-pound cow would need to consume just over one pound of wilted cherry leaves to reach a lethal dose.

The symptoms of cyanide poisoning in cows are distressing and easily identifiable. Affected cows may exhibit rapid and deep breathing, excessive salivation, anxiety, convulsions, and ultimately collapse. It is crucial for livestock owners to be vigilant for these signs and take immediate action if they suspect cherry leaf ingestion. Time is of the essence in saving the animal’s life.

Table: Symptoms of Cyanide Poisoning in Cows

Common Symptoms Description
Rapid and deep breathing Cows may exhibit increased respiration rates and gasping for air.
Slobbering Excessive salivation and drooling may be observed in affected cows.
Anxiety Cows may appear agitated, restless, and display signs of distress.
Convulsions In severe cases, cows may experience muscle spasms and seizures.
Collapse Ultimately, cows may collapse and become unable to stand.

Understanding the lethal quantities and symptoms associated with cyanide poisoning is essential for livestock owners to recognize and address potential cherry leaf ingestion incidents promptly. By doing so, they can increase the chances of saving their cows from this life-threatening condition.

Prevention and Removal of Cherry Trees

prevention and removal of cherry trees

When it comes to protecting cows from cyanide poisoning, prevention is key. Removing cherry trees from the areas surrounding pastures is the most effective measure to ensure the safety of your livestock. Cutting down the trees and treating the stumps to prevent resprouting is recommended to eliminate the risk entirely.

In addition to tree removal, it is crucial to provide cows with access to adequate feed to discourage them from eating cherry leaves. Ensuring that their nutritional needs are met will minimize their temptation to seek out alternative food sources. This can be achieved by supplying them with a balanced diet that includes high-quality hay or pasture grass.

If cherry trees are present near pastures and cannot be removed, there are other preventive steps that can be taken. Good site selection, proper fencing, and sequestering of livestock during storms can help minimize the risk of cows consuming cherry leaves. It is also important to regularly inspect the grazing areas for any volunteer cherry trees and promptly remove them to prevent accidental consumption by cows.

By implementing these prevention measures, you can significantly reduce the chances of cyanide poisoning in your cows and ensure their well-being. It is crucial to prioritize their safety by actively managing the presence of cherry trees and providing appropriate feed to meet their dietary needs.


In conclusion, it is crucial to recognize that cows should not consume cherries or any part of cherry trees.

Cherry leaves, particularly when wilted or damaged, contain prunasin, which can be metabolized into prussic acid, a form of cyanide. The ingestion of even small quantities of wilted cherry leaves can lead to rapid cyanide poisoning in cows.

To protect our cows from this deadly toxicity, it is essential to remove cherry trees from areas surrounding pastures. By cutting down the trees and treating the stumps, we can prevent resprouting and eliminate the risk. Additionally, providing cows with sufficient and proper feed will discourage them from consuming cherry leaves.

While cherries and cherry trees pose a significant threat to cows, it is important to note that there are still plenty of safe and nutritious fruits that our cows can enjoy. Watermelons, apples, bananas, and carrots can all be safely included in their balanced diet.