Types of Fodder Provided to Cows in Gaushalas

Gaushalas (or Goshalas) play a crucial role in preserving and nurturing cows, which are considered sacred animals in many cultures. Providing proper fodder to cows is essential for their well-being and productivity. These gaushalas house cows rescued from the streets, old age homes, and those abandoned by their owners. The availability of diverse fodder options ensures that these stray cows receive a balanced and nutritious diet. This article delves into various kinds of fodder provided to cows in gaushalas, emphasizing their nutritional benefits and overall impact on the health of these gentle creatures.

1. Green Fodder

Green fodder, consisting of fresh and succulent plants, serves as a staple diet for cows in gaushalas. Common green fodder includes:

Green grass cutting at our gaushala

1.1. Grasses: Grass is widely used by gaushalas due to their high nutritional value. Grass is rich in fibre, proteins, and vitamins.

1.2. Leguminous Fodder: Leguminous plants like alfalfa, clover, and berseem provide an additional source of protein, minerals, and vitamins. These plants are valuable for maintaining overall health of stray cows living in gaushalas.

1.3. Maize Fodder: Maize plants, when harvested at the early stage, offer a nutritious and easily digestible feed option for cows. It is rich in energy and nutrients, making it an excellent choice for cows in gaushalas.

2. Dry Fodder

Dry fodder is an integral part of the diet, especially during the non-growing seasons. Some common types of dry fodder are:

2.1. Hay: Grass, legumes, or other crops are harvested, dried, and stored as hay. It provides a concentrated source of nutrients and roughage. Timothy hay, clover hay, and alfalfa hay are commonly used in gaushalas.

2.2. Straw: Straw, a byproduct of cereal crops like wheat, rice, and oats, serves as a cost-effective source of roughage in gaushalas. However, its nutrient content is relatively low, so it is often mixed with other fodder.

2.3. Silage: Silage is a fermented feed made from green fodder, such as maize, sorghum, or oats, stored in an airtight condition. Silage retains its nutritional value and is a good option during the off-season or in areas with limited grazing land.

Silage delivery

3. Concentrate Fodder

Concentrate fodder provides essential nutrients to supplement the cow’s diet and maintain proper body condition. Some popular options include:

3.1. Grains: Cows are provided with grains like barley, corn, oats, and wheat as concentrates. These grains are rich sources of energy, protein, and essential minerals.

3.2. Oilcakes: Oilcakes, a byproduct of oilseed processing (e.g., groundnut, soybean, mustard), are protein-rich concentrates that aid in improving overall health.

3.3. Mineral Supplements: Gaushalas ensure that cows receive appropriate mineral supplements to meet their nutritional requirements. Minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium are crucial for bone health and overall well-being.

4. Nutritional Considerations

Maintaining a balanced and nutritious diet is vital to the health of cows in gaushalas. Gaushala authorities and veterinarians carefully consider the nutritional aspects of the fodder provided:

4.1. Protein Content: Protein is essential for muscle development, milk production, and overall growth. A balance between protein-rich green fodder and protein supplements is crucial for the cow’s well-being.

4.2. Energy Levels: The energy requirements of cows vary depending on their age, weight, and lactation status. Providing adequate energy in the form of grains and concentrates is necessary for maintaining optimal body condition.

4.3. Vitamin and Mineral Supplements: Cows need an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals for their metabolic functions. Vitamin A, D, E, and minerals like calcium and phosphorus are particularly crucial for their health.

4.4. Water Availability: Access to clean and sufficient water is indispensable for cows to digest their fodder and stay hydrated, especially during hot weather.

5. Seasonal Variations

Fodder availability can fluctuate with changing seasons. Gaushalas adopt strategies to manage the variations:

Cows grazing at our gaushala

5.1. Rainy Season: During the rainy season, green fodder is abundant, and efforts are made to conserve excess green fodder as silage or hay for use during lean periods.

5.2. Summer Season: The summer season can lead to reduced green fodder growth. Gaushalas plan for this by maintaining fodder banks or arranging for supplementary sources.

5.3. Winter Season: In colder regions, green fodder growth may decline. Gaushalas ensure an adequate supply of dry fodder, including straw and hay, to meet the cows’ nutritional needs.


The combination of green fodder, dry fodder, and concentrate feed ensures that cows receive a balanced diet, promoting good health. By embracing the diverse array of fodder options, gaushalas play an integral role in upholding the sacred bond between humans and cows while ensuring their well-being.

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