Can Zebras Live With Cows? (Everything You Need To Know)

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Although it is uncommon, zebras can coexist with cows.

According to a researcher with the African Wildlife Foundation, when cows grazed shoulder to shoulder with zebra, they gained weight more quickly than when they dined alone.

Without a sure, they also had more fun, as zebras are more playful than cows.

Here are some reasons why zebra make excellent dinner companions: During the rainy season, grass grows rapidly and quickly becomes tall and “rank.” In essence, it becomes fibrous and unappealing to cows.

“The zebra lop that (shoot) off.” “This promotes the sprouting of new shoots from the base, which are more appetizing.

However, a word of caution. This is only true during the rainy season. During the dry season, the zebras actually eat the cow’s meal.

Do Zebras and Cows Get Along?

Can Zebras Live With Cows

Yes, they do. Generally, zebras are social creatures.

Zebras want companionship in the field, and a cow can provide such companionship. In the absence of other zebras, a lonely zebra will enjoy the companionship of a cow.

As you may recall from prior articles, zebras are frequently utilized to work with cows since they have a strong understanding of the cow.

The zebra may even attempt to play with the cow.

Unfortunately, the cow is not as bright as you may think. Therefore, it is far preferable to maintain another zebra nearby if possible.

Perhaps one of your neighbors also has a lone zebra, donkey, pony, or similar animal.

Naturally, they will get along better with your zebra than a cow will. However, a cow is preferable to no friend at all.

Generally, cows and zebras can be pastured together.

Although zebras like to live in harems, cows can make excellent companions. However, you must be vigilant for flies, as cows may attract horn flies, which may annoy the zebra.

Can They Be Fed The Same Things?

Zebras and cows are both herbivores.

For example, they will consume grass and other green plants. However, they did not always eat the same grass or even the same portion of the grass.

Zebras require grass with a low fructan content, but cows require grass with a high fructan content.

This is something to consider while deciding which grass to plant in your field.

Zebras may have difficulty digesting certain grass types because of their high fructan content. This can result in stomach troubles.

Often, cows are fed a grain blend that is inedible to zebras. In addition, the chemicals in cow food are toxic to zebras. It is even fatal for the zebra to begin consuming food intended for the cow.

As a result, you’ll need to establish certain procedures for fitting them independently.

They can both eat grass in the field but should not have access to one another’s food. As a result, you must bring them inside to feed them.

A cow’s stomach is quite distinctive. As you may know, they have a highly developed system that permits them to repeatedly chew the same food.

Unfortunately, this also means they can consume hay of inferior nutritional value and still benefit from it.

On the other hand, zebras require a rather high quality of hay.

This is because they have a more primitive digestive system that is actually the most human-like.

Because their digesting system is not as efficient as a cow’s, they require more expensive hay than the inexpensive stuff you can feed your cows.

Here is an article I wrote on do zebras eat fruits?

Do Zebras Protect Cows?

In a way, they can. Although it can be detrimental if the cows get in the way when the zebras are running.

Zebras are always on the lookout for danger. 

The herd is continuously looking for lions, hyenas, leopards, and cheetahs.

Plains zebras use a high-pitched call to alert the herd when they detect a predator.

And, at the very least, one member of the crew is always up and on guard at all times of the night.

Occasionally, the dominant male mountain zebra will make an audible noise to alert the rest of the herd to impending danger.

Finally, when a threat comes, a group of Grévy’s zebras will stick together in solidarity, even though they are not the most gregarious of the species.

Zebras can kick, bite, and shove predators to defend their herd and territory. So they should be able to notify you of impending danger.

Can Zebras and Cows Cross Breed?

There is no scientific proof of a crossbreed between zebras and cows.

So it is safe to say they cannot crossbreed even though they can mate.

They can mate because of their size and composition, but they cannot reproduce because of their genetics. However, they are capable of mating with other farm animals.

Zebras and cows are both members of the Equidae family, while cows belong to the Bovidae.

Unfortunately, zebras and cows can’t successfully crossbreed because their DNA is too different.

Also check out this article I wrote on how zebras protect themselves

Will Zebras Kill Cows?

Not exactly. But their kick can be deadly to cows. During a fight, if a zebra happens to kick a cow in the head, it can result in the death of that animal.

Are There any Environmental or Health Problems Keeping Them Together?

Before putting these animals in a confined space, consider a few things.

First, sarcoid tumors in zebras may be caused by bovine papillomavirus, a virus found in cows.

Warts, growths, and malignancies of the urinary and digestive systems are common in cows. In many cases, bovine papillomavirus is found in zebra sarcoid.

Some flies prefer cows, and your zebra will become a favorite meal for these flies. One of the most annoying “cow flies” to zebras, the horn fly, is an excellent example.


No offspring can be produced from the union of zebras and cows, but they can mount and mate in specific circumstances.

Both zebras and cows can mate with genetically more closely related animals.

It’s unnecessary to separate your zebras and cows if you see them mating, but it’s better to keep an eye on them just in case.

Photo of author

About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


HayFarmGuy - Get Info About Farm Animals in Your Inbox