How does her cow’s stomach really work? exactly how does a cow digest food?

Cows have 4 stomachs. Cows throw up their food and also eat that again. Wait.. What? over there are tons of rumors out there around how your cow’s stomach works. It’s definitely different from exactly how ours works, however it’s not that complex and it’s not crazy.

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And no, your cow doesn’t have 4 stomachs.

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One of the most renowned dairy breeds in the joined States- the Holstein-Freisian, or Holstein for short.

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A ruminant’s digestive system works quite in different ways than ours.

Our stomach works by churning ours food and mixing it with acid and bile to break down what we’ve consumed so that our body can absorb the nutrients. Ours stomachs work in this means partially as result of the wide selection of foods that us eat. Cattle, however, just eat vegetation and their stomachs have come to be quite progressed to digest the vegetation.

The stomachs of cattle have four compartments-


When food beginning the cow’s stomach, the enters the rumen first, climate reticulum, then omasum, and lastly the abomasum before entering the intestines. Every compartment plays a different duty in the digestion of the food that animal consumes.

The Cow’s Stomach

Let’s walk v what happens to the food in each compartment that the stomach.

Food start the stomach via the esophagus, goes into the rumen, climate reticulum, then earlier into the mouth, down the esophagus and into the omasum and also finally the abomasum prior to entering the intestines.

The Cow’s Stomach: Compartment 1- The Rumen

The an initial stop is the compartment dubbed the rumen.

The rumen is unique since it acts favor a large holding tank that is filled through food and a huge bacterial population. The bacteria room there to breakdown a component of the plant called cellulose. Cellulose, or an ext commonly called fiber, is something the cannot be broken down by most organisms except bacteria. (This is part of why fiber aids in cradle health. You can not digest it, so the helps move things follow me in her digestive tract.)

The bacteria current in the rumen break down the cellulose in the tree matter. The bacteria malfunction the cellulose through a process called fermentation. This is a similar process to how yeast works. Several of the plant issue is damaged down, but not well sufficient to be totally digested.

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The Cow’s Stomach: Compartment 2- The Reticulum

The following stop is the reticulum.

The delusion is distinctive as well. This compartment allows the cow come regurgitate its food and also chew the a second time. Prior to you get too grossed out, it probably isn’t together nasty together you room picturing. Once you regurgitate food, the bad taste is due in large part come the huge amount of stomach acid that is in the food friend regurgitated. The rumen and reticulum perform not have actually acid in them, only bacteria, therefore again, it more than likely isn’t as negative to the cow as what you’re picturing.

If girlfriend watch livestock graze, you’ll an alert they constantly take it grass in and don’t stop to chew it like equines do.

They gulp down the grass whole. They perform this until they have actually filled the rumen up. Later, as soon as some that the partly digested grass provides its way into the reticulum, they start regurgitating it and chewing it.

This is what is described as “chewing the cud”. Often, cattle will graze in ~ the very same time and become complete at the same time. Lock all get comfortable, lay around and also begin chewing the grass lock consumed. This chewing helps to rest the food down into smaller piece so the the omasum and abomasum can start their part of digestion together well.

Many times cows will uncover a pretty shady patch come chew the cud in. Read about silvopasture come see exactly how you can provide your cow much more shade come chew her cud without sacrificing pasture.

The Cow’s Stomach: Compartment 3- The Omasum

Once the cow has actually chewed the food again, the food is happen on to the omasum. Water and some that the nutrient that have actually been damaged down previously can begin to be soaked up in the omasum.

The omasum actually has so many folds within of it that it is often compared to the leaves of the Bible. If you to be to open up the omasum, friend would see folds ~ above folds of thin tissue. There are so many folds the the omasum is actually quite hard.

Food the needs more digestion move onto the abomasum.

The Cow’s Stomach: Compartment 4- The Abomasum

The abomasum is thought about the “true stomach” in ruminant animals. This compartment works very an in similar way to just how our stomachs work.

The stomach has a big amount of acid and also bile the breaks down the food even further. Some of the bacteria cell that damaged down the cellulose in the rumen will make it to the abomasum. Bacteria cells are broken down and digested too here as well.

The abomasum, similar to the omasum, is a website for some nutrient absorption. Food the is left over will leave the abomasum and enter into the intestines.

The ruminant digestive mechanism is extremely effective.

Consider the difference between horse droppings and also cow ‘patties’. In horse manure, you deserve to still watch pieces that grass or corpuscle of grain. The manure has texture and pieces that have the right to be seen v the naked eye.

When you to compare this to cow manure, the difference is quite large. There room no corpuscle or piece of grass leftover in the manure since they have actually been broken down come a much greater level 보다 they would certainly have remained in the horse.

If you are interested in maintaining a dairy cow on your farm, climate look end my post about the dairy breeds of cattle.

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You deserve to see leftover piece of grass in the equine manure.

No pieces of grass here!

I hope this helps you understand just how your cow’s digestive system works. So next time you view a herd of cows lie in a field, chewing their cud, you know what they room doing!

Remember, cows have actually ONE stomach, 4 compartments!