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Transcript of Cow Digestion
Adult cows eat 100 pounds of food and drink 50 gallons of water a day. That would be like eating 480 hamburgers and drinking a bathtub full of water. That's a lot!
Cows have 32 teeth.
On the top, front they have a pad of skin called the dental pad with incisors lining the bottom. On the sides of their mouth they have 6 molars on the top and bottom.
The food goes down the esophagus into the first part of the stomach called the rumen. The rumen is the largest compartment, holding up to 50 gallons of food.
From the rumen, the food travels to the second compartment, the reticulum. Here, the food is formed into balls called cud which are no bigger than a tennis ball. Cows will regurgitate or burp this up and re-chew it. This is called "rumination" or the re-chewing of the food.
The omasum is the third compartment of the ruminant stomach. Once the cow is finished chewing her cud, it goes here to be ground up and softened some more. It soaks up to 70% of the water that comes through this compartment.
The omasum pushes food into the last part of the stomach.
This is the fourth and final compartment. It's also called the true stomach because this is where digestion actually takes place. Acids help to digest the food even more. The abomasum is just like our stomach.
What is a ruminant animal?
Cows spend over 6 hours a day eating and are fed up to 8 times a day. They eat forage. Forage is wheat, barley, oats, corn, legumes which is hay, and grass.
A ruminant animal is an animal with one large stomach with 4 compartments. Some ruminant animals would be cows, deer, sheep and goats to name a few.
We are going to look at cows.
What the Reticulum looks like
The Small Intestine
The small intestine is a tube from the abomasum to the large intestine.
A lot of the digesting also happens in the small intestine. It soaks up nutrients and water too.
Cows use their tongue to tear grass with their bottom teeth. The grass is chewed very little before being swallowed.
The reticulum is also called the 'honeycomb" because it catches objects that cows may accidentally eat like wire, rocks, nails and other pieces of metal.
Once it catches those objects, they stay there for the life of the cow.
The temperature inside the rumen is 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Once there, the food is mixed, moistened, and softened while bacteria begins to breakdown the food.
The rumen is also called the paunch.
The Large Intestine
From the small intestine, the food moves to the large intestine where any undigested food becomes manure or poop.
This is what the inside of the rumen looks like!
Cow Digestion Review
After the Intestines
Once the food has gone through the large intestine, the waste is stored in the Anus and leaves the cow as "manure" or poop.