The cow is a ruminant, which means that it belongs to a group of animals that are set apart from other mammals because of their complex digestive system. The abomasum, also known as the “true stomach”, is the last component of a cow’s stomach. This is called chewing cud. All ruminants, including cows, are characterized by spending about eight hours a day ingesting pasture or forage. Online quiz to learn Cow Digestive System; Your Skills & Rank. These folds are there to absorbs the water and nutrients from the feed that passes through after its second round of chewing. The microorganisms also pass from the rumen to the lower digestive tract, where the are digested and their constituent protein, vitamins and other nutrients are absorbed and utilized by the animal. Its only function is to provide storage and a transition between the two intestines. Digestive Tract Anatomy | Rumen Fermentation | Food Passage | Advantages and Disadvantages. This microbial protein is later digested and supplies the animal with needed amino acids. It has some independent functionality, and it is attached to the rumen with only a thin tissue divider. A cow’s digestive system consists of 6 components: mouth, esophagus, 4 compartment stomach, small intestine, cecum, and large intestine. When you compare it to the other parts, the abomasum is smaller and it takes up about 4% of the total stomach volume and only holds about 7 gallons of material. To aid in this process, cows regurgitate and re-chew food multiple times before it passes on to the rest of the digestive system … Goats are among…, Farming Base ( is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to The oesophagus is where the food is first brought into the system and at the end of the process, faeces (what is left over from the process) … In general, high roughage rations will contain a higher percentage of acetic acid whereas high concentrate rations will result in slightly higher levels of propionic acid. The rumen (paunch) The reticulum (“honeycomb”) The omasum (“manyplies”) The abomasum (“true stomach”) Small intestine. Horses’ lips are extremely tactile when it comes to consuming feed. It is caused by a negative energy balance, which occurs due to the growth of a calf, the beginning of colostrum production, and a decrease in dry matter intake. You can prevent these by managing and paying attention to cattle’s food and water intake. The next section is the jejunum. These compartments are the rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum, with the rumen being the largest compartment. The process of fermentation takes place in the rumen and the reticulum. Let’s explore how cows are able to eat grass. At the end of the ileum is a valve, which prevents any backward flow of materials. The composition of the volatile fatty acids produced in the rumen varies according to the different rations fed. In cow: Natural history. The best way to prevent fatty liver is to keep cows at an ideal body condition and encourage a low-stress environment, which includes avoiding sudden changes in their overall environment or feeding regimen. A large intestine is smaller in length but larger in diameter than the small intestine. It has about a two-gallon holding capacity. A cow is a ruminant, which means that it is set apart from other animals because of its complex digestive systems. The main digestive enzymes in cattle are salivary and pancreatic lipase, rennin, pepsin, trypsin, lactase and amylase. This will cause good bacteria to die off, toxins will be released, and the amount of collecting acid will continue to increase. They help the cow to digest and utilize nutrients in the feed. The cow's digestive tract consists of the following. It also helps eliminate any undigested and unabsorbed food from the system in the form of waste. They process food, absorb nutrients, and gain energy differently than other herbivores. Because there are so many stages in a cow’s digestive system, it is easy for many things to go wrong. The whole process starts in a cow’s mouth. There is continuous mixing of rumen contents as digestive tract muscles contract. Cows are quadrupedal. This grass then sits in the rumen and reticulum, which serve as storing units. Recycling materials in this way helps maintain the proper environment for the bacteria to live in. They can do this thanks to their peculiar anatomical and physiological system that carries out their digestion. Digesta can flow freely between the first two compartments, the rumen and reticulum. The time required for food passage through the digestive tract ranges from 1 to 3 days depending upon characteristics of the food and the specific nutritient involved. While the general digestive tract is the same for all birds, the size and shape of different organs, particularly the crop and gizzard, also vary for different bird species. Rumen Microbes. These by-products are absorbed into the blood and are used as sources of nutrients by the animal. What’s left of food can then go to the intestines. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to them. Acidosis is the result of an excessive breakdown of readily available carbohydrates. Fermentation by the rumen microorganisms give the ruminant animal several unique capabilities: 1. The ruminant digestive system is highly effective. As they grow, microbes manufacture microbial protein and store energy in their cells. The digestive system matches the food that the animal eats, and that’s why it shouldn’t come as a surprise that cows have 4 stomachs. 3. It is called “true stomach” because it operates the most similar to a non-ruminant stomach. The esophagus is Add to New Playlist. They work together to complete the digestive process. The key to this ability lies in the stomach. Rumen acts as a storage unit for eaten vegetation and forms balls of cud. Microbes themselves become an important source of food (particularly protein) for the cow. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to them. Wasted Protein and Nitrogen Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostics Laboratory, Texas A&M College of Agrculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Unlike the rumen, the reticulum holds only about 5 gallons of material. The cow has the stomach volume and properties necessary to assist with the microbial digestion. The glands are there to release hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes to help the abomasum break down feed and plant material even more. Loading ... Add to tournament . For proper development,…, Farming Base ( is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Some high quality proteins may be degraded, thus reducing the quantity of essential amino acids available to the animal. It contains enzymes that start the digestion process, breaking down the hard food and cellulose. Once a catalyst causes the ruminal pH to change to 5.5 or lower the rumen stops to move, which makes the afflicted cow decrease its food and water intake. The unchewed food travels to the first two stomachs, the rumen and the reticulum, where it is stored until later. This kind of stomach is essential for eating grass. It can occur as fast as 24 hours after going off feed and will not decrease on its own until the cow can retain a positive energy balance. The esophagus can move feed from the mouth to the stomach or from the stomach to the mouth. Give a nod to the game author. The process, which takes place in the front part of the digestive system and therefore is called foregut fermentation, typically requires the fermented ingesta (known as cud) to be regurgitated and chewed again. It serves for absorbing vitamin B12, salts, and any nutrients that passed through the jejunum. Just think about it, when dogs eat grass they throw it up, because they are unable to process it. Cows need a more complex digestive system so that they can digest the grass. A basic diagram of the digestive system of a cow. In this process, various microbial by-products of no value to the microbe, such as volatile fatty acids and B vitamins, are produced. Food that is left over will leave the abomasum and enter into the intestines. When the fermentation is done, the food goes on to omasum. Microbes in the cow’s digestive tract use a portion of the nitrogen and energy from the feed for their own growth and reproduction. A lot of things can cause it, including another illness, excessive or incorrect handling that causes the animal stress and too much concentrate, and not enough forage. Wählen Sie aus erstklassigen Inhalten zum Thema Cow Digestive System in … It only swallows grass without much chewing. The grass is mashed in this compartment. Diagnosing a reason for hemorrhagic bowel syndrome is hard because scientists have been unable to reproduce circumstances that cause HBS in cattle successfully. Waste Gas Production Most animals have only one stomach, and so do humans. Nonruminants must obtain essential amino acids directly form their diets. Esophagus. Classified as non-ruminant herbivores, horses’ digestive systems are a cross between a monogastric animal (like a dog or human) and a ruminant (like a cow or goat). This syndrome weakens the animal’s immune system and it can potentially result in death. Feed conversion and rate of gain in a ruminant are strongly affected by the type and number of microorganisms in the rumen. Illustration of milk, science, organ - 48928923 The entire digestion process takes between 1 and 3 days. Carbohydrates. Farming Base ( is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This heat of fermentation is a disadvantage in most instances. This is a tremendous factory. They are swept into the reticulum and there is a risk of them puncturing the stomach wall. 2. Gases are eliminated through eructation. The bacteria and protozoa do most of the digestion of feeds for the cow. (Heat and acid treatment to reduce protein solubility are currently being studied as methods of preventing degradation, thus saving the amino acids for use by the animal.) The digestive system consists of a set of organs that are responsible for processing and breaking down foods and liquids. The contents of a cow’s rumen should flow and move freely with decent hydration. If the cow doesn’t have sufficient water intake indigestible materials will likely pile up and compress within the rumen. Included are bacteria which digest cellulose, hemicellulose, starch, sugar, organic acids, protein and fat, as well as bacteria which produce ammonia or methane or synthesize vitamins. To prevent rumen impaction, make sure your cow has an access to clean water and pay attention to see if it’s drinking an average daily amount. Your digestive system breaks nutrients into parts small enough for your body to absorb and use for energy, growth, and cell repair. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to them. The main difference between cow and human digestive system is that cow exhibits a foregut fermenter digestion whereas human exhibits a simple monogastric digestion. When a cow is eating grass, it tries to eat as much as possible, so that it is not exposed to predators for a long time. Unsaturated dietary fat (soft fat) subjected to microbial action in the rumen is transformed to a hard or a saturated fat. The reticulum is also known as the “honeycomb” because the inner lining and its structure appear similar to a honeycomb. The ruminant stomach is divided into four compartments: the rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum. Undigestable material which will not be absorbed passes into the large intestines, where excess moisture is reabsorbed and form is given to what will become the fecal droppings. Are you a…, Farming Base ( is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Plant proteins not degraded in the rumen along with microbial protein are passed to the lower tract. Some of the larger food particles will be regurgitated, chewed again and reswallowed. The digestive system of cow and human comprises teeth, mouth, esophagus, stomach, small and large intestine. They process food, absorb nutrients, and gain energy differently than other herbivores. In feedlot cattle, acidosis usually leads to an erosion of the rumen wall and liver abscesses. The rumen also ferments food, providing the perfect environment for bacteria to break down grass and feed off all the resulting sugar. The human digestive system consists primarily of the digestive tract, or the series of structures and organs through which food and liquids pass during their processing into forms absorbable into the bloodstream. When the cow first eats, it chews the food just enough to swallow it. Its stomach includes the rumen or paunch, reticulum, the omasum, and the abomasum. The mixing action helps expose food to microbial action and pass digesta through the system. The last section is the ileum. Some of the resulting ammonia is recombined to form microbial protein. Feeding a cow, in fact, involves feeding the micro-organisms in her rumen. That is why the animal will continue to avoid any kind of intake. Rumen microbes can use the non-protein nitrogen. How does the digestive system of a cow work? Bloat results when fermentation gases are produced faster than they can be disposed of. This means that they have a different type of digestive system which is highly specialized for digesting plants that cannot be easily digested. Ammonia and organic acids are the end result of protein breakdown. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to them. This kind of stomach is typical for cattle, elk, sheep, goats, deer, giraffes, water buffalos, and camels. You can only break this cycle by successfully encouraging eating and drinking. The stomach will then further break down the feed. If this syndrome is not cured, the cow will most likely die. This means that their hooves are divided into two toes. It is the bacteria that digest the feed. Fatty liver is caused by excessive accumulation of fat in the cow’s liver. Protozoa species are known to vary with the type of diet, time of year and geological location. Game Statistics. Farming Base ( is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to To achieve efficient feed utilization and high milk yield, the bacteria must have optimal conditions. They perform food’s degradation by using a fermentative digestion, instead of using digestive enzymes. Like the stomach of monogastric animals, the abomasum secretes digestive enzymes which prepare digesta for absorption in the small intestines. Digestive System Comparison; Horse VS: Cow Horses grasp food using a combination of the lips, tongue and the teeth. Cud is big, non-digestible pieces of plant material that have to be regurgitated, chewed a second time, and swallowed before continuing through the process. This means that they walk on four legs. Cows technically don’t have 4 stomachs, they have only one, but it has 4 compartments. Its job is to absorb remaining water, and it has bacteria microbes that finish digestion and produce vitamins that the animal needs to grow and remain healthy. It can hold up to about 15 gallons of material. The small intestine consists of three sections, duodenum, jejunum, and ileum. Ideally, decreasing acetic and butyric acids and increasing propionic would lead to more efficient beef production. Animals with simple stomachs cannot use cellulose or non-protein nitrogen. The 4 parts of a cow’s stomach are the rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum. Cow Digestive System. The loss of ammonia in the digestive process is inefficient. The monogastric stomach is a pouch-like structure containing glands which secrete hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes. Normally, acetic acid would make up 60 percent, propionic 22 percent and butyric 16 percent of the total acid production. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to them. It has 4 distinct compartments, each with its specific function. In order to…, Farmstead vs Homestead: All the Differences, Top 15 Cattle Breeds That Can Make You Rich. Rumen microorganisms can manufacture protein form non-protein nitrogen. On the other hand, extremely low quality plant proteins may be upgraded during digestions to a higher quality microbial protein. Feeds broken down to their component parts during passage through the ruminant stomach are largely absorbed in the small intestines. Maltase and isomaltase, celliobiase, trehalase, elastase and carboxypeptidase are also present. Here are some of the most common problems that can occur. An adult cow will eat from 50 to 80 quarts daily to aid in digestion, but the amount will vary based on how much time it spends chewing. The ruminant digestive tract and the ruminant stomach are shown in Figure 1. Rumen microbes can use the non-protein nitrogen in the synthesis of microbial protein. Microbial Metabolism. Bacteria and protozoa have food value to the cow. Find the perfect Cow Digestive System stock photos and editorial news pictures from Getty Images. When the cow is full from this eating process, she rests. They have cloven hooves. Protozoa found in the rumen are larger than bacteria, and are classified according to cell morphology. Substances that are not processed turn into waste. 2. Carbohydrates in the diet also are degraded by rumen microorganisms (Figure 3). This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to them. Fun Fact Much like a cow, the hoatzin's unique digestive system relies on bacterial fermentation. Acidosis occurs in the rumen and it is a metabolic disease. In cattle and sheep, rumen microbes supply the digestive enzymes necessary for the breakdown of plant cellulose and hemicellulose. How does the digestive system of a cow work? Bloat and acidosis are cases of rumen malfunciton. The process of rechewing the cud to further break down plant matter and stimulate digestion is called rumination. However, under some conditions ammonia is lost, absorbed across the rumen wall and excreted in the urine. After sufficient time in the reticulo-rumen, digesta flows into the omasum. 13. This degradation and resynthesis process has advantages and disadvantages. The rumenis the largest, with a volume of 150–200 litres (40-50 gallons). Protein. Cows need to move their feed from the stomach to the mouth so they can regurgitate feed that wasn’t chewed well enough and chew it again. The combination of the pH imbalance and decreased intake results in acid collecting in the rumen, which then further discourages the cattle from eating and drinking. Rumen bacteria have been classified according to the type of food they utilize or the end products they producee. Health issues that can occur with the rumen are bloating, which happens when a cow can’t eradicate a buildup of gas, acidosis, and rumenitis, which happen when there is a high acid production due to low pH balance. This is a simple muscular tube that takes food from the mouth to the stomach. Once the cow finishes grazing and feels safe, it will regurgitate the grass from the rumen and chew it all over again. Through the action of these microbes, high-fiber feed sources become assets. The cow has a digestive tract that consists of six parts which are the mouth, esophagus, a complex four-compartment stomach, small intestine, cecum, and large intestine. There are no certain cures or prevention methods, but maintaining rumen health may decrease the chances of HBS from developing. Rumen microbes breaking down feedstuffs and reforming them generate heat. Total Points. In an adult cow, the entire organ can be up to 150 feet long and has a 20-gallon capacity. The 4 compartments of the stomach are the rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum. A four-compartment stomach, which includes. It is lined with small, finger-like projections known as villi. Digestive enzymes secreted in the abomasum break both plant and microbial protein into their component amino acids which are absorbed from the small intestines. Fermentation is when microorgani… Cattle can utilize roughages and other fiberous feedstuffs only through the action of microorganisms which are normally ingested on feed or obtained from other animals. Non-protein nitrogen compounds can be used by the ruminant in the production of microbial protein. End products of fermentation are continuously removed, either by eructation, by absorption across the rumen wall or by passage out of the rumen to the lower digestive tract. A cow is a ruminant, which means that it is set … The ruminant animal is unique because of the mutually beneficial symbiotic relationship that exists with the microbes living in its digestive tract. It is the only part of the stomach that is lined with glands. Before we look into a cow's stomach and its compartments, let's take a look at a cow's digestive system. The reticulum sorts out which food needs to be chewed and broken down again, and which can go on to be processed. Fermentation in the rumen is made possible by a very stable environment for microbial growth. Cattle are ruminants, meaning that they have a digestive system that allows use of otherwise indigestible foods by repeatedly regurgitating and re-chewing them as "cud". Each of these compartments has a vital role when it comes to digesting cow feed. The remaining food goes to the abomasum. There have been…, Farming Base ( is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to However, high acetate levels are desired for milk fat production. Digestion in cattle is similar to digestion in man and certain other animals, except that, in cattle, foods are first subjected to microbial fermentation in the reticulo-rumen. All of this causes the cow to break down too much fat for the liver to handle. The reticulo-rumen contains more than 30 percent of the total digestive tract capacity and most of the microbial activity takes place here. Omasum is a globe-shaped part of the stomach and it is also known as “manyplies” thanks to its internal structure. Once the feed is dissolved and all the proteins and minerals are absorbed, it is time for it to move to the next section. Combined with the reticulum, the rumen makes up about 85% of the volume of the entire stomach. If you don’t do anything about it, this cycle can compromise the intestine linings, which can lead to leaky gut syndrome. The digestive system of cows has been developed as a primary herbivorous system that specializes with the presence of rumen.