Do Cows Really Have Four Stomachs?

Alex Williams
4 Min Read
  1. How many stomachs does a cow have?

    People who are not much aware of cows think that a cow has four stomachs. When people hear this, it seems unbelievable to them, and they get curious to know more about it. They are known as ruminates, which is why their digestive system becomes essential. Ruminates are mammals who eat plants for their living, and they are difficult to digest.

  2. Do cows actually have four stomachs?

    Well, the answer to this is the cows do not have four guts. The exact answer is they have one stomach with four compartments for better digestion of food. Their belly is absolutely different as compared to that of humans. The names of the four compartments are Rumen, Reticulum, Omasum, and Abomasum.

  3. Rumen

    This is the first compartment of the stomach where the food goes. It is the largest chamber of the stomach, which comes into contact with the bolus. It can hold nearly 50 gallons of food as it starts with the digestion process. This part contains different projections called papilla, which enables the absorption of nutrients digested by the rumen.

    When a cow eats, it does not chew the food thoroughly; instead, it just chews only to swallow it. Rumen gets the partially chewed food. Rumen has billions of bacteria, microbes, protozoa, enzymes, and digestive juices that help break down the food.

  4. Reticulum

    The food is passed on to the second compartment, the reticulum, and it is the chamber attached to the rumen. This compartment is also called a honeycomb. It is used for anything rogue that our hooved pals might have consumed while eating grass. It traps the objects which the cow might have picked up but shouldn’t, such as rock, metal, etc.

    It helps re-chew, regurgitate, and re-swallow the vital food, where the term chewing the cud. The food combines with saliva to compose tiny food bits called cud. When the cow nibbles the cud, it discharges saliva, which serves as an antacid in the rumen and enables better digestion. Now, the food is sent back to the rumen to break down more before transferring it to the other two compartments.

  5. Omasum

    It is the additional mechanical processing of feedstuffs that the animal consumed. In this compartment, the food is broken further and filtered. Additionally, it also absorbs the water. The water is consumed so that the water stays within the rumen as it needs it for maintaining proper rumen function.

    Its walls are made up of extending folds called laminae attached to the way pages are connected in a book.

  6. Abomasum

    It is called the actual stomach, and it functions in a similar way a human gut operates. Here the final digestion happens as the essential nutrients are taken and sent to the bloodstream. The remaining are sent along with the intestines. In abomasum, the stomach acid and digestive enzymes break microbial protein to release the small intestine’s nutrients for further absorption.

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