Cow digestive system


A cow is a very valuable and common animal in the household and on farms. It is grown in order to obtain milk and meat. For high productivity, the cow should be fed properly and well. To avoid problems with the digestive system, it is important to know the structure of the stomach of the cow and the reasons for his stopping his work, which often happens. Read about it in the article.

Digestive system

The cow is a herbivore, the stomach of which in the process of evolution has adapted to the digestion of food with a high content of plant fibers. At the same time with the organs, the bacteria whose habitat is the digestive tract evolved.

Microorganisms have developed their own ecosystem of protozoa, fungi and bacteria, which perfectly coexist with their host. For example, in the initial part of the cow's stomach (rumen), various types of bacteria and protozoa live in large numbers. The first has 60 items, the second - 30. The composition of the digestive system of a cow includes the oral cavity, the esophagus, the intestines and the stomach.

How does the stomach work?

Many people are interested in how many cows have stomachs? Some believe that four. But it is not. The organ is the same as in other animals, but it has a complex structure. The cow's stomach, according to the anatomical structure, has four sections, but the gastric juice is only in the latter. The first three chambers are intermediate points where the preparation and fermentation of food that the cow has chewed occurs. Do not be surprised about the number of sections of the stomach. All of them are very important, and each performs its function, because the animal allocates 100-200 liters of saliva per day, which should have storage space.

Digestion is a slow process. A cow can chew on food for six to eight hours before it is in the stomach. Here the food eaten is a few hours or more than two days, it depends on the amount of cellulose contained in the food.

This is the first, or initial, section of the cow's stomach, it is the largest in size. All that she ate, and this is practically unpewed food, it falls here. The initial section of the stomach of a cow stores 80% of the volume of all food eaten. In general, it holds 150 kg of feed.

The walls of the initial section of the stomach of the cow are quite thick, so they are not affected by hard pieces of vegetable food, which the cow badly chewed. At intervals of once per minute, the walls are reduced, mixing the grass for uniform distribution of enzymes. At the same time, hard stems are pounded, softened.

The main condition for keeping a cow is herding. Eaten grass at this time is located in the initial section of the stomach of the cow. But after grazing, the food begins to burp out in small portions and chew on the animals again. This mass is called chewing gum. Softened under the influence of enzymes, it is carefully rubbed by the teeth and again swallowed by the cow. But already in another department of the stomach, in the book.

The walls of the rumen are covered with small growths. Their task is to absorb as much nutrients from food as possible, which are the product of the fermentation process, which is carried out with the participation of saliva and a huge number of bacteria that are useful for the body. Their number is 150 billion.

Among the sections of the stomach of the cow, the second is a grid consisting of a plurality of cells. This is one of the smallest departments (up to 10 liters in volume), connected with the scar. This continues processes such as digestion and fermentation. The walls of this department have strong muscles, which are capable of mixing the contents of the stomach, facilitating another process - the fermentation of nutrients. The grid, like a lattice, does not allow large stalks to pass further, to the location of the more tender parts of the stomach, which can be hurt by coarse food.

The first time the chewed food, located in the rumen, regurgitates, again enters the oral cavity for further grinding by the teeth. This occurs when coarse, difficult to digest for bacteria cellulose fibers in a certain amount accumulate in the stomach. But if there are large particles in the food, the grid delays them for 20-48 hours. During storage in this section of the stomach, its contents are completely modified. Food becomes suitable for further grinding before it enters the next department.

This section, which is considered the third in the stomach, receives chewed food. Here is the absorption of water, fatty acids and other substances necessary for nutrition. This department is small, it holds 5% of the feed eaten, which is 20 liters by volume. Here, chewed chewing gum is processed further thanks to potent bacteria and aggressive enzymes that are in this department.

One of the sections of the stomach of a cow is rennet. It is designed to perform a large number of functions. Its capacity is 15 liters of food, which is finally prepared for digestion. This section performs the function of a regular stomach. Here, the food that has undergone a fermentation process in the first three sections is digested due to the action of the acid and the enzymes of the animal itself.

How many cow stomachs? The animal has one organ, but its structure is complex. In the last section comes the feed in dried form, which is mainly absorbed while in the book. The rennet of a stomach of a cow is similar in structure to a human organ. Its walls have a large number of glands that secrete juice, which is called gastric. Here the biggest indicator of acidity, compared with other departments.

In the abomasum, the food is finally split. After the prepared mass enters the intestine, from the small particles all substances necessary for nutrition will be absorbed into the body. In the intestine, the absorption process is much more intense. From the moment food gets into the stomach and until it is fully digested, it takes two to three days.

The digestive system of a cow is complex. Burenka must constantly eat. There should be no breaks between feedings, otherwise the health of the animal is endangered.

Why does the stomach stop at the cow?

The most common reasons why the stomach refuses to work are the following:

  • Feeding low-quality food, which is totally unacceptable. The food must be fresh and well chopped, otherwise when injected into the esophagus the cow feels discomfort, there is a stagnation in the intestine. If the animal is given vegetables, they need to be grated or chopped with a knife. When fed with corn, it should be cleaned. With regular malnutrition, a cow during feeding swallows food quickly and in large portions, which leads to the stopping of the stomach.
  • The reason for stopping the organ can be a sudden startle, during which the esophagus narrows. It can also occur if a cow has leukemia, tuberculosis, or neurological disorders.
  • The stomach may stop if the cow has swallowed a foreign object of solid consistency, for example a stone, a nail.

Stopped the stomach of a cow - how to run?

If the cause is a foreign object in the esophagus, you can handle it yourself, without the help of a veterinarian. To do this, the cow should be tied to a tree and a wedge inserted between the teeth so that the jaws do not close. Then wrap the hand with a towel and get the item.

This can be done using a probe that is inserted into the animal's esophagus. A swallowed object is easily pushed. In order for the probe to pass freely, any vegetable oil should be poured into the pharynx. You can pour water at the same time. If the probe was not at hand, you can use a rubber hose with a diameter of not more than 3.5 cm, as long as its edges are round. You can not use a stick, it can cause injury to the esophagus.

With domestic content, you can force the animal to pull out the tongue. When this happens, annoy him, causing vomiting. Perhaps a swallowed animal will spit it out. If the cow does not work the stomach due to the use of unprocessed feed, it indicates that the pancreas stops working. In this case, contact your veterinarian.

Running the stomach folk remedies

If it was not possible to push through the swallowed object or eliminate the cause of the stopping of the stomach due to the use of a poor-quality feed by the cow, due to the lack of medicines in the first-aid kit, they resort to folk remedies. Recipes of some of them:

  • Yeast in the amount of 100 grams must be dissolved in a glass of warm water, let it brew for 30 minutes. Add there vodka and sugar in the amount of 200 ml and 100 grams. The obtained volume of liquid cow should drink for two times during the day. Tincture to water the animal for several days.
  • Prepare a decoction of yarrow, Hypericum, flaxseed and give them a cow twice a day. The stomach will work again.
  • Buy in a pharmacy cheremiannaya tincture, dilute it with 0.5 liters of water and pour the cow into the mouth.
  • Important! You can avoid many of the problems associated with the health of the cow, if properly care for her and feed.

What to feed?

In order for the food consumed by the cow to be well digested and not to harm the stomach, the animal must be properly fed. The diet is considered balanced if it consists daily of the following ingredients:

  • Fiber pulp, which is rich in fresh grass, hay, silage.
  • Grains of corn, oats, barley, soybeans, the use of which charges the cow's body with energy.
  • By-products produced by the food industry: pulp of oranges and beets, molasses.

Small intestine

The next section of the digestive system is the small intestine, where food enters the rennet in small portions. The small intestine consists of the duodenum, jejunum and ileum. Here the food is processed by pancreatic juices and bile, and the digested substances are absorbed into the blood. The diameter of the small intestine in an adult cow is 4.5 cm, and its length reaches 46 m. The entire inner surface of the small intestine is covered with microscopic papillae, due to which a huge (in relation to its mass) suction surface is formed, therefore it is the main place where nutrients are absorbed. Cells of the small intestine are one of the most active in the body. Studies have shown that - the period of life - a protein produced by skeletal muscle cells is one month. Enzymes secreted by the pancreas and intestinal walls, digest protein, fats and carbohydrates. Liver bile enters the duodenum through the bile duct. Bile promotes the absorption of fat and prepares the products of digestion for absorption.


Next, the food comes into the cecum. Cecum is the first section of the colon. This is another reservoir (as well as the mesh stomach), located away from the main gastrointestinal tract. After food undergoes chemical degradation in the abomasum and small intestine, it additionally undergoes microbial fermentation in the cecum. In an adult cow, the role of fermentation in the reticular stomach is insignificant, but, for example, in such domestic animals as horse and rabbit, the value of fermentation in the cecum is very high. The colon (2nd colon) is divided into proximal and spiral parts. The role of the colon in the process of digestion and absorption of nutrients is negligible. Its main function is the formation of excrement. The internal walls of the colon do not have papillae devices for absorbing nutrients, but the absorption of water and mineral salts in the colon is quite successful. The large intestine ends with the anal orifice.

Thus, a complex and capacious digestive apparatus of a cow serves as a very perfect unit, thanks to which a ruminant animal can use not only the so-called strong (bran and oilcake), but also the usual rough bulk food (green grass and hay). Such feeds are very poor in proteins, but nevertheless it is from them that the cow produces both proteins of its muscles (i.e. ultimately a large meat carcass) and protein, which is part of the abundantly released milk.

The structure of the cow, cow's stomach

  1. Grid - can be called a controller. This name is given to him for the fact that he helps to separate large pieces of food from small ones that are already well chewed. The mesh picks up large pieces of food and returns them back to the rumen so that they can be processed again. In this section there are no glands at all. The walls of the grid cover small tubercles. The main function in this place is that of the cell, which makes it possible to determine how well the food particles are treated with the scar.
  2. Book is the third ruminant digestion department. The book is divided into narrow chambers and has a folded shape. It is in these folds and is processed food. In this section, the digestive processes continue further. The food is processed by saliva and begins to ferment. In the book, food particles are digested, spread into the folds of the department and begin to dehydrate. Absorb moisture from the food book allows its special structure. Looking at the characteristics of the third section, it can be understood that he is responsible for the absorption. The mass of this part of the digestion is quite heavy, but at the same time it is not very large.
  3. Abomasum - This is the last, fourth section of the digestive system of the cow. The abomasum is similar in structure to the stomachs of ordinary mammals. The mucous membrane of this department has a large number of glands that are able to secrete sour gastric juice. The abomasum structure of a cow is noticeably simpler than the structure of other departments. Muscular abomasal tissues are presented in the form of longitudinal ruts. And the abomasum walls consist of a mucous membrane with a prismatic cover. In the walls are the pyloric and cardiac glands. The mucosa of the department forms 13–14 large folds. This department is dominant, because it is in it that the main processes of digestion occur, the absorption of beneficial trace elements and more.
  4. Scar. This is the largest of the four other cameras. The scar has several major functions associated with the work of the digestive tract. Scar functions consist of:
  • Fermentation (fermentation) - With the help of special bacteria located in the cells, the initial stage of digestion occurs. This allows you to break down the food entering the body, using the production of carbon dioxide and methane. If the cow does not burp such gas, then, possibly, abdominal distention will occur, which will worsen the work of digestion and other organs of this system.
  • Mixing. Scar muscles provide the ability to mix food and spit it out to make it re-chewing. The walls of the rumen have small formations, having the appearance of warts, with their help, and is the absorption of beneficial trace elements and vitamins from food.
  • Conversion function. There are more than 150 billion different microbes and bacteria in the rumen, which allow the conversion of carbohydrates in the animal's body into fatty acids, which is almost equal to 70% of the energy supply of a ruminant animal. Such organisms include bacteria and fungi. Bacteria contained in the rumen, act as a converter of ketoacids and ammonia.

Now you can easily imagine and understand what a cow's stomach and its digestive system look like. The normal work of the stomach and the digestion of the animal will be directly related to their diet and nutrition. Experts advise cows to add food to the cows to add bacterial additives that will improve the performance of the constituent elements of the digestive system.

Why do some think that a cow has four stomachs?

In many ways, the knowledge of a rural resident who has not succeeded in educational sciences is limited and depends on his personal experience. And the villager has more experience in slaughtering livestock for meat than any city dweller. After the slaughter of livestock, you can see with your own eyes that it is quite difficult to answer the question of the number of stomachs, since four different sections are clearly visible. This is a man at a standstill.

If, after what he saw, he told the town man that the villagers understood better and saw four stomachs with their own eyes, then the city dweller would not have any questions or doubts. The school course of biology, if it is not connected with the professional activity of a person, does not linger in the head for a long time. That is why people can believe in four stomachs and get confused in information on this topic.

Cow digestion, its distinctive features

Инстинкт самосохранения диктует животному как можно скорее съесть большое количество травы и зелени, а вот процесс переваривания лучше совершить в другом месте, более безопасном для этого. Самым масштабным отделом желудка называют рубец, именно в это место проникают все не пережёванные части растений, которые поступили в организм животного. Most of the food regurgitates back into the mouth for more thorough chewing. When re-swallowing food passes no longer into the scar, but into the net.

Sometimes, some experts do not recognize the scar, mesh and book full-fledged departments and call them projectiles, since the most important step in digestion is the scar. But there is only one correct answer - cows have only one stomach, which consists of 4 interconnected sections.

Features of cow digestion

Cows have an interesting digestive system - this animal swallows food whole, almost without reworking it with its teeth, and then, when resting, otrygivaya its parts and chews it carefully. This is why a cow can often be seen chewing. The mechanism of regurgitation and chewing food from the stomach is called chewing gum. If a cow has this process, it means that something is wrong with it.

The digestive system of a cow has the following structure:

  1. Mouth - lips, teeth and tongue. They serve to capture food, swallow and process.
  2. Esophagus. Its total length is about half a meter, it connects the stomach with the pharynx.
  3. The stomach consists of four chambers. Its detailed structure we consider below.
  4. Small intestine. Consists of the duodenal, jejunum, ileum. Here is the enrichment of processed food bile and juices, as well as absorption into the blood of nutrients.
  5. Colon. From the small intestine, the food mass enters the large intestine, where additional fermentation of food takes place and substances are absorbed into the blood.

The structure of the stomach of a cow and its departments

The structure of the stomach of a cow is also of interest - this organ consists of 4 chambers:

  • rumen,
  • mesh,
  • books,
  • abomasum

The real stomach in the full sense of the word is abomasum, the other chambers are used for pre-processing of food, they are called foregutts. The cicatrix, the book and the grid do not have glands that produce gastric juice, only the abomasum is supplied with them. But in the foregut there is a fermentation, sorting and mechanical processing of feed. Consider the sections of the stomach of a cow in detail.

Scar is the first section of the stomach of a cow. It has the largest volume compared to other cameras - about 200 liters! It is located in the abdominal cavity on the left side. Swallowed food enters this pregastric. The scar is filled with microorganisms that provide the primary processing of food.

Reference. The rumen contains a huge number of microorganisms, their total weight is about 3 kilograms. They promote the synthesis of B vitamins and protein in the animal's body.

The scar consists of a double muscular layer and is divided into 2 parts by a small chute. The mucous membrane of the fore-stomach is supplied with ten centimeter papillae. It is in the rumen that the breakdown of starchy compounds and cellulose to simple sugars occurs. Through this process, the animal receives the necessary energy.

This section of the stomach is much smaller in volume than the previous one. Its capacity is not more than 10 liters. The mesh is located in the chest, one of its area adjacent to the diaphragm. The main function of the net is feed sorting. Small fractions of food move from here to the next section of the stomach, while larger ones burp and fall into the mouth of the cow, where they are chewed. The grid as it filters food, passing further through the digestive system feed, which has already passed the primary processing.

Small pieces of food are moving into the book - the third section of the stomach. Here the food is thoroughly crushed mechanically, due to the special structure of the mucous membrane. It consists of folds, resembling leaves. In the book there is a further processing of coarse fiber fibers and the absorption of water and acids.

The rennet is the only part of the stomach of a cow that is supplied with glands for secretion of gastric secretion. It is located in the area between 9 and 12 ribs on the right side. Its volume in adults reaches 15 liters.

In calves, abomasum is active, while the rest of the stomach remains unused until almost three weeks of age. The scar they have in the folded position, and the milk immediately enters the abomasum through the chute, bypassing the grid and the book.

Common pathologies

Cows often suffer from abnormalities of the digestive system. They represent a serious danger to the life of a ruminant. Frequent digestion problems in cows:

Tympania or bloating is a very dangerous condition that arises due to a sharp change in the diet of the cow, eating large amounts of food in animals, contributing to increased gas formation. Tympania may occur due to blockage of the esophagus. Symptoms:

  1. Refusal to eat.
  2. An enlarged belly.
  3. No gum.
  4. Anxiety.
  5. In severe cases, shortness of breath, pallor of mucous membranes.

Attention! This condition is dangerous for the life of the cow, as the scar that has increased in volume strongly squeezes the diaphragm, preventing the animal from breathing normally. If you do not provide assistance, the cow will die from lack of oxygen.

Methods for helping with swelling include:

  1. Removal of a foreign body from the esophagus with a flexible probe.
  2. Stimulation of the stomach to start it.
  3. The use of drugs that prevent gas formation and fermentation - Tympanol, burnt magnesia, activated carbon, ichthyol.
  4. In emergency cases, resort to perforation of the scar by the trocar.

You can start the stomach with the help of massage. It is performed on the left side of the abdominal cavity, in the area of ​​the hungry fossa with a fist. Often helps pouring this area with cold water. A cow needs to run for her stomach to work.

The digestion process often stops in cows due to improper feeding, for example, if concentrates prevail in the diet or the animal has eaten fresh hay. Stomach arrest also occurs when the esophagus is blocked. Symptoms of pathology: loss of gum and appetite, general depression. If a cow has a stomach, this can be checked. You need to lean your fist in the area of ​​the hungry fossa and listen to whether there is a reduction.

Treatment of this pathology begins immediately. The first thing to do is to keep the animal on a hungry diet for a day. In the future, digestible feeds are gradually introduced - silage, a small amount of root crops, high-quality hay.

To start the stomach is used:

  1. Chemerichnuyu tincture.
  2. Gastric lavage.
  3. Inside give to drink saline, vodka or home-brew (can be diluted with vegetable oil).
  4. Massage scar.

Sometimes the stopping of a stomach occurs because of a blockage of the book. This happens when dry food, bran or grain waste dominates the animal's diet. The cause of the pathology can be sand or dirt in the feed. Symptoms of obstruction of the book are similar to those observed when stopping the stomach. It is difficult enough to identify the true cause of the termination of digestion. For the diagnosis used a puncture of the stomach with a needle. If she enters hard, it means that we are talking about a blockage.

If the diagnosis is confirmed, it makes sense to flush the stomach. To do this, use a solution of sulfate or sodium chloride at a concentration of 10%. For the procedure you will need about a liter of this solution. To start the process of digestion using the same tools as discussed above - vegetable oil, chemericnaya tincture, vodka.

Since the cow swallows the food in unprocessed form, it often happens that dangerous objects such as wire, nails, splinters, and sharp stones also get inside with food. Such foreign bodies can cause serious injuries to the animal - to puncture the stomach or pierce its walls. Grid injuries are often cross-cutting, sharp objects can touch nearby organs - the heart, spleen, lung.

Symptoms of traumatic reticulitis:

  1. Anxiety, loss of appetite.
  2. Pulling the neck forward.
  3. The cow takes unnatural poses - is hunched.
  4. Sometimes the temperature rises to 0.5-1 degrees.
  5. The animal feels pain when pressing on the region of the sternum.

The treatment is aimed at removing a foreign object from the stomach. Metallic foreign bodies are removed with a magnetic probe. If you can not pull out the object, resort to surgery or the animal is killed.

All parts of the stomach of ruminants perform their function. If at least one of them stopped working, the whole digestive system suffers. It is important to diagnose the development of pathology in time and begin treatment.

How many stomachs does a domestic cow have?

Mammals have digestive organs with a similar structure and functioning principle. However, this does not apply to cattle. How many cows have stomachs? The answer to this question is quite simple. These animals have only one stomach. However, it consists of 4 sections: the rumen, books, nets and abomasum.

It will allow you to see how many cows have stomachs, the photo presented in this material. When considering the animal carcass in the section, one can be convinced that it is not just a solid muscular bag, like in omnivorous or carnivorous mammals, but a complex system of individual digestive chambers. The stomach, which consists of several sections, allows the animal to eat fairly coarse food of vegetable content, extracting from it the maximum amount of nutrients.

Next, consider in more detail how many stomachs in cows. Let us examine the structure of the various parts of the digestive system of livestock.

Chewing and salivation

In the mouth of cattle there are teeth only on the lower jaw. This allows animals to more effectively capture and tear plants. Despite the fact that the cow's mouth is ideally suited for plucking the grass, during chewing the food is crushed frankly inadequate.

In dairy cows, more than 100 liters of saliva are secreted per day. The drier the food the animal consumes, the more this bodily fluid is produced by the body. At the same time, there is a small percentage of enzymes in the composition of the cow’s saliva that are involved in the breakdown of food. For the most part, bovine saliva plays the role of a moisturizing agent that allows the feed to pass through the esophagus.

Based on the foregoing, during digestion, the cow has to chew the so-called chewing gum - half-digested mass, which periodically regurgitates back to the throat. This allows the animal to grind food of high quality for its better breakdown in the stomach.

How many cows have stomachs? First, let's talk about the first and largest division of the digestive system of livestock - the rumen. It is here that the digestive mass coming from the esophagus, is the primary processing enzymes and enzymes.

The scar consists of 3 separate parts: the dorsal, cranial and ventral areas. The muscular mass of these functional bags is reduced every 60 seconds, which leads to feed milling. Thus, in the stomach of a cow, the first stage of digestion ends.

After the reduction of individual parts of the scar, the food regurgitates into the cow's mouth and re-chews. Formed gum enters immediately in the third section of the stomach - a book, where it is subjected to enhanced processing of enzymes.

We continue to consider how many cows have stomachs. The next section of the animal's digestive system, the grid, is a kind of "controller". Here is the separation of small, high-quality chewed food mass from coarse large pieces of food. Not enough crushed particles mesh sends back to the scar. This is due to the reduction of the corresponding muscles. Well-processed food is promoted further along the digestive system.

Considering the number of stomachs in a cow, let's talk about the next section, which is called a book. It is connected to the grid with a peculiar gutter. The department contains thin partitions that look like the pages of a book. From here also such strange name went.

In the book, a well-crushed forage mass is fermented by bacteria. This principle of digestion allows the animal body to absorb the maximum amount of fiber. In this section, minerals and liquids are also absorbed into the bloodstream. Since in the book there are complex operations, in the process of digestion, only about 5% of the total mass of forage comes here.

How many cows have stomachs? The fourth conditional stomach is called rennet. Here a large number of glands are concentrated, which produce large volumes of acidic liquids.

In the abomasum, the residual mass of undigested food is processed by gastric juices. This allows you to split the fiber into proteins that are absorbed by the body. All recycled waste is transferred to the animal's rectum due to the reduction of the longitudinal muscle rings.


So we figured out how many stomachs have cows. As you can see, this organ is one in livestock. However, it consists of several departments, each of which plays a specific role.

Finally, it is worth noting that the food eaten has been in the body of the animal for several days. In order for the fiber to be absorbed faster, on farms cows' food is often mixed with special bacterial additives that allow the digestive system to better cope with the breakdown of complex structures in the composition of the feed. Compulsory in the diet of cows is straw or hay. Dry food is ideal for the formation of a dense evening gum, the formation of which allows the animal to better cope with the assimilation of silage, vegetable food, feed.