Monday, January 25, 2010

Goatucation: All About my Stomachs - Yes, StomachS, Part I

We goats, like all ruminants, have FOUR stomachs! Isn't that pretty amazing? I am sure you have seen me use the word ruminant a lot on this blog but here is the definition:

Any of various hoofed, even-toed, usually horned mammals of the suborder Ruminantia, such as cattle, sheep, goats, deer, and giraffes, characteristically having a stomach divided into four compartments and chewing a cud consisting of regurgitated, partially digested food.
1. Characterized by the chewing of cud.
2. Of or belonging to the Ruminantia.
3. Meditative; contemplative
(from The American Heritage Dictionary)

I know that whole partially digested food thing sound disgusting to you humans but it's how we work. And I can be very contemplative....don't I look like a deep thinker here?

But back to how my digestive system works. We goats eat a very rough diet (except for my tasty apple treat at night. They are not rough) that includes hay, straw, weeds and grasses. In order for us to get the most nutrition out of these low nutrition foods we have those four stomachs but they are really chambers named  1) the rumen, 2) the honey-combed reticulum, 3) the omasum, and 4) the abomasum or true stomach. Don't worry, there won't be a test!

Our rumen is like a big fermentation vat. Our feed goes in there and then good bacteria breaks it down and causes fermentation. This helps to keep us warm. When we eat our hay or weeds it gets all full of our saliva and this mess is swallowed. This is our cud. Those same bacteria help to break it down and then we goats, well, bring it back up into our mouths to chew it some more. I know you humans don't like the thought of that, but cud is mighty tasty to us goats. We like to burp when we bring up our cud; the publicist is not fond of our goat gas. Heh heh.

After the cud is chewed enough it goes to our second stomach where any things we shouldn't have eaten are sifted out. This second stomach or reticulum is sometimes called our "hardware stomach."

This is a lot of information so I will cover our other two stomachs in next week's Goatucation. You can ruminate on this information for now.

Tomorrow:  Where DID Luke go?


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