How many stomachs does a cow have: structural features of the digestive system

The cow's gastrointestinal tract has a complex structure, its structure determines the passage of digestive processes in it. Violation of at least one of the intestines entails dysfunction of the entire system. This article will examine the structural features of the digestive tract of a cow, the existing pathologies of its work, as well as the departments of the multi-chamber stomach of cattle.

Cow digestion system

A feature of the digestion of cattle is the constant chewing by these animals of the so-called “chewing gum”. They swallow food consumed, practically without chopping it. After preliminary enzymatic treatment, the food mass moistened with gastric juice and saliva is returned to the oral cavity by belching. The cow begins to carefully chew on the feed mass and grind it for repeated swallowing.

The digestive system of a cow consists of the following departments:

  1. Oral cavity. It is represented by the outer lips, two dentitions and a muscular tongue. Responsible for the primary capture of fodder masses, their grinding and ingestion.
  2. Esophagus. The connecting channel for transporting fodder masses between the pharyngeal cavity and the stomach. Its length is about 0.5 meters.
  3. Stomach. A complex four-chamber system, which grinds the swallowed food, moisturizes it, breaks down and passes further along the digestive tract.
  4. Small intestine. It is conditionally divided into duodenal, skinny and iliac sections. Here, fodder masses are processed by bile and gastric juices, fats and partially proteins are broken down.
  5. Colon. He is responsible for the final fermentation of the feed, the breakdown of proteins and the formation of feces. A large number of beneficial bacteria live here.

Important! Feeding pregnant uterus can lead not only to diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, but also to abortion. Make sure that animals with acidity do not get into the food and be sure to warm the water before spilling it into the drinkers.

The structure of the stomach of a cow

Due to its complex structure, the stomach occupies a predominant part of the abdominal cavity. In it, the food is processed by enzymes, rubbed by the muscle walls and broken down with the help of gastric juice with an acidic pH value.

Which side of the cow has a stomach and what is it called?

This digestive organ is located in the central and left parts of the peritoneum of the cow. Many are interested in how many chamber stomach a cow has. It consists of one true stomach, which is called abomasum, and three auxiliary pancreas - a scar, a book and a grid.

Cow stomach

Each department has its own functional purpose, which is carried out thanks to the features of its structure.


It has a huge capacity - in adults, the volume of this department reaches 200 liters. It is located in the left part of the abdominal cavity and partially occupies the right with the center at the level of 6 ribs. The rumen contains a large amount of beneficial microflora, which is responsible for the initial processing of swallowed feed masses. The total mass of microorganisms reaches 4 kilograms. They synthesize protein compounds that compensate for the lack of animal food in the cow's diet.

Did you know? Since 2016, and today the heaviest cow in the world is considered a cow of the Holstein-Friesian breed. A cows named Blossom weighs more than 1, 200 kg; her height at the withers reaches 190 cm. The owner of the Blossom, American Patty Henson from Illinois, contains her pet as a pet. Neither milk nor offspring of Bloss are able to give due to congenital barrenness.

The main longitudinal muscle walls of the scar are lined with thin circular muscle tissue and the mucous membrane, which is covered with rough papillae. Papillae up to 10 cm long increase the absorption of nutrients and create a comfortable environment for the existence of microorganisms. The rumen is divided by a special trench into two muscle bags, in which the feed is mixed, the starch, sugars and fermented fermentation and the primary breakdown of fiber.


This part is almost 20 times smaller than the scar - its maximum volume is 10 liters. It is located in the upper part of the scar and in full form touches the diaphragm. The grid is responsible for the separation of the feed into solid and liquid fractions. The solid returns from the grid for re-grinding, and the liquid passes to the next section of the intestine.


The third stomach of the cow is located on the right side of the sternum at level 7 of the rib. The inside of the book is lined with a folded epithelium, which draws food between the folds and grinds it. Here, the absorption of water and the final breakdown of fiber.


A true cow stomach secreting gastric juice, which consists of free water, enzymes and acids. The volume of the abomasum reaches 15 liters, it is located at the level of the 11th rib of the sternum. In the first few weeks after birth, the calves digest dairy food exclusively from abomasum. Then the pancreas opens, a burping reflex appears, the young growth begins to eat solid food.

Important! Up to three weeks of age, it is forbidden to give calves nutrition of plant origin. Solid food will not be able to digest properly and will begin to roam in the abomasum.

From which section of the cow's stomach does the food burp?

For a typical ruminant burping, a net is responsible that returns whole swallowed food to the oral cavity. The intensity of its contractions depends on the size of the feed particles, the feeding pattern, the age of the animal and its physiological state.

Pathology of the stomach of a cow

Poor feed, adverse conditions and disturbed feeding conditions provoke disruptions in the digestive tract of cattle. In order for cattle to be healthy and herd productivity to be high, it is necessary to understand the existing pathologies and know how to get rid of them.


Also known as tympany, it is characterized by intense gas formation. It arises due to a sharp change in diet, grazing in wet meadows with legumes, and blockage of the esophagus. Symptoms of tympanum are:

  • refusal of food;
  • bloating of the peritoneum;
  • violation of the ruminant reflex;
  • Anxiety
  • shortness of breath, accelerated pulse;
  • blanching of the mucous membranes, nasal mirror.

Depending on the cause of the swelling, there are various ways to solve this problem:

  1. If a blockage of the esophagus has become the cause of tympanum, it is necessary to push the body stuck in the intestine with a thin flexible probe. An effective method of starting the stomach is considered to be massaging with a clenched fist of the hungry fossa region. The animal must constantly move at a fast pace - push it, do not let it go.
  2. Excessive gas formation is often triggered by an imbalance in the microflora. To cope with this problem, drugs such as Tympanol, activated carbon, magnesia help.
  3. An extreme method of getting rid of bloating is considered to be a puncture of the abdominal wall and stomach wall with a trocar - an acute surgical instrument, and the subsequent release of gases from the abdominal cavity.

Did you know? The average growth of a cow at the withers ranges from 130 cm. A cow lives in the Indian state of Kerala, whose growth is far from recognized standards. The baby of the Vechur breed weighs only 72 kilograms, her height at the withers is 61 cm, which is 8 cm less than the previous record. Owners of a miniature cow are very proud of their unusual pet, since in 2015 their favorite was included in the Guinness Book of Records.


A common cause of this pathology is a violation of diet and an illiterate diet. Digestion stops the excess of concentrated feed, ripe straw and hay, sour pulp and bard. This problem also occurs with blockage of the esophagus. Symptoms of stopping are lethargy, apathy, lack of chewing gum. If you put your palm on a hungry fossa, then you will not be able to probe the pulsation of the stomach.

To start the digestion of a cow, the following remedies are used:

  • daily fasting diet with further balanced nutrition;
  • hellebore tincture;
  • mechanical washing of the scar;
  • a mixture of vodka or saline with vegetable oil;
  • intensive massage of the stomach.


Since ruminants capture and swallow food without feeling it, there is a high risk of foreign objects entering the feed mass. Foreign bodies such as wire, nails, sharp stones can damage the walls of the stomach and intestines, or get stuck in their mucous membranes. Injury to the walls of the stomach is often transverse, and neighboring organs — the liver, heart, and spleen — are at risk of damage.

Symptoms of this disease are:

  • disturbing conditions of the animal, loss of appetite;
  • stretching the neck up and forward in an attempt to swallow;
  • rounding of the back;
  • the appearance of blood in the stool;
  • constant low-grade fever;
  • pain reflex with pressure on the sternum.

This is the most difficult pathology to cure. Metal foreign objects are usually removed with a magnetic probe, other foreign bodies are removed surgically. If the treatment is unsuccessful, the animal is sent for slaughter.

Important! If there is a foreign object in the intestine, it is necessary to immobilize the animal. In an attempt to get rid of the discomfort, the cow may push the foreign body further or pierce the intestinal wall with it.


This disease arises as a result of clogging the books with poor-quality feed with grain waste, sand, dirt. A diet with an excess of bran and concentrates leads to the same result. Symptoms are similar to a stop, these pathologies can be distinguished through a puncture of the stomach with a thin needle. When blocked, the needle will enter slowly and with effort.

The only way to get rid of the blockage is to wash the intestines. This can be done with a 10% NaCl solution. It is also allowed to use tincture hellebore, sunflower oil, moonshine.

The cow’s digestive system has a complex structure and is designed for continuous use of fiber-rich feeds. All sections of the cow’s stomach function smoothly, their normal work depends on the health of each individual part. Provide your herd with high-quality feed and seek veterinary care in a timely manner so that your animals maintain high productivity.

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