Of course, every discourse about ruminate stomachs has to include the description and function of cud. When cows chew their cud, they are regurgitating and rechewing previously incompletely chewed feed. In order for the microbes to digest fiber rapidly and efficiently it must be in small pieces so cattle re-chew their food several times. Accordingly, cattle also eructate, giving off carbon dioxide and methane. When cows “lose their cud” or stop ruminating, it is a sign of digestive upset, and their rumen are not functioning properly. Bloat is another affliction that occurs when cows can’t eructate. This is caused by rapid change in feed or overeating grain (gaseous bloat) or grazing pure clover or alfalfa (frothy bloat). Conclusively, cud is a very important part of digestion for all ruminants, not just cattle. If your ruminant is not eructating or regurgitating cud, then you know that there is something wrong with the rumen. And if the rumen isn’t healthy, the cow isn’t healthy. So make sure to check your cow’s intake and don’t feed it to much grain! (More about bloats next week).
To see cows and other ruminants chewing cud, watch my video at http://youtu.be/bQlnDmaQUWQ