Sassy Cow Moos


February 2017

How cows digest their food

Cows are pretty fantastic. They turn things that humans can’t digest like grass and hay into delicious and nutritious milk. How they do it is even more incredible. Cows have one stomach with four parts, all designed to break down grasses, hays and silages and digest proteins from grains.

The four parts

  • Rumen
  • Reticulum
  • Omasum
  • Abomasum
The cow’s digestive track is very complex and allows cattle to digest foods high in cellulose such as grasses and hays.

Rumen – This part of the stomach is where the feed goes to first and it’s the largest part of the stomach system. The rumen has complex microorganisms that help break down plant fibers so the cow can use the nutrients. The rumen works with the reticulum to make sure fibrous feed is broken down. If the rumen becomes too acidic due to too much grain intake, cows can become very ill. This is why the majority of the cow’s diet comes from corn silage and haylage.

Reticulum – This compartment is attached to the rumen and acts as a storage area before passing feed to the omasum or for regurgitation. The softened feed that is regurgitated and mixed with saliva is called cud. The cud is regurgitated by the cow and chewed over and over again and then re-enters the rumen for more digesting. This process repeats itself until feed is broken down into smaller bits

Omasum – The omasum is where the water that is in the feed particles is absorbed. This is also where electrolytes like potassium and sodium are absorbed.

Abomasum – Here is where final digestion occurs. The abomasum is most similar to a human stomach and has a pH of about 2 to 3. Protein from both feedstuff and rumen microbes are digested here.

Cows at both of our dairies are fed a mixture of feedstuff called a TMR or total mixed ration. This includes haylage, corn silage, cottonseed and corn grain. These are all mixed together so every bite the cow takes is the same. This reduces the risk of health problems. Quality feed is what sustains health and milk production in cows.

Have cow questions? Feel free to email

Refuel with chocolate milk

You just crushed a workout. You feel parched and drained so you really need to refuel. What do you grab? A bottle of water? Some Gatorade? A protein shake? What about some low-fat chocolate milk? Chocolate milk may be the last thing you want to drink after working out but studies show that it’s one of the best recovery drinks available.

Chocolate milk contains a unique blend of carbohydrates, protein and electrolytes to replenish your body after a workout. And numerous athletes couldn’t agree more.

Calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium are all electrolytes are added to sports recovery drinks that are found naturally in milk. These help keep fluids balanced in the body on a regular basis but helps restore fluid balance after a workout. And not to forget, milk is naturally hydrating because a portion of milk is comprised of water.

In addition to the electrolytes chocolate milk provides, it has a unique blend of carbohydrates and protein to replenish muscles. Chocolate milk has 8 grams of high quality protein to build lean muscle. Studies have shown that those who drink low-fat chocolate milk after a workout experience less muscle damage than those who just drink water or a sports drink. It’s suggested that these individuals may perform better in future workouts due to that enhanced muscle repair.

Looking to refuel after your workout? Our new low-fat chocolate milk is just the ticket! It contains less added sugar than most low-fat chocolate milks available. We use a unique combination of sugar and monk fruit juice concentrate for all the sweet flavor but fewer added sugars. Monk fruit juice is a zero calorie, all-natural sweetener derived from the monk fruit.

To learn more about refueling with chocolate milk, visit Built with Chocolate Milk.

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