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A lesson in Cowology

The ins & outs of California dairy cows.

A lesson in Cowology

The ins & outs of California dairy cows.

Cows belong to a group of animals called ruminants. This means they have four stomach compartments (not four stomachs) that each play a different role in the digestion of food. The four parts of the stomach are called, in order, rumen, reticulum, omasum and the abomasum.

When cows “chew their cud” they’re chewing small wads of feed that have been returned to the mouth to continue the digestion process. Each cud is chewed somewhere between 40 and 60 times (for about one minute). 



It takes 50 to 70 hours for a cow to turn grass into feed and most cows give 9 gallons of milk a day! 


The nutrients from the feed are turned into milk by four mammary glands found in the udder. The droplets of milk are drained through an opening called a duct into the udder.

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