Below is a diagram of the Anatomy of a Cow
As you can see, there are many parts to a cow. Cows vary in all different colours, some are brown, tanned, white, black, brown-white patched or black-white patched. In a female cow, milk is produced in the udders and extracted from the teats. A Cows udder has four compartments with one teat hanging from each.
Tiny Cells remove water and nutrients from the blood and convert it into milk. The milk forms into droplets and drips into a cistern which holds the milk. If the cows teat is squeezed, it produces a squirt of milk and is either saved in tanks or feeds a suckling calf.
A cows mouth is adapted for grazing, the top part of the mouth is a hard pad and the bottom part a row of flat-topped teeth. Cows have 32 teeth in all, 8 incisors on the bottom part and 6 molars on the top and bottom parts on each side.
The cow tears grass from the field and grinds it between the two mouth parts.
A cows ears are very flexible and can turn in any direction. They are especially used to hear any signs of danger from many directions.
Cows have long tails which they use to waft insects of them.
Bulls have horns, although some female cows have small horns too. Bulls horns are made out of similar material to our fingernails called ‘Keratin’. Bulls horns can be removed without causing the cow any discomfort.
Diet: Cows are herbivores which means they do not eat meat, only plants, grass and cereal. Cows are ruminant animals which means they have more than one stomach.
Cows have a four part stomach, each part used for a different process.
Cows swallow their food without chewing it too much at first. Cows later regurgitate a ‘cud’ which is then chewed well and swallowed.
The Anatomy of a Cows Stomach
Inside a cows stomach region, there are 4 digestive departments:
1. The Rumen – this is the largest part and holds upto 50 gallons of partially digested food. This is where the ‘cud’ comes from. Good bacteria in the Rumen helps soften and digest the cows food and provides protein for the cow.
2. The Recticulum – this part of the stomach is called the ‘hardware’ stomach. This is because if the cow eats something it should not have like a peice of fencing, it lodges here in the Recticulum. However, the contractions of the reticulum can force the object into the peritoneal cavity where it initiates inflammation. Nails and screws can even peroferate the heart. The grass that has been eaten is also softened further in this stomach section and is formed into small wads of cud. Each cud returns to the cows mouth and is chewed 40 – 60 times and then swallowed properly.
3. The Omasum – this part of the stomach is a ‘filter’. It filters through all the food the cow eats. The cud is also pressed and broken down further.
4. The Abomasum – this part of the stomach is like a humans stomach and is connected to the intestines. Here, the food is finally digested by the cows stomach juices and essential nutrients that the cow needs are passed through the bloodstream. The rest is passed through to the intestines and produces a ‘cow pat’.
A little poem about the cows stomach!
No wander you’re always eating,
On the plains and on the hill,
Brown cow, no doubt you’re hungry,
You have four stomachs to fill!