Lots of people know that cows digest grass using four different chambers rather than a single stomach but here are some (warning: many of them are a bit gross) weird facts you might not have heard:
- A cow can produce up to a litre of gas (CO2 and methane) per minute. She’s not a farter though, she’s a burper!
- A cow can produce 150 litres or more of saliva in a day.
- The first two chambers – the reticulum and rumen – can hold a whopping 150 to 200 litres of solids and liquid in total.
- Actually, we’re not really feeding the cow but the bacteria and protozoa in her rumen, which use fermentation to digest 70–80% of the digestible dry matter in the rumen.
- The rumen has a pH of about 6 or 7, so isn’t a true stomach. It’s not until the feed reaches the fourth chamber, the abomasum, that the pH drops to 2 and acid digestion begins. This is the cow’s true stomach.