Something to Digest


Stomachs come in all shapes and sizes, from pigs and dogs, who have simple monogastric stomachs like ourselves, to ruminants with their intricate four chambered stomachs. The gastric structure evolves to suit the usual diet of the species in question.

Grass is a fairly unyielding foodstuff in terms of energy- the animals that subsist upon it have adapted to do so in fascinating ways. For the cow, as an example of a ruminant, one of their chambers functions as a fermentative vat. In the horse, fermentation occurs in the caecum, a large blind ended adjunct to the colon.

Even with the fermentative capacity of the gut, specialised dentition and selective feeding, grazing animals still need to eat for most of their day to obtain enough energy to live. This causes behavioural complications when a grazing animal is fed concentrated food in discrete meals.  See tomorrows post!

If the topic of digestion has you ruminating (excuse the terrible pun, I couldn’t resist!) drop me a line for more information.


2 Responses to “Something to Digest”

  1. […] of you that read ‘Something to Digest‘ will know that horses naturally graze most of the day. Their stomachs secrete acid in a […]

  2. Very interesting subject, thank you for posting.

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