A cow’s rumen is tied to her future health

As the main site for nutrient breakdown and absorption, the cow’s rumen is tied to her future health and performance, and ultimately, lifetime productivity, said Dr Catherine Klein Bradley, dairy research scientist at Purina Animal Nutrition.

“The rumen is where a great deal of energy absorption takes place in the adult animal, and a fully developed rumen is required to efficiently absorb nutrients,” Klein said.

A dairy cow breaks down and digests plant-based foods through a four-compartment stomach. However, they begin life as a functional non-ruminant. The first six months of a calf’s life mark a critical period for rumen development.

At birth, the calf’s rumen is about the size of a softball. But in just eight weeks, it increases in size by 150%, becoming about the size of a plastic grocery bag large enough to carry two 2-litre soda bottles. From 8 to 24 weeks the rumen doubles five times. Nutrition plays a major role in this evolution and subsequent growth potential during that pivotal first half-year of life. To read more about this, click HERE.

Published on Mon, 25th Jan 2016 - 09:19