Why Does a Cow Chew Its Cud?

Chewing a cud is a process by which some animals, called ruminants (camels, goats, sheep, deer, and cattle), thoroughly digest their food.

The cow, for example, has a stomach organized into sections to take care of hard-to-digest food. When the cow first takes in food, it chews it just enough to moisten it. Once swallowed, the food goes to the stomach’s first section, where it is mixed with chemicals and softened. This softened food is called the cud, small balls of food.

Next, the stomach’s muscles send the cud back up to the cow’s mouth, where it is re-chewed and swallowed again, this time going to another section of the stomach, where moisture is squeezed out of the cud.

Finally, the food enters the last section of the stomach, the true stomach, where digestive juices mix with the food and start it on its way to the intestine to be completely digested.

We get both veal and beef from the same type of cattle: veal comes from calves less than three months old, and beef comes from older animals!

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