Where feed goes after it enters the show lamb?

The ruminant (digastric) stomach

Picture from Rod Allrich, Purdue University


  Rumen:     "The fermentation vat"  The largest compartment that is key to volatile fatty acid absorption.


  Recticulum:  "The honeycomb" It sorts particles by size, this allows for better breakdown of food.


  Omasum:  "The folded structure"  It traps particles within the folds, where the particles are squeezed to remove water prior to                 delivery to the abomasum.


  Abomasum:  "The true stomach"  This is where the final breakdown of digestion takes place.


        Sheep are ruminants–– even-toed animals with four compartments of the stomach. Why four? As you might guess, the leaves, stems, grasses and weeds that sheep chow-down on are extremely difficult to digest. These four compartments allow for utilization of cellulose and hemicellulose, which are found in plant sources.  When a sheep eats, the food goes into the first compartment, called the rumen where it is stored and initial digestion takes place. From there, it moves gradually into the reticulum where it is sorted before the food moves to the omasum. While in the omasum the food particles are squeezed to dehydrate the particles before they move to the abomasums.  In the abomasums, chemical and enzymatic digestion takes place and finally enters the large intestine for absorption of nutrients.


  Why do you always see sheep chewing?


        Because they are ruminants, there food gets regurgitated, remasticated, re-insalivated, and reswallowed.  The food that they are constantly chewing on is referred to as cud.  They chew this many times until it is able to be digested in their stomach.


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