What's a rumen?

Sheep, cattle, goats, deer, giraffes and llamas are ruminant animals. This means that they have a four-chambered stomach. The four chambers of the ruminant stomach are the reticulum, rumen, omasum and abomasum. The rumen serves as a large fermentation vat in which bacteria and other microorganisms reside. These microbes are capable of breaking down feedstuffs that the cow cannot. As part of this process, they produce a number of by-products, such as volatile fatty acids (VFAs), which the animal absorbs and uses as energy. Several gases, including carbon dioxide and methane, are also produced in the fermentation process and must be removed by eructation or belching. The structures present in each chamber of the ruminant stomach are quite unique. The reticulum has a clearly defined honeycomb pattern. The rumen has thousands of papillae to increase surface area. The omasum is full of numerous folds of tissue.

Jr Animal Scientist

A Jr. Animal Scientist membership is a great way for kids to learn about science and the animal world.

Through the Jr. Animal Scientist magazine and special online resources, kids can learn about pets, farm animals and zoo animals. Scientific information is tailored for kids ages 5 to 9 (K-3rd grades). Eye-catching photos and exciting animal activities add to the fun! Plus, all Jr. Animal Scientists get special prizes just for joining.

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