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Chewing, biting, and head-butting are some of the famous characteristics of a goat that most people certainly know of. While digging deep into the different behaviors of the goat, many goat admirers can not help but ask about cud-chewing.
It is commonly observed in ruminants that they chew cud because their digestive system works differently than humans. Do goats share the same habits as their other livestock fellows?
These fun creatures are often misunderstood and many different false things are associated with them. Therefore, it is important to make a little effort to know this adorable, low-maintenance animal.
Do Goats Chew Cud?
Like cattle, sheep, and 200 other species of mammals, goats are no exception and chew cud as a part of their digestive system. This habit is common among many livestock animals, particularly ruminants.
Before moving further, it is important to tell readers about the cud. It is a softened or digested food that returns to the mouth from the stomach for more chewing.
Hay and grasses are not easier to digest and it is not possible for goats to absorb all nutrients needed by the body.
The food needs to be further chewed to ensure proper digestion of food and absorption of vitamins and minerals. As goats engulf food as a whole, cud-chewing is done for digesting the hay.
Why Do Goats Chew Cud?
Similar to cows, goats have a four-compartment stomach where all the chewing happens. The food is broken down into small particles and passed through each compartment to be fully digested.
Food is directly sent to the stomach for cutting into smaller, more digestible pieces.
The process starts in the first compartment where the plant-based food is softened and sent back to the mouth for re-chewing, otherwise famously known as cud-chewing.
Cud-chewing goes on for several minutes. This process is also called ruminating. Most of the time, goats can be seen chewing cud even though they have not eaten anything.
This cud-chewing stimulates the digestion process and makes sure that the goats absorb and take out all the essential nutrients from the food.
When Goats Do Not Chew Cud?
Many goats refuse to chew cud when not feeling sick, it can be a symptom or a sign of illness. Goats are prone to illness, therefore, need to be monitored for any unpleasant symptoms.
Goats refusing to chew cud could be because of several reasons
- Bloating: This condition is fatal for goats, often causing the death of the poor animal. Goats stop chewing cud because of bloating when the gas fills up the rumen or stomach. Several things impede the gases releases, to treat Bloat, experts advise raising the forelimbs, massaging the belly, and administering baking soda.
- Acidosis: According to Oklahoma State University, This term is used for conditions where goat’s rumen pH becomes acidic usually due to improper carbohydrate fermentation. It is also called grain overload that happens when the goat’s diet is changed dramatically. The best cure is prevention, do not change their diet dramatically or let them overeat corn. The infected goats include timely, intensive veterinary procedures.
- Eating Harmful Things: Goats try to eat just about anything including harmful objects like plastic bags, tin cans, or other multicolored things. These things can block the rumen and wreak digestive chaos. Rumen blockage is not an issue to be taken lightly and requires the help of a veterinarian as it can be nasty.
Modern Goat Feeds Require Less Chewing
To feed food items apart from the regular ones eliminate the chewing habits of the goats, leaving adverse effects on the animal’s health, often irreversible. Many new, ready-made goat feeds do not require much chewing.
It only takes a little effort in the digestion process, simply, one chew process from the mouth to the stomach is enough to digest the food and absorb nutrients at a faster rate.
It is not entirely advisable by livestock experts to feed your goat mainly on goat feeds. It is only a good treat when given occasionally in a moderate amount.
They do provide essential nutrients while boosting the immune system of the animal, however, these are not fit to be their only diet. They should be fed with hay, grasses, and leaves to grow well.
Cud-chewing is healthy for goats, most farmers worry about goats being weak and do not grow tall or large enough, it is because no essential food value being absorbed by the animal.
To conclude, belching, belly rumbling, and cud-chewing are some of the signs of a healthy, digestive system. It is an indicator that the goat is doing fine health-wise when it is chewing its cud. Chewing the cud is the most important part of the digestion process to stimulate digestion and maximize the absorption of the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.