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Cow Digestion and what they Eat: From Start to Finish in 7 Steps

How do cows digest food? The cow digestive system is a crucial component of its eating process, as it determines the quality of milk produced. 

How does digestion in cows affect their milk? A healthy cow that eats well and processes its food well, will ultimately produce high-quality milk. We care deeply about the health of our cow’s digestive systems, because we want your children to enjoy the most nutritious milk. 


No two cows are alike, which is why our caring farmers, whose families have been rearing dairy cows for generations, are dedicated to every aspect of their individual cows’ health. Assisted by state-of-the-art monitoring equipment, these experienced farmers are well-attuned to the needs of their dairy cows. 

These cows enjoy customised feeds that are rich in vitamins and minerals, which are crucial to achieving the superior quality of NOVAS Signature Milk. These customised feeds are adjusted based on individual cows’ nutritional needs. Factors that are taken into consideration include age and lactation, along with the quality and quantity of milk produced, which comprises lactose, protein and fat levels. 


The dairy cow has one stomach with four distinct compartments, namely the rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum. Each compartment plays a vital role in breaking down coarse food. 

Here’s a step-by-step explanation of a cow’s digestion process

step 1

Step 1:

A customised feed is ingested with very little chewing. 

step 2

Step 2:

Upon entering the first compartment of cow’s stomach, the rumen, microbes ferment plant fibres, starch, sugar and protein to form volatile fatty acids and microbial protein. 

step 3

Step 3:

Next, the feed is softened and made into small cuds in the reticulum. 

step 4

Step 4:

The cuds return to the cow’s mouth to be chewed and digested again. 

step 5

Step 5:

In the omasum, these softened cuds are filtered to remove water. 

step 6

Step 6:

The feed is finally digested in the abomasum. 

step 7

Step 7:

The digested feed passes through small intestine, where essential nutrients are absorbed to keep the cows healthy. Some of these nutrients are transported via the blood  to the mammary gland, which is where these nutrients are transformed into milk. 

Friso farmers are dedicated to supplying their cows with the most ideal feed, as what the cow eats affects milk quality. Choose a high-quality growing up milk brand, because our children deserve the best that we can give them.