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The Body Parts of a Cow

| Updated August 11, 2017

Cattle are among the most important animals utilized by humans. Cattle provide meat, milk, cheese, butter, cream and leather, clothing to those who keep them, as well as those who never have seen them. In order to fully appreciate such a beast, one should know the parts of a cow.

The Head

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A cow has ears that can move independently of one another. This allows it to pick up sounds from more than one direction at a time. It has eyes on the sides of its face that allow it to see predators better than animals with forward-facing eyes. It has a mammalian brain that allows it to determine when something is dangerous, as well as to remember where the danger was located.

Circulatory System

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A cow has a well-developed heart and circulatory system. Blood vessels, which carry blood away from the heart, are called arteries. Veins return blood to the heart. Blood is pumped throughout the body, supplying vital oxygen to each organ and system within the cow.

The Stomach

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A cow has one stomach, which contains four chambers: the reticulum, rumen, omasum and the abomasum. Each chamber is used to digest foods in a different manner. The reticulum is structured to aid in bringing partially fermented food back to the mouth for further chewing. The rumen is used to as a holding tank and to remove fatty acids that the cow uses. The omasum acts much like the rumen with fatty acids but it also helps the cow to absorb electrolytes, water, sodium and potassium. Lastly, the abomasum breaks down proteins before the waste passes to the small intestine.


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The udder is separated into four parts. These parts contain capillaries, blood vessels, ligaments, secretory tissue and ducts. All of these parts work together to produce the cow’s milk.

Reproductive Tract

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A cow’s reproductive tract is shaped like the letter “Y”. Multiple births are common in cattle, as the shape of the uterus aids in conceiving more than one calf at a time. Every time a cow conceives, the embryos have a predetermined area in which to attach.

Amazing Cow Facts

Parts from cattle hearts have been used in human heart surgeries. A cow’s heart pumps an amazing 6,000 gallons of blood to produce 100 gallons of milk.