Why do goats Chew their cud?

You must have heard that goats chew cud but do you know what it means and its importance? Don’t worry if you can’t answer the questions because this page contains everything you should know about it.

In this article, we discuss the age baby goats start chewing cud and the benefits of chewing cud. We equally answer some frequently asked questions about goat chewing their cud.

Cud is a softened food that ruminating animals bring back to the mouth from the first stomach for further chewing and final digestion.

Ruminant animals have a four-chambered stomach. They would store some food in the first stomach after eating them because they felt the need to grind them later.

They will return the partly digested feed to the mouth after some minutes for proper grinding or chewing before swallowing it to the last stomach for final digestion.

Cud is a partly-digested soft food, while the process of bringing the cud to the mouth is known as regurgitating. Hope you get that now.

What does it mean when a goat is chewing its cud?

Goats and many mammals chew cud. Cud-chewing, also known as ruminating, is common to animals with a four-chamber stomach which find it difficult to digest some feeds at once.

So, a goat chewing its cud means the goat is ruminating. It means the goat is chewing a partly-chewed or undigested food after swallowing and storing it in the first chamber stomach for a while.

This is why goats, sheep, and cows are ruminating animals. They always chew something.

Why do goats Chew their cud?

Goats chew cud due to the benefits below:

  • It aids digestion

Goats and other ruminants can’t digest hay and grasses without chewing and grinding them for long periods.

Hence, they will swallow it and pass it over to the first chamber of the stomach for some digestive process.

They will return the cud to the mouth for further grinding. The process of re-chewing the cud guarantees seamless digestion.

  • It enhances adequate nutrients absorption

Aside from aiding digestion, ruminating or chewing cud helps goats collect all the vitamins and nutrients in the feed before digestion.

Chewing the cud over time means the goats will absorb all the nutrients needed for growth and absolute wellness.

When do baby goats start chewing cud?

The baby goat should start chewing cud after consuming hays, grasses, and grains regularly for a few days.

It could be five, six, or seven weeks after birth, depending on your weaning method and timing.

However, it’s safe to say that most baby goats start chewing cud in the fifth or eighth week since it’s advisable to start giving them nutritious hay and grasses in the third or fourth week.

Do baby goats chew their cud?

Yes, all healthy goats chew their cud after eating feeds requires much grinding before digestion. In a nutshell, all healthy baby goats should start chewing cud between the fifth and eighth week.

At what age do goats start chewing cud?

Some baby goats start chewing cud in the 6th week, while others begin in the seventh week. It depends on what they eat and how well you treat them after birth.

As stated earlier, your baby goats should start ruminating between the fourth and eighth week.

Why is my goat not chewing cud?

Below are some reasons why your goats don’t chew cud:

  • Illness

Disease or infection can prevent your goats from chewing cud.

Always observe your goats so you can detect any unhealthy symptoms as soon as possible.

  • Bloating

Bloating is a deadly digestive system disorder that could claim the goat’s life if not treated early.

Bloating is a health complication that occurs when harmful gasses fill every portion of the stomach or rumen.

Though goats belch regularly, they aren’t safe from uncontrolled and dangerous gases released in the stomach.

A quick bloating remedy includes raising the for eliminating. Others are baking soda application and massaging the stomach.

Call your vet’s attention if you notice any bloating symptoms in goats, such as restlessness, loss of appetite, and constant salivation.

  • Acidosis

Acidosis is another reason why your goats won’t chew cud. It’s a condition in which the goat’s stomach pH becomes acidic due to poor carbohydrate fermentation.

Also known as grain overload, a sudden and drastic change to the goat’s diet is the primary cause of acidosis.

Avoid sudden changes to the goats’ diet. Don’t add too much corn to their diet, but ensure they eat hay and pastures in a moderate quantity.

You need a veterinarian’s swift intervention to save the life of an affected goat.

  • Rumen’s Blockage

Rumen’s blockage is digestive chaos that could lead to the goat’s inability to chew cud. Plastic bags, tin, and nylon can block its rumen.

Rumen’s blockage is a critical condition that could lead to death if you don’t involve an experienced veterinarian.

As much as it’s difficult to monitor what your goats eat in an open pasture, pay attention to their countenance to detect any slight unwanted symptoms.

What can I give my baby goat to chew?

Give your baby goats hay pellets, pasture, or grasses. At least 15% of the baby goat’s diet should contain all these food as they improve its overall growth and development.

Similarly, 5% of the diet should contain grains, also known as goat feed or concentrate.

However, ensure the grains, hay pellets, and the rest are in chewable and digestible form. Ensure your baby goats are at least two weeks old before giving them the feed.

How long do goats chew their cud?

There is no specific figure for all goats because each goat has a unique cud-chewing habit.

That said, every healthy and mature goat should chew cud for about 30 minutes daily.

Do baby goats ruminate?

Yes. Baby goats ruminate after eating grasses or hay, which requires more than a one-time chewing session.


Now that you know why goats won’t chew the cud, try everything possible to keep your goats healthy and active.

Call the vet’s attention when necessary. Give them enough fluid and feed to help improve their growth.


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