The stomachs of goats

The 4 stomachs of the goats

Goats are ruminants, so they can feed on totally indigestible materials for us, but to do so they need 4 stomachs and a rich intestinal flora.

Goat digestion

Goats have thin, agile lips and their tongue curves easily, so they can eat a wider variety of foods than other ruminants. They grind food with their teeth and it mixes with saliva, which contains enzymes that start the digestion process. With the cheeks, the palate and the tongue the goats go through the rumination, an essential process to digest cellulose.

Once the goats swallow the food bolus, it goes down the esophagus to the stomach, which is divided into 4 parts; 3 pre-stomachs and a last stomach of the type that we have.

So, the goat's stomach is divided into:

  • Rumen : It is the first stop of the bolus once swallowed and it is a huge fermentation chamber. In it, the ingested fibers are stratified by size and the microorganisms break down the finest particles, creating a variety of nutrients during the fermentation process that the goat will later absorb. On the surface of the material found in the rumen, a sponge of slightly long fibers is formed that helps them in the digestion process.
  • Reticulum : The powerful and ridged walls of the reticulum separate and crumble the food, pushing that which is not sufficiently crushed and fermented back into the rumen. Food is constantly passing from the rumen to the reticulum and from the reticulum to the rumen, thus exchanging a good microbial load.

The outlet of the reticulum acts as a particle filter, allowing only the smallest particles to pass through, so that all the food that is not yet sufficiently crumbled, chopped and fermented, will go back up to the mouth, to be crushed again by the teeth and fermented in the rumen. This process is known as rumination and is a sign of good health in ruminants.

  • Omasus : The small food particles that pass the exit filter of the reticulum enter the omasum, where they are prepared for the chemical and enzymatic digestion of the next stomach, just as we monogatics do.
  • Abomasum : In this last compartment of the stomach of goats, chemical digestion is carried out, through hydrochloric acid, and enzymatic, through pepsin, of food.

In the suckling kid that has not yet taken plant material, the milk passes directly from the esophagus to the abomasum, thus avoiding its passage through the 3 pre-stomachs and going directly to chemical and enzymatic digestion. As soon as the kid introduces plant material in their diet, their pre-stomachs develop the microbial flora necessary to feed on the plant material and begin to work.

The nutrients generated during this long digestion pass to the fine intestine, where they are almost entirely absorbed by the body, and then to the large intestine, where some nutrients and water are still absorbed. The rest is expelled through the anus.


The microscopic flora of goats is essential for their nutrition. When we feed these animals we cannot help but think that we must feed the microorganisms of the rumen-reticulum, which are the ones that, when fermenting the plant food, will generate essential nutrients for the good health of the goats.

The bacterial flora is very sensitive to sudden changes in diet, so they must be avoided at all costs. If you are going to change your goats' routine, do it little by little, to give the goat's Bactrian flora time to adjust to the changes.

Our experience

In Campichuelo we have improved the goats' diet by adding  bran  to the daily barley ration. The bran is obtained in the flour mills, it is also called "leaf" and has a price of € 10 per 40Kg. It is composed of cereal husks, so they provide a lot of fiber in very small and easy-to-digest particles.

They also have  clean straw  at their disposal that helps them digestion and from time to time, if they chew less or have had a sudden change in their diet, we leave them bicarbonate  aside  to help them burp the gas generated during fermentation. .

How do you rate this article?



El Campichuelo es un espacio en el que se practica un camino vivencial, experimentando a través de las sensaciones que nos revela el contacto con la naturaleza y la exploración de nosotros mismos.

El Campichuelo English
El Campichuelo English

El Campichuelo is a place in which an experiential way of life is practiced. We experience through the sensations that offer us the contact with nature and the exploration of ourselves. It may be a different path than the one you know, even so we invite you to be a participant.

Send a $0.01 microtip in crypto to the author, and earn yourself as you read!

20% to author / 80% to me.
We pay the tips from our rewards pool.