The digestive function of animals depends on two processes: nutrition and digestion.
A better understanding of the digestive system can help the breeder become more efficient in feeding, have a better understanding of animal health and problems that may occur.
The processes in which nutrients enter the animal body from the environment and become available to animal microorganisms are complex and interesting. In the science of animal nutrition, knowing the need of animals for nutrients, receiving feed by animals and using it in the animal’s body is investigated.
Importance of understanding digestive processes
Most of the food that is consumed by animals is often complex and insoluble; Therefore, the goal of digestion processes is to successively convert feed materials into simple and soluble absorbable materials. All animals have specialized digestive systems designed to meet their nutritional needs. The digestive system can be defined as a tube that extends from the animal’s mouth to the anus and is made by expansions and contractions in all its dimensions to form segments that each perform their unique function in the digestive process. they do.
The main steps in the digestive process
Taking food into the mouth:
Horse: performed by strong and flexible upper lips and incisors through shaking movements of the head or neck.
Cow: It uses its long and muscular tongue to transfer food (grass) into its mouth and cuts it between the lower incisors and the upper gums by moving its head and neck upwards.
Sheep: It uses its mobile lips instead of tongue to gather food in its mouth.
Horses, sheep and cows drink water by sucking liquid into their mouth with the help of tongue and pharynx.
Poultry: Picks up food with its toothless beak and passes the food over the tip of its tongue to prepare for swallowing.
This process starts immediately after placing the food in the mouth. Chewing involves grinding and crushing larger food items by the animal’s teeth in the upper and lower jaws in preparation for swallowing. The difference in the chewing structure of different animals depends on the different types of teeth and their functions.
Saliva secretion and swallowing
Chewing food in the animal’s mouth causes the secretion of saliva. Saliva acts as a lubricant so that food is easily swallowed. Swallowing is the transfer of food from the mouth to the lower part of the esophagus. This process is done with a series of muscle movements by raising the tongue and widening the throat. The swallowed food then goes to the esophagus and then to the stomach. The amount of food ingested varies by species.
It involves the breakdown of ingested food into simpler substances that can be absorbed by the animal’s body. Different species of animals digest certain types of food than others. The variation in digestion is due to differences in the digestive system in animals (monogastrics, ruminants, birds and semi-ruminants).
The process or act of entering the blood stream of digested products. Absorption of digestible substances occurs mostly in the small intestine and in some animals in the large intestine. Finger-like protrusions in the intestines called villi are the main organs of absorption that bring digested food elements into the bloodstream. The elements absorbed in the bloodstream are transferred to body tissues, undergo metabolic processes and are used by the animal for growth, repair and energy.
The last stage of the digestive process leads to excretion. Excretion is the process or act of emptying undigested food (faeces) from the animal’s body through the anus.
- Schoening, H.W. (2010). THE DIGESTIVE PROCESSES IN DOMESTIC ANIMALS.