Growth and Development of the Ruminant Gastro-Intestinal Tract
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Growth and Development of the Ruminant Gastro-Intestinal Tract. GI Tract development begins very early in gestation. Ruminant enters life as a simple stomached animal; forestomach (reticulorumen, omasum) is non-functioning at birth Only a few weeks are required for activation

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Growth and Development of the Ruminant Gastro-Intestinal Tract

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Growth and development of the ruminant gastro intestinal tract

Growth and Development of the Ruminant Gastro-Intestinal Tract

  • GI Tract development begins very early in gestation.

  • Ruminant enters life as a simple stomached animal; forestomach

    (reticulorumen, omasum) is non-functioning at birth

    • Only a few weeks are

      required for activation

      of the forestomach


Growth and development of the ruminant gastro intestinal tract

Growth and Development of the Ruminant Gastro-Intestinal Tract

  • Rumen papillae begin growth and

    development early in gestation.

  • The process begins as a capillary

    loop at about 3 months of gestation.

  • The capillary loop pushes up the

    lamina to create the papillae of the

    ruminal surface which is detectable

    by the 5th month of gestation.


Growth and development of the ruminant gastro intestinal tract

Growth and Development of the Ruminant Gastro-Intestinal Tract

  • Individual GI tract organs develop at different rates during gestation

  • Early in gestation the

    rumen, reticulum and

    omasum develop faster

    than the abomasum.

  • Later in gestation the

    abomasum develops

    rapidly, so that at birth

    the abomasum is equal in

    weight to the entire

    forestomach.


Growth and development of the ruminant gastro intestinal tract

Growth and Development of the Ruminant Gastro-Intestinal Tract

At the Time of Birth

  • Rumen is small and flaccid, with a very thin wall. Is non-functioning

    at birth.

  • Reticulum is one-third the size of the rumen at birth. Also has a very

    thin wall. Is non-functioning at birth.

  • Omasum is a small bulbous structure on the abomasum. Is non-

    functioning at birth.

  • Abomasum is well developed and highly functional at birth.

    Comprises about 70% of stomach capacity at birth.


Growth and development of the ruminant gastro intestinal tract

Growth and Development of the Ruminant Gastro-Intestinal Tract

  • After birth, all digestive organs

    continue to grow, with the rumen,

    reticulum, omasum and small

    intestines growing at the greatest

    rates.


Growth and development of the ruminant gastro intestinal tract

Growth and Development of the Ruminant Gastro-Intestinal Tract

  • Under normal conditions, ruminants have access to vegetation from

    birth. Diet can have a large impact on development of the GI tract.

  • Three phases ruminant GI tract development

    • 0 to 3 weeks of age: non-ruminant phase

    • 3 to 8 weeks of age: transitional phase

    • 8 weeks onward: adult ruminant

Figure is stomach of new born calf. Note size of abomasum relative to rumen.


Growth and development of the ruminant gastro intestinal tract

Growth and Development of the Ruminant Gastro-Intestinal Tract

Effect of Diet on Gastro-Intestinal Tract Development


Growth and development of the ruminant gastro intestinal tract

Growth and Development of the Ruminant Gastro-Intestinal Tract

  • Given access to pasture, ruminants begin to graze in the first week

    or two of life.

  • By four weeks of age:

    • Rumen is 4 to 8 times its birth weight.

    • Still an elastic sac without thickness of walls.

  • By eight weeks of age:

    • Animal’s body weight has doubled.

    • Period of rapid rate of rumen development.

    • Animal is heavily dependant upon the products of rumen

      fermentation.

    • By 8 to 10 weeks of age, development of the

      reticulorumen with respect to body weight is complete


    Growth and development of the ruminant gastro intestinal tract

    Growth and Development of the Ruminant Gastro-Intestinal Tract

    • Tissues of the stomach consist of:

      • Outer layer of connective tissue (serous membrane).

      • Muscular tunic: aids in mixing digesta.

      • Rumen mucosa: inner surface of the mucosa is the

        epithelium.

  • Rumen epithelium serves in the absorption and metabolism of

    minerals and volatile fatty acids (VFA’s). Also protects the

    underlying rumen mucosa tissue.

  • Rumen papillae develop from the epithelium. Papillae increase the

    surface area for absorption of VFA’s.


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