Cow Eating The Inside Of A Tree

Cow eating the rotten wood on the inside of the remains of a Willow tree
Cow eating the rotten wood on the inside of the remains of a Willow tree

Cow eating the rotten wood on the inside of the remains of a Willow tree in a field by Fen Causeway in Cambridge.

5 Comments

  1. Tamara says:

    What a pretty cow, and an interesting photo. Regarding what she is eating, however – I’m surprised. First of all, I didn’t think cows would munch on wood; secondly, surely not something rotten, I would think. Do you know anything about this?

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    1. Good observation – I looked up feed for cows, and Aspen wood is fed to cows. Aspen, Poplar, Willow, are all in the same Salicaceae family. The wood that this cow was eating was broken down by natural processes, and cows can digest cellulose, so it fits. One thing I came across was that the salicin found in the bark of trees of this family is what led to the synthesis of salicylic acid, which is the active ingredient in Aspirin. And then the next sentence in what I read was a real aha moment – Aspen… Aspirin 🙂

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  2. Tamara says:

    Ah, what an interesting, curving rabbit hole you discovered! The lightbulb moment regarding Aspen is fun indeed. Who knew about the link to aspirin, eh?

    I still wonder why a cow will eat something rotting, however. I would think instinctively they would stay well away from such material, whether or not the material in question at one point contained a beneficial element.

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    1. Maybe I should have used the words ‘in an advanced state of decomposition’ rather than rotting. Meat can rot in a way that wood does not. I think decomposed wood is super nutritious to a cow – yum yum.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tamara says:

        Hey, that’s interesting, thanks for that added clarification. “Delicious” indeed! 🤩

        Liked by 1 person

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