Incredible, Expanding Cow Food

See how the amount of moisture held in hay and grass can actually keep cows from eating enough nutrients – and why drying those forages is so important.

When you boil pasta at home, you start by dropping dry, hard noodles into a pot of boiling water. By the time they’re done cooking, they’ve softened and grown in size, taking up more space in the pot. Kind of like sponges, which expand when they get wet.

Similar to pasta or sponges, natural forages for cows like hay or fresh grass have moisture inside of them, meaning a cow might eat its fill of them before it’s actually consumed enough nutrients for a proper meal. And the amount of moisture can differ from grain to grain.

In this activity, we will use sponges to explore how adding and removing moisture from food sources can impact the amount of nutrients the animal receives.

Grades 3-8
30 min
Animal Science