Things to Wonder from the Indiana State Fair

These are the answers for some of the “Things to Wonder” from the Indiana State Fair Wonder Trail. If you haven’t followed the Wonder Trail, make sure to check it out on your next trip to the Indiana State Fair.”

Listed below are the “Things” we are wondering about:

How many compartments does a cow’s stomach have?
Four—the rumen, reticulum, omasum, and abomasum. The rumen is the first and largest chamber where food is fermented and cud is produced. It’s also the stomach chamber that gives ruminant animals (like cows, goats, sheep, and deer) their name. The abomasum is the stomach chamber most similar to the stomach of monogastric animals ( “one stomach” animals like humans, dogs, pigs, and horses).

How long will a cow chew on their cud?
A cow will chew each bite of food they take twice—once when she firsts eats it and once again when she belches up a “cud,” chews it, and re-swallows (gross to you, tasty to cows!). The cud is produced in the rumen (the first chamber of the stomach).

What state is second in the nation in ice cream production?
Indiana! The largest ice cream plant in Indiana is the Edy’s plant in Fort Wayne.

How many pounds of cow’s milk does it take for one pound of cheese?
Ten pounds (about 1.2 gallons) of milk makes one pound of cheese.

What are curds anyway?
Curds are one of the steps of the cheese making process—after the fresh milk is curdled and the good bacteria are added to create the flavor of the cheese, curds (the solid, more ‘cheesy’ looking part) and liquid whey are produced. The whey is drained off so the curds can be stretched, cheddared, or washed, depending on what type of cheese is being made. Or you can just eat the squeaky cheese curds—either fresh or fried.

What foods help build your body’s framework?
Foods containing calcium and protein help to the build the bones and muscles that keep your body strong. Milk and dairy foods are amazing sources of both calcium and protein. Dairy foods are the number one source of calcium in the American diet, a mineral that is especially important for growing bones and healthy aging. A single 8 oz. glass of milk contains eight grams of protein.

What is the most requested but least donated item at U.S. food banks?
Fluid milk! Because of challenges with shelf-life and storage, the average person depending on a food bank for their meals receives only one gallon of milk each year. America’s dairy farmers are working to change that—visit to donate a milk to needy families in your area.

How long does it take to milk a cow?
Using a modern, gentle milking machine it takes about five minutes to milk a cow. The machines don’t hurt the cows and the cows are normally excited to go in and get milked—they know when it’s time!

Why do some cows wear pedometers?
Cows wear pedometers so their farmers can keep tabs on their health. Cows normally spend up to 14 hours a day taking naps and chewing their cud, so if she is suddenly much more active or much less it could be an early sign that she is feeling under the weather and needs veterinary attention.

If you could create a new plant to grow what would it be?
What do you think? Maybe after this crazy summer we’ve had in Indiana it should be a kind of plant that can grow in standing water and loves lots of rain! Of course, we sometimes don’t get enough rain so maybe it also needs to tolerate really dry conditions and be tough enough to battle off weeds and hungry insects.