Foul Fowl


Chicken intestines

Chicken intestines (Photo credit, Caroline Barrett)

Chicken intestines (Photo credit, Caroline Barrett)

This week I’ll inform you on a bird’s intestines, namely, the chicken’s.  A chicken’s intestines occupy the posterior (or caudal) part of the body. The small intestine is long and relatively uniform in shape and size. Interestingly, there is also no dividing line between the middle (jejunum) and final section of intestine (ileum).  The jejunum has loose coils around the mesentery.  Also, it has thin walls so its content appears green.  The short colon lies ventral to the synsacrum (fused lumbar vertebrae) and opens into the cloaca (passage for fecal material) runs ventral to (below) the vertebrae and terminates in the coprodeum (deepest part of the cloaca).  Amino acids and glucose can be absorbed here.  Two caeca (pouches at the begining of the large intestine) from the ileocaecal junction run with the ileum caudally.  And they extend towards the liver then fold back on themselves. The mesentery runs between the caeca then on towards the ileum. It often contains dark colored material. There are three parts of each caecum. It is where the bacterial breakdown of cellulose occurs.  If the intestines are healthy, chyme from the caeca are emptied a few times per day.  A bird’s digestive system is a lot different than a mammal’s.  Which would be expected, as they are foul.

To see more chicken anatomy, click here.

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