Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chicken Butts Drive Me Nuts!


It's hard to believe we are so far into January and egg production has been ticking away like clockwork. The chickens are happy when its not too cold and they can go outside and enjoy the sun and ice-free steer lot. This exposure also allows the chickies to be more photogenic.

A sight I enjoy seeing are the chicken butts sticking up in the air, especially when they eat from the steer stuffer, like in the picture above. I think my favorite part of the chicken is the butt. (Some of you may find this weird, but if you REALLY know me, you aren't surprised!) I like the soft fluffy feathers on their bottoms, which you can see well on the main picture of this blog. I also love to watch the chickens run away and see their butts waddle back and forth.

I got to thinking about the importance of a chicken's booty. Obviously it's where the egg comes from. If you watch my roosters for any length of time you know it's where he, let's just say, makes a baby chick. It's also used for excretion. I got to looking around a little about the butt and I found either too little information or some person's doctorate thesis paper for Ag students. So I'll share with you all the notes that I jotted down. I found the following information at:
www.poultry/ and

The butt hole, for lack of a better term, is typically referred to as the "vent" or "cloaca". It is the site where the egg and feces are expelled. Sounds kind of unsanitary, right? Actually the vent is made up of 3 compartments, all separated by a membrane that acts as valves. This way, poo can build up for  awhile before the act of defecating so that a hen can sit on her eggs for extended periods of time. The smallest of these "compartments" is called the urodeum and this is where the egg and urine are held. The end part of the vent is called the proctodeum. Here, the poo and urine meet up to pass as chicken droppings. I did learn that the dark color in chicken poo is food excrement and the white part is the urine. You learn something new everyday!

The egg enters the vent small end first and rotates in the vent so it is passed with the bigger end first. Problems can occur with/in the vent. Sometimes a hen can be "bound up" with an egg. In this case she can't pass a large egg and needs help to do so. You can keep her in warm water for 30 minutes to help her pass the egg. Vent Gleet sounds like an oozing nasty mess on what little I read about it. You can also have a prolapsed vent, much like a prolapsed uterus in other animals. This involves pushing the vent back into the chicken, rubbing hemorrhoid cream on her butt, giving her a strong drink and tucking her into bed for the night saying, "Sorry, sweetie, but you REALLY had a bad day!"

I think it's pretty cool to have one hole serving THREE purposes. And everyone thinks humans are so efficient.... So the next time you see a chickie butt, you'll have a new reason to appreciate it other than it being so darned cute!


Choct, Minigan. "Reproduction." PoultryHub.Org 18 Oct. 2010. Poultry Cooperative Research Center CRC). 19 Jan. 2012

Marshall, Rob. "Vent Gleet." Backyard Poultry (2010) 19 Jan. 2012

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