Tour the Poultry Digestive System

It is important to understand how a chicken or other fowl digests its food. Here’s a quick tour of how food moves through their digestive tract.

  • Mouth: It all starts here.
  • Esophagus (Gullet):Transports food from the mouth to the stomach.
  • Crop: A pouch in the esophagus used to store food temporarily before moving it on to the stomach.
  • Stomach (Proventriculus or “Gizzard”): Principally the organ where food is broken into smaller units. It has two parts: the proventriculus for storage and the gizzard. The gizzard is a muscular part of the stomach that uses grit to grind grains and fiber into smaller particles.
  • Small Intestine: Aids in digestion and nutrient absorption. Composed of the duodenum, jejunum and ileum. 
  • Liver: The largest glandular organ in the body. Aids in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
  • Ceca: Bacterial action in the ceca helps break down undigested food passing through the intestine. The ceca turns into the large intestine, which connects with the  cloaca.
  • Large Intestine: Functions primarily to absorb water, dry out indigestible foods and eliminate waste products. 
  • Cloaca: Where the digestive, urinary and reproductive systems meet. 
  • Urinary System: Consists of two kidneys and two ureters. The kidneys are located in the pelvic bones. They filter waste from the blood and pass it through the ureter to the outside via the cloaca/vent. 
  • Vent: The external opening of the cloaca that passes waste to the outside.

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