Thursday, September 2, 2010

What is a "Cloaca"? And Do I Have One?

The answer to the second question is no, I do not.

The answer to the first question is very interesting to me. As some of you may know, I am not a farm girl. I may have been a counterfeit cowgirl once, but that's not the same thing at all.

I recently read an article by my friend Fred Miller that made me very curious about chickens.

Fred made some remark in this piece about eggs coming out of a chicken's butt and I was shocked that Fred didn't know about hen's vagina's, which unlike hen's teeth, I figured were a sure thing.

In fact, whenever I have worked on a poor bald chicken or turkey and pulled the stuff from that cavity between it's legs, I have felt a little sad about those chickens or turkeys and their missing vagina. It's bad enough getting killed, decapitated, plucked, stuffed and cooked but to have your private parts taken too! That's disgusting.

Well, I come to find out that chickens do not have a vagina. They have a "cloaca", a Latin word for "sewer". The chicken's waste and reproduction and egg laying all comes out of the same place, (or goes in the same place in the case of semen).

Oddly, roosters seem to have a cloaca too, but they also have an internal penis that comes out to deposit semen into the hen's cloaca for a few seconds. They call this a "cloaca kiss" which I find kind of sweet.

I still wonder what happens to the cloaca of these dead birds,but in truth, I might not want to know.

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