You are preparing for a Poultry Skillathon next week. Your advisor has suggested you study the parts of a chicken's reproductive system.

Study the labeled photo below to review the parts and read the description below the photo. After you are finished, go on to the next page to do an exercise designed to help you remember the names.

Image from John Anderson, Dept. of Animal Sciences, The Ohio State University. Used with permission.

Looking at the photo, we begin at the ovary. The ovary is a cluster of various sizes of developing follicles. The follicle is a sack that contains the developing yolk. It takes about 10 days for a yolk to grow from a very small size to the normal size found in eggs. The oviduct is a long tube containing many blood vessels and glands. The function of the oviduct is to produce the albumen, shell membranes and the shell around the yolk to complete the egg. Normally, a yolk is released when the follicle ruptures (breaks). Then the yolk enters a thin-walled infundibulum, the first part of the reproductive tract (oviduct). It is in the infundibulum where the egg can become fertilized if sperm are present. The egg then passes to the magnum where albumen (egg white) is placed around the yolk. The egg then passes to the isthmus where the shell membranes are placed around the egg. The egg then moves to the shell gland (uterus) where a hard calcified shell is placed around the developing egg. The egg passes quickly through the vagina just before it is laid.