Picture Oprah, when she announces an important visitor to her show, well I'm announcing "cecal poo"!!! Just like she does, smiling that big smile.
Ever smelled cecal poo? Cecal poo is a particular type of chicken poo, hee, hee. Probably many have had this pleasure (kidding, it is not nice), and many have not -- I would suspect most have not ever had that encounter, in any form, smiling. It is the worst of the worst. I think it is even more worse than that of the brooding hen or duck, ich.
Well, if you are feint of heart, I would suggest that you do not read any further. Caught your attention yet?
I am a very basic, down-to-earth type gal, nothing bothers me (well, vomit does). I can do many things that many people cannot do, like go down to the basement suite every morning and clean up all the poo from my 3 different ages of chicks. This is a morning routine (and my Husband helps too), so that we have the ability to keep our chicks in our house for some time. I must take a moment in this fleeting point in time, to explain something. Or should I say to recount some opinions.
I have had many people to visit us over the festive season. And every single one has had the desire to come and see what their sibling/cousin/auntie, call me what you will, has been up to in the basement with raising so many chicks. Not a single person has not left that area without an enormous smile on their face. They have had a wonderful experience. The experience of seeing how nice little chickies can be. And they are friendly little boys and girls. I have asked each and every one if there is any detection of any not-so-nice smell. Narry a one has said that there was any other scent than that of nice. Some even likened it to a walk in a forest of a warm spring day. You know those days, those days when the saps are beginning to run again, the scent of the forest, that smell of the pines and many other conifers and evergreens. It is a beautiful scent, the smell of fresh. Well, shiver me timbers.....that is what my basement smells like. Very nice, very clean and full of little baby chicks, all looking up at ya and wondering what in the devil you are going to do today. Some may turn their noses to what I am up to, some will think me a little off the wall, some will give me the thumbs up. That doesn't matter to me, I just want to share my little story. Right, where was I, before I began this convoluted story.....right....cecal poo!!!
This late afternoon, shortly before it was time to go to the great outdoors to close in my chicken houses for the night. I decided to pay the chicks a visit, as I do every day, many times. They are my babies, smiling and they really need lots of mummy attentions.
I was in with the now-6-week old chicks, only four of them. The Australorpe decided it would be the first to give me some attention. I smile as it jumps onto my back, and I am kneeling on my bended knees, greeting them up close and personal, they like that. I was removing some of the poo so that I would not kneel in it. Not much in there really, it had already had every single piece already picked up earlier. The hardwood shavings are nice, they absorb moisture and never once has my hand become ichy with manure. Oh rats, ramblin'.....sorry, these things I cannot help at times. My Husband is speaking to the other littler ones, 6 days old now. I feel something warm on my back. Rats again. Don't they know better. But this is not that normal, beautiful little chick poo, you know, the ones that are like a short fat worm, very short worm, with a dollop of grey on top, smiling. It is that cecal poo, that horrible, stinky cecal poo that looks nothing like the nice poos, but nothing short of how I would describe (and have heard it also described as, so I may be copying a little) -- butterscotch pudding. Eeeeks!!! My Husband wipes off this nasty, horrible stinky stuff (this really does not smell anything like what a "regular" poo smells like). I carry on to greet and hang out with the birds. A few minutes pass, it is time now to go. But wait, I can still smell this cecal poo. How? I reach to my back to feel if he forgot some, yep, on the other shoulder too, no wonder. He wipes it off, it is gone, but it still smells. No. Could not be in my hair could it? Feel the bottom part of my hair, ich, kind of sticky, and now my hand is smelly. Oh brother, just a day in the life. I will shower after I put the adult chickens away.
I walk out to the chicken houses, I can still smell this cecal poo, I know it has a tiny portion stuck in my hair, really smelly. I am now almost gagging, thinking about this cecal poo in my hair, I feel faint, smiling. OK girl, be tough, it can't be that bad, it is only cecal poo. It is only chick crumbles, nothing else, it could be worse. I am still smelling this smell. Well, of course, it is in my hair. With thoughts of horror running through my mind of the smell of this cecal poo, I finish up. As quickly as I can, I head up to our house, and then the shower. I wonder why it smells so bad. I had to wash my hair more than the usual time to get the beautiful aroma of cecal poo removed, but now as I sit, telling my tale, my hair smells nice, no cecal poo. Have that most wonderful and beautiful day, to love with that wonderful health. Cindi
By the way. I know a little bit about cecal poo. Wanna hear? I'll tell you anyways, like it or not, smiling that big smile. I will actually direct quote from some stuff that I was reading....
The ceca contains bacteria that break down anything in the feed that the chicken itself could not break down in its stomach.
Cecum. A blind pouch at the juncture of the small and large intestine (resembles the human appendix); plural: ceca.
Here is another explanation of what the cecum do/es. Copied from the below pdf file. I really and totally now understand why this stuff stinks SO BAD!!!!
Cecal functioning is still only partly understood (McNab 1973, Braun and Duke 1989). Although early investigations searched for a single function of the organ, it is now clear that the cecum has the potential to act in many different ways. And depending on the species involved, the cecal morphology, and the ecological conditions under which a bird lives, those functions can be vitally important to its physiology-perhaps especially so during periods of stress. It is also apparent that the avian cecum can function in a highly efficient manner, even more efficiently than the cecum of most mammalian herbivores in terms of size and fermentation rates
The intestinal type of cecum in birds is a blind-ended sac with a meshwork of long interdigitating villi at its entrance. The majority of cecal villi apparently act as a sieve, allowing fluid and fine particles to enter the cecal lumen as colonic contents are pushed against and selectively past the cecal sphincter by retrograde waves of colonic muscle contraction (Fenna and Boag 1974a). At the same time, this material is prevented from moving up into the ileum by the contracted ileal sphincter. The colonic motility probably also rinses water-soluble substances and fine particles from the colonic contents and pushes them into the ceca (Bjornhag 1989). Because a cecum is blind-ended, its contents can be retained for longer periods than would be possible in the main (small or large) intestine through which digesta move relatively rapidly (e.g., Shibata and Sogou 1982, Clench and Mathias 1992). Held in the ceca, fluid has time to be absorbed and molecules in solution as well as solid particles can be acted on by bacteria, fungi, and other micro-organisms (Duke 1986b). It is also now appreciated that the mixing action produced by cecal wall contractions keeps the contents in general motion; cecal motility also contributes to filling and evacuating the organ (Duke 1986a, Clench and Mathias, unpubl. data). Thus, at different times and under different conditions, the cecum has been found to be a site for fermentation and further digestion of food (especially for breakdown of cellulose), for utilization and absorption of water and nitrogenous components, for microbial action of both beneficial and disease-causing organisms, and as a site for production of immunoglobulins and antibodies.
Study subjects.-Much of what is known about cecal physiology is based on studies of gallinaceous birds and waterfowl: the intestinal type of cecum. These birds (and their ceca) are large enough to study easily. Domestic and semidomestic species (chickens, quail, pheasants; domestic ducks and geese) also are readily available, they are behaviorally more amenable to manipulation, and their economic importance leads to research funding. Unfortunately, however, most domestic birds (notably chickens) have proved to be exceptionally poor models for the study of cecal function. This is probably because, through the genetic changes resulting from domestication, and the almost universal use of commercial, nutritionally complete, poultry feed (even “enhanced” with antibiotics), the average chicken cecum has lost much or all of its natural microflora and -fauna and its potential physiological capabilities (Thomas 1987). A chicken fed on whole natural grains that require more “digestion” produces results more like those from wild birds (unpubl. data). A cecectomized chicken seldom differs significantly from the intact bird in growth or other physiologic indicators (Thornburn and Willcox, 1965). Consequently, older literature abounds with contradictory and confusing reports based on studies of domestic fowl (McNab 1973). A clearer picture of natural cecal function is only now beginning to emerge.
If you want to know even more about the cecum/al of the avian type, this is a really good link.http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/Wilson/v10