Formation of the egg
Reproductive organs of thehenThe egg is formed gradually over a period of about 25 hours. Many organs and systemshelp to convert raw materials from the food eaten by the hen into the varioussubstances that become part of the egg.
The hen, unlike most animals, has only one functional ovary - the left one - situated inthe body cavity near the backbone. At the time of hatching, the female chick has up to4000 tiny ova (reproductive cells), from some of which full-sized yolks may developwhen the hen matures. Each yolk (ovum) is enclosed in a thin-walled sac, or follicle,attached to the ovary. This sac is richly supplied with blood.
The mature yolk is released when the sac ruptures, and is received by the funnel of theleft oviduct (the right oviduct is not functional). The left oviduct is a coiled or folded tubeabout 80 cm in length. It is divided into five distinct sections, each with a specificfunction, as summarised in table 1.
Functions of various different sections of the hen's oviduct