Ask the Expert: Chicken Skeletal System

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Do Chickens Have Ribs?

I hope this finds you well. I have a question. It may seem like a dumb question to you, but it’s something I’ve never thought of, even though I’ve eaten a lot of chicken. So you can help with this.

In the dining hall, we are served a piece of meat called a “chicken riblet.” Do chickens have ribs, or is this just part of the breast?

Rickey Wyatt, North Carolina

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Hi Rickey,

Yes, chickens do have ribs. We just featured a series on the biology of the chicken. In that series, the skeletal system was discussed. The author, Thomas L. Fuller, described the rib cage best. His information is quoted below.

“There are seven pairs of ribs that originated from the thoracic vertebrae forming the rib cage. All but the first and second pairs attach to the sternum in a unique fashion. Again adaptation for flight mandates a strong rib cage called the uncinate process. This process involves hooked flaps that overlay and connect adjacent ribs by a ligament to avoid collapse of the thoracic cavity (ribcage) during flight.”

Find the story here:

Part Four: The Skeletal System

Good question!

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