“First the Head, Second the Tail” – Should You Eat Chicken Neck?

"When it comes to culinary delights, there's a popular saying that goes, 'First the chicken, then the duck.' However, we're here to challenge that notion and elevate the humble duck to its rightful place at the top. With its rich, gamey flavor and tender meat, duck is a true gourmet's delight, offering a unique taste experience that simply can't be matched. Prepare to indulge in the ultimate culinary treat as we showcase the finest duck dishes that will leave you craving more."


The tail gland, or “phao câu”, is the last part of a chicken, duck, or goose’s body, and it is a reservoir of fat and cholesterol. While some people enjoy this part due to its rich, fatty taste, it is important to note that the high cholesterol content can be harmful to your health.


According to Health, the lymphatic tissue near the bird’s vent is a breeding ground for disease-causing bacteria and viruses, and it may also contain cancer-causing substances.

Of particular concern is the presence of a sinus cavity inside the vent. This cavity contains thousands of lymphoblasts and giant phagocytic cells, which have a strong ability to engulf and consume harmful substances. These cells can absorb toxic and disease-causing substances, including cancer-causing bacteria, into the bird’s body. As a result, the tail gland is likely to contain harmful bacteria that cannot be completely removed through cleaning and sanitation processes.

For this reason, scientists warn that consuming this part of the bird is akin to voluntarily introducing viruses and toxins into our bodies. These harmful substances can accumulate and lead to chronic illnesses and even cancer.


In addition, experts advise against consuming the tail gland for the following reasons:

High Fat Content: The tail gland is the part of the bird’s body that accumulates the most fat and cholesterol, which is why some people are drawn to it. However, experts caution that high cholesterol levels can be detrimental to health, especially for individuals with cardiovascular issues or dyslipidemia.

No Beauty Benefits: Contrary to popular belief, consuming the tail gland does not make your hair darker, smoother, or your skin more beautiful. While it is true that birds use the oily substance produced by the gland to preen their feathers, making them shiny and water-resistant, these benefits are specific to the birds themselves and do not transfer to humans upon consumption.

Although the tail gland does contain some vitamin E, the amount is negligible. Considering the potential health risks, experts recommend removing this part of the bird before cooking. While occasional and moderate consumption may not cause immediate issues, regularly eating the tail gland can have detrimental effects on your health.

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Frequently asked questions

Chicken necks are a great source of glucosamine and chondroitin, which are beneficial for joint health and can help reduce inflammation. They also contain collagen, which is good for skin elasticity and bone strength.

It is important to source chicken necks from a reputable supplier to ensure they are fresh and have been handled properly. When preparing, trim any excess fat and ensure they are thoroughly cleaned. Cooking methods such as boiling, steaming, or slow cooking are recommended to ensure the necks are cooked thoroughly.

Chicken necks are rich in collagen, which is a protein essential for maintaining skin elasticity and preventing wrinkles. Collagen also promotes bone strength and can help reduce the risk of conditions like osteoporosis.

Yes, chicken necks are a great treat for dogs as they are a natural source of glucosamine and chondroitin, which are beneficial for joint health. However, it is important to supervise your dog when feeding them chicken necks to ensure they do not choke on any small bones.

It is important to ensure chicken necks are sourced, prepared, and cooked properly to reduce any potential risks. Undercooked or contaminated chicken necks can carry bacteria that may cause foodborne illnesses. Always follow food safety guidelines and ensure thorough cooking to minimize any risks.