Studies on the anaerobic cecal microflora of the 5-week-old chicken were made to determine a suitable roll-tube medium for enumeration and isolation of the bacterial population, to determine effects of medium components on recovery of total anaerobes, and to identify the predominant bacterial groups. The total number of microorganisms in cecal contents determined by direct microscope cell counts varied (among six samples) from 3.83 × 1010 to 7.64 × 1010 per g. Comparison of different nonselective media indicated that 60% of the direct microscope count could be recovered with a rumen fluid medium (M98-5) and 45% with medium 10. Deletion of rumen fluid from M98-5 reduced the total anaerobic count by half. Colony counts were lower if chicken cecal extract was substituted for rumen fluid in M98-5. Supplementing medium 10 with liver, chicken fecal, or cecal extracts improved recovery of anaerobes slightly. Prereduced blood agar media were inferior to M98-5. At least 11 groups of bacteria were isolated from high dilutions (10-9) of cecal material. Data on morphology and physiological and fermentation characteristics of 90% of the 298 isolated strains indicated that these bacteria represented species of anaerobic gram-negative cocci, facultatively anaerobic cocci and streptococci, Peptostreptococcus, Propionibacterium, Eubacterium, Bacteroides, and Clostridium. The growth of many of these strains was enhanced by rumen fluid, yeast extract, and cecal extract additions to basal media. These studies indicate that some of the more numerous anaerobic bacteria present in chicken cecal digesta can be isolated and cultured when media and methods that have been developed for ruminal bacteria are employed.