Rooster
Overview
A rooster, also known as a cockerel, cock or chanticleer
Chanticleer
- Fiction :*A rooster appearing in fables about Reynard The Fox**The Nun's Priest's Tale, a version of Chanticleer and the Fox told in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales**By metonymy, any rooster**A character in the movie Rock-a-Doodle played by Glen Campbell...

, is a male chicken
Chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

 (Gallus gallus) with the female being called a hen. Immature male chickens of less than a year's age are called cockerels. The oldest term is "cock," from Old English coc. The term "rooster" originates from the United States, while in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 the older term "cockerel" is more widely used.
Encyclopedia
A rooster, also known as a cockerel, cock or chanticleer
Chanticleer
- Fiction :*A rooster appearing in fables about Reynard The Fox**The Nun's Priest's Tale, a version of Chanticleer and the Fox told in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales**By metonymy, any rooster**A character in the movie Rock-a-Doodle played by Glen Campbell...

, is a male chicken
Chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

 (Gallus gallus) with the female being called a hen. Immature male chickens of less than a year's age are called cockerels. The oldest term is "cock," from Old English coc. The term "rooster" originates from the United States, while in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 and Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 the older term "cockerel" is more widely used. In North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 "rooster" (a relative neologism) is almost always used, occasionally cockerel. "Cock" is in general use as the name for a male of other species of bird, for example "Cock sparrow." "Roosting" is the action of perching aloft to sleep at night, and is done by both sexes. The rooster is polygamous
Polygamy
Polygamy is a marriage which includes more than two partners...

, but cannot guard several nests of eggs at once. He guards the general area where his hens are nest
Bird nest
A bird nest is the spot in which a bird lays and incubates its eggs and raises its young. Although the term popularly refers to a specific structure made by the bird itself—such as the grassy cup nest of the American Robin or Eurasian Blackbird, or the elaborately woven hanging nest of the...

ing, and will attack other roosters that enter his territory. During the daytime, he often sits on a high perch, usually 4–5 feet off the ground to serve as a lookout for his flock. He will sound a distinctive alarm call if predators are nearby.

Crowing

The rooster is often portrayed as crowing at the break of dawn ("cock-a-doodle-doo") and will almost always start crowing before 4 months of age. He can often be seen sitting on fence posts or other objects, where he crows to proclaim his territory. However, this idea is more romantic than real, as a rooster can and will crow at any time of the day. Some roosters are especially vociferous, crowing almost constantly, while others only crow a few times a day. These differences are dependent both upon the rooster's breed and individual personality. He has several other calls as well, and can cluck, similar to the hen. Roosters will occasionally make a patterned series of clucks to attract hens to a source of food, the same way a mother hen does for her chicks.

Capons

A capon is a castrated rooster. In the caponization procedure, the bird's testes are completely removed; a surgical procedure is required for this as the rooster's sexual organs are internal. As a result of this procedure, certain male physical characteristics will experience stunted development:
  • The comb and wattles cease growing after castration, giving a capon's head a dwarfed appearance.
  • The hackle, tail and saddle feather
    Feather
    Feathers are one of the epidermal growths that form the distinctive outer covering, or plumage, on birds and some non-avian theropod dinosaurs. They are considered the most complex integumentary structures found in vertebrates, and indeed a premier example of a complex evolutionary novelty. They...

    s grow unusually long.


Caponization also affects the disposition of the bird. Removal of the bird's testes eliminates the male sex hormones, lessening the male sex instincts and changing their behaviour: the birds become more docile and less active and tend not to fight.

This procedure produces a unique type of poultry meat which is favoured by a specialized market. The meat of normal uncastrated roosters has a tendency to become coarse, stringy and tough as the birds age. This process does not occur in the capon. As caponized roosters grow more slowly than intact males they accumulate more body fat; the concentration of fat in both the light and dark areas of the capon meat is greater than in that of the uncastrated males; overall, it is often thought that capon meat is more tender, juicy, and flavorful than regular chicken.

In China, the Yangbi Huang breed can grow to be the largest rooster in the Asian continent, up to 35 cm long. This is thought to be caused by the castration of the rooster practised by farmers in Northern China, which affects the hormonal balance.

Cockfight


A cockfight is a contest held in a ring called a cockpit between two gamecock
Gamecock
A gamecock or game fowl is a type of rooster with physical and behavioral traits suitable for cockfighting. Game fowl are more closely related to their wild cousins "jungle fowl"; a shy wild chicken from forests in South Central and Southeastern Asia...

s. Gamecocks are not typical farm chickens. The cocks are specially bred and trained for increased stamina and strength. The comb and wattle
Wattle (anatomy)
A wattle is a fleshy dewlap or caruncle hanging from various parts of the head or neck in several groups of birds, goats and other animals. In some birds the caruncle is erectile tissue.The wattle is frequently an organ of sexual dimorphism...

 are cut off of a young gamecock because, if left intact, they would be a disadvantage during a match. This process is called "dubbing." Sometimes the cocks are given drugs to increase their stamina or thicken their blood, which increases their chances of winning. Cockfighting is considered a traditional sporting event by some, and an example of animal cruelty by others and is therefore outlawed in most countries. Usually wagers are made on the outcome of the match, with the surviving or last-bird-standing being declared the winner.

The cockerel "waltz"

The cockerel "waltz", when the cockerel struts in a half circle with one wing extended down, is an aggressive approach signifying to females his dominance, and usually, the female will submit by running or moving away from the cockerel in acknowledgement. On rare occasions, the hen will attempt to fight the cockerel for dominance. Once dominance is established, the cockerel will rarely waltz again. When other cockerels are in the hen yard, this waltz is used significantly more and most cockerels will waltz together if dominance has not been established; either one will back off, or the two cockerels will fight. Note also that the cockerel will waltz again if he is taken out of the pen for a period, usually 24 hours, and put back.

Some more aggressive cockerels will drop and extend both wings and puff out all their body feathers to give the hens and/or other cocks the impression of a larger size, and charge through the hen yard like a bull.


Emblems

The cockerel was already of symbolic importance in Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 at the time of the invasion of Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 and was associated with the god Lugus
Lugus
Lugus was a deity of the Celtic pantheon. His name is rarely directly attested in inscriptions, but his importance can be inferred from placenames and ethnonyms, and his nature and attributes are deduced from the distinctive iconography of Gallo-Roman inscriptions to Mercury, who is widely believed...

. Today it is an emblem of France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, Wallonia and Denizli
Denizli
Denizli is a growing industrial city in the Southwestern part of Turkey and the eastern end of the alluvial valley formed by the river Büyük Menderes, where the plain reaches an elevation of about a hundred meters. Denizli is located in southwestern Turkey, in the country's Aegean Region.The city...

.

The fighting cockerel on a ball is the symbol for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club
Tottenham Hotspur F.C.
Tottenham Hotspur Football Club , commonly referred to as Spurs, is an English Premier League football club based in Tottenham, north London. The club's home stadium is White Hart Lane....

. The cockerel wears a pair of spurs which is a reference to the club's nickname. It has been present on their crest and shield since 1901. Additionally, the cockerel is the emblem of Turkish sports club Denizlispor
Denizlispor
Denizlispor is a sports club based in Denizli, Turkey. It is known by its distinct green and black colors. The club's branches include football, volleyball, basketball, table tennis, chess, and gymnastics...

, which was founded in 1966. Also, the supporters of the club are called cockerels.

Another sporting team that has adopted the cockerel as its emblem is the National Rugby League
National Rugby League
The National Rugby League is the top league of professional rugby league football clubs in Australasia. The NRL's main competition, called the Telstra Premiership , is contested by sixteen teams, fifteen of which are based in Australia with one based in New Zealand...

 team, the Sydney Roosters
Sydney Roosters
The Sydney Roosters are an Australian professional rugby league football club based in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. The club competes in the National Rugby League and is one of the oldest and most successful clubs in Australian rugby league history, having won twelve New South Wales Rugby League...

, in Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

. The Roosters' emblem is a cock with its comb fashioned to represent the Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre in the Australian city of Sydney. It was conceived and largely built by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, finally opening in 1973 after a long gestation starting with his competition-winning design in 1957...

.

Jesus College of the University of Cambridge features roosters on its coat of arms.

Additional images and media

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