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Wild rooster (Red Junglefowl) on the Hawaiian island of Kauai

A rooster, also known as a cockerel or cock, is a male gallinaceous bird, with cockerel being younger and rooster being an adult male chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus).

The term "rooster" originated in the United States as a puritan euphemism to avoid the sexual connotation of the original English "cock",[1][2] and is widely used throughout North America. "Roosting" is the action of perching aloft to sleep at night, which is done by both sexes.

Sperm transfer occurs by cloacal contact between the male and female, in a maneuver known as the "cloacal kiss".[3] The rooster is polygamous, but cannot guard several nests of eggs at once. He guards the general area where his hens are nesting, and attacks other roosters that enter his territory. During the daytime, a rooster often sits on a high perch, usually 0.9 to 1.5 m (3 to 5 feet) off the ground, to serve as a lookout for his group (hence the term "rooster"). He sounds a distinctive alarm call if predators are nearby and will frequently crow to assert his territory.

Crowing

A young Berg crower at a c

A rooster, also known as a cockerel or cock, is a male gallinaceous bird, with cockerel being younger and rooster being an adult male chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus).

The term "rooster" originated in the United States as a puritan euphemism to avoid the sexual connotation of the original English "cock",[1][2] and is widely used throughout North America. "Roosting" is the action of perching aloft to sleep at night, which is done by both sexes.

Sperm transfer occurs by cloacal contact between the male and female, in a maneuver known as the "cloacal kiss".[3] The rooster is p

The term "rooster" originated in the United States as a puritan euphemism to avoid the sexual connotation of the original English "cock",[1][2] and is widely used throughout North America. "Roosting" is the action of perching aloft to sleep at night, which is done by both sexes.

Sperm transfer occurs by cloacal contact between the male and female, in a maneuver known as the "cloacal kiss".[3] The rooster is polygamous, but cannot guard several nests of eggs at once. He guards the general area where his hens are nesting, and attacks other roosters that enter his territory. During the daytime, a rooster often sits on a high perch, usually 0.9 to 1.5 m (3 to 5 feet) off the ground, to serve as a lookout for his group (hence the term "rooster"). He sounds a distinctive alarm call if predators are nearby and will frequently crow to assert his territory.

Roosters almost always start crowing before four months of age. Although it is possible for a hen to crow as well, crowing (together with hackles development) is one of the clearest signs of being a rooster.[4]

The rooster is often portrayed as crowing at the break of dawn ("cock-a-doodle-doo"). However, while many roosters crow shortly after waking up, this idea is not exactly true. 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. A rooster can often be seen sitting on fence posts or other objects, where he crows to proclaim his territory.

Roosters have several other calls as well, and can cluck, similar to the hen. Roosters 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.

Rooster crowing contests

Rooster crowing contests are a traditional sport in several countries, such as Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium,[5] the United States, Indonesia and Japan. The oldest contests are held with longcrowers. Depending on the breed, either the duration of the crowing or the times the rooster crows within a certain time is measured.

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 feathers 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, 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.

Cockfighting

A fighting cock for sale

A cockfight is a contest held in a ring called a cockpit between two gamecocks or cocks, with the first use of the word gamecock (denoting use of the cock in game, sport, pastime or entertainment) appearing in 1646.[6] after the term "cock of the game" used by George Wilson, in the earliest known book on the secular sport of cockfighting in The Commendation of Cocks and Cock Fighting in 1607. Gamecocks are not typical farm chickens. The cocks are specially bred and trained for increased stamina and strength. The comb and wattle are removed from 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.[7] Usually wagers are made on the outcome of the match, with the surviving or last-bird-standing being declared the winner.

There are religious significance and aspects of the rooster and the cockfight which are exampled by the religious belief of Tabuh Rah, a religious and spiritual cockfight where a rooster is used in religious custom by allowing him to fight against another rooster in the Balinese Hinduism spiritual appeasement exercise of Tabuh Rah, a form of animal sacrifice, where ritual fights usually take place outside the temple and follow an ancient and complex ritual as set out in the sacred lontar manuscripts.[8] Similarly within the religious schema of Christianity and the cockfight within a religious, spiritual and sacred context, there are numerous representations of the rooster or the cock and the cockfight as a religious vessel found in the Catacombs from the earliest period[9] as well as similar illustrations of cocks in fighting stance[10] taken from the Vivian Bible.

The cockerel "waltz"

Statue of a Rooster Cock at a park in South India

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. 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 or other cocks the impression of a larger size, and charge through the hen yard.

Religion and spiritual belief systems

Rooster

Since antiquity, the rooster has been, and still is, a sacred animal in some cultures[11] and deeply embedded within various religious belief systems and religious worship. The term "Persian bird" for the cock would appear to have been given by the Greeks after Persian contact "because of his great importance and his religious use among the Persians",[12] but even long before that time, in Iran, during the Kianian Period, from about 2000 BC to about 700 BC, "the cock was the most sacred"[13].

The rooster is often portrayed as crowing at the break of dawn ("cock-a-doodle-doo"). However, while many roosters crow shortly after waking up, this idea is not exactly true. 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. A rooster can often be seen sitting on fence posts or other objects, where he crows to proclaim his territory.

Roosters have several other calls as well, and can cluck, similar to the hen. Roosters 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.

Rooster crowing contests are a traditional sport in several countries, such as Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium,[5] the United States, Indonesia and Japan. The oldest contests are held with longcrowers. Depending on the breed, either the duration of the crowing or the times the rooster crows within a certain time is measured.

Capons

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