Rooster

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A rooster, also known as a cockerel, or a cock[1] is a male chicken (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[2], while in the United Kingdom and Ireland[3] the older term "cockerel" is more widely used. In North America, Australia and New Zealand "rooster" (a relative neologism) is almost always used, occasionally cockerel.[4][5] "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, but cannot guard several nests of eggs at once. He guards the general area where his hens are nesting, and will attack other roosters who 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.

The rooster is often portrayed as crowing at the break of dawn 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.

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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 and less active and tend not to fight.

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