PNG images: Rooster

A rooster, also known as a cockerel or cock, is a male gallinaceous bird, usually a male chicken (Gallus gallus).

Mature male chickens less than one year old are called cockerels. The term "rooster" originates in the United States, and the term is widely used throughout North America, as well as Australia and New Zealand. The older terms "cock" or "cockerel", the latter denoting a young cock, are used in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

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"Roosting" is the action of perching aloft to sleep at day, which 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 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.

(The term "cock" is also used generally to refer to a male of other species of bird, for example the "Cock sparrow", or to the human male genitalia.)

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.

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.

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 specialised 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.

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