The rooster is a well-known domestic bird. They have a sonorous voice and a proud look – these roosters are remembered by people since childhood. Fairy tales were composed about roosters, they were the heroes of various folklore. But these birds are not as simple as they might seem at first glance.
The origin of the species and description
All male galliformes are called roosters. For example, a male partridge can be called a rooster, just like a male domestic chicken. In the ordinary mind, a rooster is precisely a domestic bird, which is distinguished by a crest, spurs and, as a rule, variegated plumage.
Roosters, along with domestic chickens, are divided into the following types:
- meat – produced for meat, are large in size, high body weight;
- egg – they should be attributed hens, but there are also special roosters that fertilize a flock of hens;
- fighting. Only roosters are used for this variety, since male domestic hens are more aggressive than females. Fighting cocks are large but light in weight. They are maneuverable, have long claws and spurs;
- decorative – such roosters are bred as pets, and they are distinguished by some special features – dwarfism, gigantism, special plumage, and so on;
vociferous – roosters bred specifically for singing.
The rooster is an artificially bred bird obtained by crossing wild chickens, partridges and other birds. Roosters were bred as birds that are not afraid of people, quickly gaining mass. Since ancient times, roosters have been valued as songbirds, which signify the arrival of the morning sun with their crowing.
Appearance and features
Due to the variety of breeds, roosters have a variable appearance. But in general, their constitution remains unchanged. This bird is on long strong legs, with weakly developed wings, on which it is either not capable of flight, or can fly for a short time. Roosters have a short but high neck, a small head and a distinct comb and “beard” — leathery processes at the bottom of the beak.
Many roosters have a noticeable tail. Feathers on it are elongated, have a softer structure. Thanks to their tails, roosters can attract females, like peacocks. Most breeds of roosters have spurs – fingers planted slightly higher than usual with sharp, strong claws. Roosters are larger and stronger than hens. They also differ in that they can sing loudly – crow. This is possible due to the special structure of the larynx of these birds.
Egging roosters are distinguished by a large crest on their head, which is often painted in a bright scarlet hue. Such a comb is so large that it can fall sideways. Such roosters weigh up to three kg., And meat-egg roosters can reach four kg.
An interesting fact: Regardless of the size and feeding of a rooster, its meat is a dietary product.
Roosters of exclusively meat breeds can weigh up to five kg. They are selective birds that often find it difficult to move around on their feet as they cannot bear the weight of their body. Meat roosters grow quickly, unlike egg breeds. There are also decorative roosters grown exclusively for exhibitions, competitions and amateur content.
- Brahma roosters are very large laying hens that are distinguished by thick plumage on their legs . This plumage is similar to “pants”;
- curly roosters. The name speaks for itself – these roosters are distinguished by curled hair, which forms real curls and curls;
- Millefleur roosters. These are real beauties who can boast of colored plumage. Also luxurious are their black tails, dotted with white symmetrical specks;
- paduan – roosters with a huge feather comb;
- Oryol pygmy roosters – outwardly very similar to female partridges.
Where does the rooster live?
Roosters are exclusively domestic birds. Theoretically, they can live in warm climates in the wild, but they are unlikely to take root in such conditions. Roosters are not frost-resistant birds, and the fact that they cannot fly makes them vulnerable to all predators.
Most of the population of roosters of all kinds are kept on industrial farms. Approximately 75 percent of the meat is produced from factory chickens and roosters, and about 70 percent of the eggs are produced in such factories. A small part of these birds is kept by private breeders – in summer cottages, in villages and home farms. An even smaller percentage are decorative chickens and roosters kept at home.
Roosters are completely undemanding to the conditions of detention. The breeds of these birds are bred in such a way that it is enough for them to provide a minimum of conditions for life. Meat breeds of roosters are often kept exclusively in cages where they are provided with food until the birds grow up and go to the slaughter.
Roosters in the household and on smaller farms are kept in more humane conditions. Roosters and hens are provided with chicken coops in which the birds build small nests, rest or produce offspring if the breeds are egg. Roosters also need green grass, for which there are grazing areas – fenced areas where birds can easily nibble grass.
What does a rooster eat?
Ordinary roosters are practically omnivores. They are promiscuous in food and are able to feed on both plant food and animals. On free pasture, roosters peck green young grass with a hunt, pick up seeds, dig up roots.
Roosters rake the ground with their paws, looking for the most delicious food. They can eat worms and insects, they can even chase lizards. Sometimes small mice become their prey. If a rooster has caught a large prey, then he throws it up with his beak and clucks, calling on other chickens to eat meat.
An interesting fact: Often roosters attack poisonous snakes, which are slaughtered with sharp claws and beak, and then enjoy eating.
Roosters do not need a lot of water, since they get most of the liquid from green grass. The roosters drink by drawing their beak into the water and throwing their heads back, thus swallowing it. Meat breeds of roosters are fed with various nutritional supplements.
In general, roosters are fed with the following components:
- vegetables and fruits;
- grains – oats, millet, barley, millet and so on;
- eggshell crushed into powder is important for the growth of chicks;
- you can add low-fat cow's milk for a calcium supplement to dry food;
- special vitamin complexes for farm birds.
Now you know what to feed a rooster. Let's see how he lives in his natural environment.
Character and lifestyle features
Roosters are flocking birds. Like many galliformes, there is only one adult rooster in the flock, which has the right to mate with all females, as well as several growing roosters. Adult roosters are expelled from the pack by the leader. If the owners of the pack do not put them away on their own, then weaker individuals will be constantly subjected to pressure from the leader.
The rooster controls a certain number of hens. He looks for food for them, shares random prey, announces the schedule of their day – the chickens go to sleep or to a watering place together. Roosters are not known for their complaisant nature – they are aggressive and lively birds, which is why they have become used for bird fights.
Interesting fact: Fighting roosters always fight to the death.
To a person, roosters are either indifferent or aggressive. These birds rarely show affection or interest towards humans. Most often, they seek to show their dominance by driving a stranger from their territory.
Roosters with their flock of chickens are territorial birds. They are not adapted to migration, so they prefer to always stay on one piece of land, as long as it is able to feed them. Roosters move after fresh food. They spend winters comfortably in warm chicken coops.
Roosters are extremely thermophilic. They freeze quickly in the cold, because they do not have any defense mechanisms against getting cold, unlike other birds, such as partridges, pigeons or crows.
Roosters are also prone to molting, which occurs in late autumn – early winter . Their top layer of hard feathers falls off, in place of which new feathers will grow by the next summer season. Roosters sleep with their heads under their wings and standing on one leg.
Social Structure and Reproduction
Hens lay eggs regardless whether they have a rooster or not. A rooster is needed only so that chickens appear from eggs. Roosters are very jealous of their hens and can fertilize them every day, so these birds do not have a specific breeding season.
In roosters, especially young ones, there is a moment of courtship. Roosters spread their wings, fluff their tails and begin to dance around the chicken they like. Sometimes they can lower the wing a little. There may be several dancing roosters, but in the end only the leader will get the right to mate.
The leader does not allow other roosters to mate with his hens. He fights them, and these fights often result in torn combs and broken beaks. Fatal outcomes are also not uncommon, because in battle the rooster also uses sharp spurs on its legs.
During mating, the rooster grabs the chicken by the comb or feathers on the neck to maintain balance. On the day he can trample up to ten layers, and the next day – to mate with the same hens.
Interesting fact: The oldest rooster was listed in the Guinness Book of Records – he lived for 16 years and died of heart disease.
Roosters rarely live to old age – most often they are allowed for meat. Young cockerels hatched from eggs also rarely survive, since there can only be one adult and strong cock in a flock. Roosters are bad fathers because they show no interest in offspring. In total, roosters live from five to ten years, depending on the breed of the bird.
Natural enemies of the rooster
Roosters don't live in the wild, so they have no natural enemies. Even the most common non-selective rooster would not survive in the wild, as they cannot fly or run fast, and their aggressive self-defense will not be enough to scare off predators.
Roosters are prone to infectious diseases, as well as colds and fungi. You can determine the health status of a rooster by the color of its comb.
- if the comb is red, bright scarlet or pink, the rooster is healthy;
- if the comb is light pink, then its blood circulation is disturbed, it is necessary to conduct an examination for diseases until the condition of the bird worsens;
- if the comb is blue or white, the bird is seriously ill and will die soon.
Most often, rooster diseases do not spoil their meat in any way. The exception is salmonella, which can be found in both eggs and meat (much less often).
Roosters can also be susceptible to the following diseases:
- tuberculosis – often chronic in many egg-laying hens;
- listeriosis, which begins with the usual conjunctivitis;
- pasteurellosis, a disease that affects the respiratory systems of birds;
- leptospirosis, which causes fever in roosters and reduces the ability to lay eggs in hens.
Roosters catch colds easily or pick up infections from open wounds. Therefore, you need to carefully monitor the health of these lively birds.
Population and species status
Roosters are of great agricultural importance. They provide both meat and fertilize eggs for the subsequent emergence of new hens. Russian poultry farms keep more than 1.22 million chickens, 40 percent of which are adult roosters. In US factories, this number exceeds three million – they are the leaders in breeding chickens and roosters.
Although Russia does not occupy a leading position in raising chickens, Russian chickens are distinguished by their large size. Without genetic interventions, the average weight of a rooster is 2 kg. With the help of hybridization, these sizes can increase by more than half.
Cocks for fights are practically not bred intentionally. This type of entertainment is recognized as illegal and inhumane in many countries of the world, as it is classified as gambling and provokes violence towards animals.
Decorative roosters are gaining great popularity in Europe. These birds are kept at home along with parrots and domestic pigeons. Particularly large decorative roosters are kept on specialized farms, where they are sold to private breeders to participate in various competitions. As a rule, decorative roosters do not have such a violent character as ordinary ones, which makes it possible to keep them at home.
The rooster is a colorful poultry that can often be found in private houses, cottages and farms. Thanks to genetic modifications, birds have a huge variety of breeds, which allows them to get even more meat from them. Since ancient times, roosters have been considered special birds that have always accompanied human life, and they continue to be close to humans until now.