Cock (chicken)

From Academic Kids

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Rooster in grass
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Rooster amongst other chickens


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A "Barred Plymouth Rock" cockerel caught crowing.

A Cockerel (or in North America the Rooster) is a male chicken (the female being a hen), reputedly so named because it roosts over clutches of eggs. In fact, "roosting" is the action of perching aloft and is done by both sexes. "Cock" is the original name, still in use in most of the English-speaking world, but largely dropped by Americans. According to H. L. Mencken's The American Language, the euphemism "rooster" took precedence over "cock" in the United States during the Victorian era (and parts of the bird were similarly renamed, such as the "drumstick" for "leg") to avoid ostensibly sexually provocative language.

The cock is the (unofficial) national mascot of France, in particular for sports teams.

The sound made by the cock (onomatopeia) is "Cock-a-doodle-doo" in English, but may vary in other languages (such as the french "Cocorico").


A Capon is a castrated male chicken. In this procedure the testes of the cock are completely removed; a surgical procedure is required for this as its sexual organs are not external. As a result of this procedure certain male physical characteristics will develop, albeit in a stunted way:

  • The comb and wattles cease growing after castration, so the head of a Capon looks small.
  • The hackle, tail and saddle feathers grow unusually long.

Caponisation also affects the disposition of the bird; as a result, Capons are often quiet and docile, lacking the cockerel's normal tendency to fight. Also, as a result of the removal of the bird's testes there is an elimination of the male sex hormones thus lessening the male sex instincts changing their behaviour: the birds become more docile and less active.

This procedure produces a unique type of poultry meat which is favoured by a specialised market. The meat of normal uncastrated cockerels has a tendency to become coarse, stringy, and tough as the birds age. This process is not duplicated with the Capon. As Caponized males grow more slowly than their normal colleagues 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, juicier, and more flavoursome than regular chicken.

nl:Haan (kip)


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