Chicken Wiki

A red jungle fowl (Gallus gallus) rooster. Jungle fowl roosters are often called stags.

A rooster is an adult male chicken that is one year of age or older (see also cockerels, which are immature male chickens that are under one year of age and therefore not a rooster yet). Roosters that come from gamefowl breeds are call bullstags. Adult male chickens vary greatly in appearance from breed to breed, but are often known to have bright, flashy colors, large combs, and a trademark crow.


The appearance of individual roosters varies greatly, but in general, they are bigger than the hens of the same breed, have bigger combs and wattles, and often have large spurs. Also, unlike hens, roosters have pointed hackle feathers on their necks, pointed saddle feathers on their backs, and often have large, curved sickle feathers on their tails, as opposed to the hens' short round-feathered tails. In some breeds, the rooster is normally hen-feathered, which is a genetic trait that makes the rooster have low hormones and therefore not grow any male-specific plumage. This is rare trait and is only found in a few breeds, such as the Sebright.


Roosters are almost always polygamous, which means they have several hens as their mates. Only on an extremely rare occasion will a rooster take one hen as his mate instead of breeding all the hens present in his flock. Roosters will fight off predators that threaten the hens, often sacrificing themselves for their protection. Roosters are often subject to over-breeding the hens and being aggressive towards humans; the former being because the goal of all males is to carry down their generations, and the latter is because males will want to always protect their hens, and their raging hormones can cause them to see humans as a threat and a competitor in their territory. Cockerels are often much worse than roosters when it comes to over-breeding and aggression, which they may grow out of as they become older. However, not all males should be seen with this negativity surrounding them-there a large amount of males who are very docile and sweet in temperament.


"Cock-a-doodle.......doo? We need more to crow about!"
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In addition to the vocalizations listed here, roosters, as well as hens and chicks, have many, many other unique vocalizations, and variations of vocalizations. Also, each chicken has a unique voice. For example, each roosters' crow sounds different and is unique to that rooster. This often depends on breed. Lighter, smaller breeds will usually have a higher-pitched voice, while heavy breeds will usually have a deeper voice.


Roosters are probably best known for their crowing. They are often protrayed sitting atop a fence, crowing at the break of dawn. This is quite a romanticized version of reality however, as roosters can and will crow throughout the day and are usually on the ground when they crow, rather atop a fence or any other place with a vantage point. Roosters will typically begin crowing in the middle of the night, and continue on all day until they go to roost in the late evening. There are various reasons for a rooster to crow, but the most prominent one would be to tell other roosters that they have claimed the territory and they are still using it and will fight whoever challenges them. This also goes for predators, too-crowing is used to scare away any predators that are nearby, though it may also unfortunately attract predators since it is so loud. Roosters will crow when they see or hear something unusual that may be perceived as potential danger, and they will crow even more when there are other males around that would be considered possible competitors. The most dominant rooster crows first, and if a lesser dominant rooster crows before him, this will be taken as a challenge and therefore will have to be fought out. The number of crows that a rooster produces daily depends on his hormone level, age, individual personality, breed and aforementioned competition. Female chickens can also crow and will if they are the most dominant and there is no rooster present in the flock.

Crowing has been recorded at over 180 decibels, making the noise louder than a shot gun blast, which also makes chickens have the loudest bird call in the world. Due to the fact that extended exposure to sounds as loud as this could severely harm ears, roosters have adapted to possess an ability that instinctively closes their ears every time they crow by pushing a flap of skin in their ear. Hens also have this ability and their own ears will close whenever a rooster crows, albeit it does not muffle the noise as good as the males can.

Food Call[]

Roosters have many more vocalizations, and will cluck, quite similar to hens (although usually not in the same way). Roosters use a series of clucks that they use to call hens over to food (see video). thumb|right|250px|Rooster clucking to show hens food (bread)

Aerial Predator Call[]

Roosters will make an aerial predator warning call - a long, drawn out call to signal a the approach of an aerial predator. This is something mostly unique to roosters, as hens will almost never make this sound.


Another rooster vocalization is the cackle, which is a warning call. Hens often cackle after they come out of a nest, and the rooster(s) will usually join in with her cackling. They will usually cackle when they see a potential threat. Although the sound cannot really be described in writing, it can be described as a series of short, loud clucks, something like "guk guk guk guk", followed by a loud "ga-dawk!". The call will vary in frequency and speed with the perceived 'threat level'. Cackling will be faster and louder if the threat is perceived to be greater.

Trivia, Tips, & Tricks[]

  • Handling a rooster often will not only make him tame, but also help discourage aggression. Make sure not only he's treated with respect, but that he respects you as well, even if he's an extremly tame pet.
  • Roosters and rabbits although being prey do not do well together[1]