A rooster, also known as a cockerel, a cock, or in some breeds, a stag, is a male chicken. Roosters vary greatly in appearance from breed to breed, but are often known to have bright, flashy colors, large combs, and a trademark crow. Roosters under one year old are called cockerels.
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 long hackle feathers on their necks, long saddle feathers on their backs, and often have large, curved sickle feathers on their tails, as opposed to the hens' short stumpy tails. In some breeds, like the Sebright, the rooster is feathered exactly like the hen.
In the wild and with domestic chickens, roosters are almost always polygamous. Roosters came from different places.
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, and are often portrayed 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, don't 'crow up the sun', and are usually on the ground when they crow, rather than atop a fence. The number of times a rooster crows per day depends greatly on the rooster's individual personality, his breed, and if there are other roosters around. With more competition, a rooster will often crow more. Crows can also vary both in pitch, and in the number of notes.(See: Crowing)
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