Friday, April 29, 2011

Sue Weaver: Something to Crow About

I love to hear our roosters crow at daybreak. But the truth be known, roosters crow the whole day through. Anything that captures a rooster’s attention can make him crow. That could be a good thing — or not.
Cockerels begin crowing between 4 and 6 months of age. They mainly crow to announce their presence and impress the fairer sex. Some breeds and individuals within breeds crow louder and longer than others.
Check out, for instance, the longcrower breeds. Longcrower calls last up to 60 seconds, but they’re also creepy (watch the videos — you’ll see). Longcrowers include the crested Kosova from Kosovo:

the Tomaru . . .

and Koeyoshi from Japan:

the Totenko from Korea:

the Denizli from Turkey:

and the Pelung from Indonesia:

And yes, American chicken fanciers breed these birds!
North American roosters sometimes compete in crowing contests. The National Rooster Crow is held in Rogue River, Oregon, the last Saturday of June every year (this year’s dates are June 24–26). At the first event, held on May 23, 1953, Hollerin’ Harry crowed 71 times in 30 minutes and earned his owner $50. A second event was held September 5 of the same year at which a rooster named Beetle Baum crowed 109 times in the same amount of time, netting his owner a cool $100. Beetle Baum’s record held for 25 years, until White Lightning crowed 112 times at the 1978 event; White Lightning’s record still stands.
Nowadays rooster enthusiasts pit their birds against one another at county and state fairs across the land. Handlers are encouraged to use any means to stimulate their roosters to crow. Touching the rooster by hand or with another object usually disqualifies the entry. Tossing food or other items into the cage to encourage the rooster to crow is usually allowed, as long as direct contact is not made between the rooster and his handler. Entries are scored on the number of times they crow during the allotted period of time, usually ranging from 10 to 30 minutes.
Roosters are housed in individual cages that are kept covered to simulate nighttime. When the shades come off, the clock starts ticking and the antics begin. Handlers go through wild gyrations to encourage their roos to crow, from arm flapping to leaping from leg to leg and clucking or crowing at the birds.

Some handlers bring along a rival rooster to taunt their entries; others show their rooster a pretty hen. It’s a fun event enjoyed by the roosters, their handlers, and the crowd. Maybe your favorite roo and you should try it, too?

A rooster’s call written in English is cock-a-doodle-do, said to be from Irish Gaelic: cuc-a-dudal-du. These and additional written words for roosters’ calls are onomatopoeic, meaning they’re spelled exactly the way they sound. Check it out: you can crow in 24 languages.

Bulgarian: kukurigu
Czech: kykyrykรฝ
Dutch: kรบkelekรบรบ
Estonian: kikerikii
Finnish: kukkokiekuu
French: cocorico
German: kikeriki
Greek: kikiriki
Hebrew: kukuriku
Hungarian: kukurikรบรบ
Indonesian: kukuruyuk
Japanese: kokekokko
Lithuanian: kakariekลซลซลซลซ

Montenegrin: kukuriku
Norwegian: kykkelikiii
Polish: kukuryku
Portuguese: cรณcรณrรณcรณcรณ
Romanian: cucurigu
Russian: kukuryku
Spanish: kikirikรญ
Swedish: kuckeliku
Turkish: รผรผ รผrรผรผรผ รผrรผรผรผ
Ukrainian: kukuriku
Vietnamese: cuc-cuc-cu

Sue Weaver sold her first freelance article in 1969. Since then her work has appeared in major horse periodicals, including The Western Horseman, Horse Illustrated, Chronicle of the Horse, Flying Changes, Horseman’s Market, Arabian Horse Times, The Appaloosa News, The Quarter Horse Journal, Horse’N Around, and The Brayer. She has written, among other books, Storey’s Guide to Raising Miniature Livestock, The Donkey Companion, and The Backyard Goat. Sue is based in the southern Ozark Mountains in Arkansas.


Arden said...

Great atricle and videos. Wish I could have a rooster, but we live in an urban area. Owners were creepier that the roos.

Ralph Goff said...

My Bantams sure do love to crow their squeeky little voices. And they will start up at night time any time I turn the light on in the barn. I used to have a big old white attack rooster with a good crowing voice too. You can hear him in my video at