Ruling the Roost - This Chicken Knows What's Up (Literally!)

Roosters are an iconic farm animal and kids love how they strut their stuff! But a lot about what we know about these birds may not be completely true...and could remind you a lot about your kids! 

Roosters are male chickens and are also known as Cockerels (in the United Kingdom and Ireland). While female chickens (hens) figure out their hierarchy - the pecking order (yes, that's a real thing!) - early on in life, roosters are constantly establishing their dominance. And that creates a great deal of the behavior that we see and associate with roosters (which is sort of true). So here's the myth-busting skinny on the rooster: 

MYTH #1 - Roosters only crow in the morning. Roosters can crow at any time of day and as often as they think they need to. Their need to crow is based on nature and nurture, their breed, their personality and establishing their territory and dominance.   

MYTH #2 - Roosters always make a roost on top of farmhouses. Actually both male and female chickens can work their way to those heights and make a nest to sleep. But, again in dealing with dominance, a male chicken would use that high location to oversee all the nests of his female mates so he could defend them from other males. So an elevated perch made sense and since males took advantage of the tops of farmhouses to make a roost, the name "rooster" came to be.

MYTH #3 - Roosters are just farm animals. No way, Jose! Roosters have been and are revered in a variety of religions and cultures all around the world starting as early as 2000 BCE in the Persian Empire. Roosters matter more than ever today. Starting in January, 2017 the Year of the Rooster began! The rooster symbolizes and is seen sacred for its energy, ambition (again, always looking to be on top!), punctuality (early-morning crowing!) and even its plumage (a guy's got to look good!)

Roosters are typically larger than hens and more colorful. They also have combs - a large piece of skin on top of their heads!

Roosters are typically larger than hens and more colorful. They also have combs - a large piece of skin on top of their heads!

ACTIVITIES

Visit a farm!

In the United States, kids the best chance kids have of seeing a rooster is on a farm. So go find one! It could make a wonderful day trip! Then observe what they do, how they move, when and if they crow. If your kids are old enough, try sketching them. Ask what they notice and how they compare to hens.  

Make your own Rooster!

With 2017 as the Year of the Rooster, you can find a lot of crafts for kids. My favorites are 1) making a rooster out of paper hands, 2) a seed mosaic and 3) painting a rooster with forks. I love the extra creative and educational lessons you can develop in each of these crafts! Hope you'll try them out!