Sex is the key behind cocks dawn cacophony

November 3rd, 2008 - 1:33 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Nov 3 (ANI): Sex is the guiding factor behind that familiar dawn cacophony by cocks, according to a new study.

Behavioural ecologists have established that sex apparently makes chickens noisier and more likely to raise the alarm, in an effort to ward off a potential threat.

The loud noise is perhaps the chickens way to safeguard its unborn offspring, reports New Scientist magazine.

Researchers behind the study said that they wanted to determine whether the males squawk mainly to impress hens by putting themselves in a situation where predators might notice them, or the noise was aimed at protecting any future offspring.

In the study, led by David Wilson from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, researchers kept 30 cocks and hens separate for five weeks.

They then observed the estranged cocks and hens after pairing them up in individual enclosures for two weeks.

The males” screeches were recorded for two hours a day at sunrise - when predators are most active, a week before mating, during the time the pair were together and also for a week after.

It was found that the frequency of alarm calls skyrocketed by 30 per cent when the cocks were allowed to mate.

After a week of mating, the cocks still squawked 20 per cent more than before mating occurred.

The observations prove the fact that cocks are willing to put themselves in danger to protect their “investment” or future offspring.

According to Tommasso Pizzari at the University of Oxford, as the study was based on domesticated breed, it cannot reflect the results for other birds. (ANI)

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