Why Does a Rooster Have a Wattle?

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If you purchased your rooster before he was completely mature, then you may have noticed the red growth below his chin developing as he grew. It's normal for a new chicken owner to notice the wattle, which is the bright red growth under your rooster's chin, without really understanding what its purpose is.

The Wattle

The wattle is the red, meaty growth underneath your rooster's chin. It should be similar in color and consistency to the distinctive red comb located on the top of his head. Almost all roosters have some type of comb and wattle, though there are differences in the size, shape and color of these growths depending on the rooster.

Blood Flow

The comb and wattle have several uses, but the most essential one is for providing additional blood flow around the head. The wattle and the comb work to cool the bird's blood, helping to keep your rooster's temperature down during hot weather.

Mating

Large, brightly colored wattles and combs have been demonstrated to help roosters attract female chickens to mate with. The bright red color and size of the wattle helps catch the attention of the female when the rooster begins attempting to woo her.

Health

A rooster with a discolored, faded, blue or black wattle is probably an unhealthy rooster. If you notice your rooster's wattle is turning an unhealthy color, you may want to take him to your poultry veterinarian to have him checked out.

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    Author

    Jen Davis has been writing since 2004. She has served as a newspaper reporter and her freelance articles have appeared in magazines such as "Horses Incorporated," "The Paisley Pony" and "Alabama Living." Davis earned her Bachelor of Arts in communication with a concentration in journalism from Berry College in Rome, Ga.