QWe are looking for a new attraction for our village fete next summer (public opinion has stopped us running our sheep-racing any longer!) and someone recently suggested a cock-crowing competition. Do any of your experts know anything about such things?
AJeremy Hobson says; Such things have been around for a long time. In fact, the Yurlov Crower was, as its name suggests, used in the crowing competitions which were extremely popular throughout Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. According to records, there were, even as late as 1985, only 200 specimens of Yurlov poultry registered throughout Russia and several of these were kept at government poultry farms, without which the breed would have undoubtedly become extinct. Fortunately, as a result, the population in Russia and the Ukraine now numbers thousands rather than hundreds. It is, however, still rare in Europe and elsewhere.
Cock-crowing competitions were also taken very seriously in America and parts of Europe during the early 1900s. Basically, the idea of the competition was for a time-keeper to stand in front of each feathered contestant in order to note down the length of crow, the number of crows and the variation of notes in a given time – generally 15-30 minutes. In 1901, an anonymous writer described a crowing competition in the USA in the following way: “The mode of operation is to place the cages containing the roosters in a long row, and then one bird will generally set the others crowing. A marker for each bird, appointed by the organiser of the show, has as his duty to note carefully the number of crows made by his bird. Each competitor puts up one dollar and the winner takes all.”
Quite how great a crowd-puller a cock-crowing competition will be at your summer fete is another matter entirely!