Up close and personal with Louis’ wattle

Our oldest child, Mackenzie, and nephew Torger visited over the weekend. After lengthy conversations about the Achilles tendon, Portland real estate and how to score cutthroat cricket, our conversation naturally turned to roosters. There was one right outside the door, after all. Seeing an opportunity for a blog post, my husband, Michael, suggested featuring Mackenzie and Torger as Weekend Tenders. We would school them in the art of rooster-holding and introduce them to an anatomical anomaly—the wattle.

We made our way to the coop to begin our lesson. My husband, confident in the wrangling of chickens, swooped right in to capture the luxuriously feathered Louis, our current rooster. The hens clucked in alarm, and Louis showed some resistance, but Michael persevered. Soon Louis was having his wattle examined.

“It feels like a dried apricot.”

The wattle is the flesh, or caruncle,* that hangs loosely from the chin of certain fowl. Louis has an especially impressive specimen.

IMG_2308Scientists have determined that the wattle helps the rooster regulate its temperature.  A well-developed, bright red wattle is also an indication of sexual maturity and useful in attracting mates.

The video that follows chronicles Louis’ experience that day in the arms of curious albeit tentative weekend tenders. Watch carefully as Mackenzie receives the rooster and averts Louis’ gaze. And ignore the comment near the end that refers to ” blah blah blah nut sack . . .”

No roosters were harmed in the filming of this video.

*a naked, fleshy outgrowth, according to Merriam-Webster
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