Japanese researchers did some experiments to determine what triggers a rooster to crow. The scientists created a dark environment and kept those roosters in darkness for a 4 week time period. During the first two weeks, the roosters crowed at virtually the same time as they would if allowed to see the light in a non-controlled situation. However those same scientists took the experiment a little farther and found that though during the first two weeks the roosters habit was virtually unchanged, that it did change when that experiment was extended.
Since those roosters had seen no light at any time of day, it was determined that they do in fact have to be stimulated by a light to crow. In their first experiment the roosters crowed from habit at the same time each morning, after that experiment, they found that those same roosters would crow at different intervals during the day.
During the experiment the scientists set up a 12 hour interval, flashed lights and set off a rooster audio, thinking that any random light or rooster crow would set them off, but it had virtually no effect on them, except around the time of typical dawn. Once exposed to morning light, the roosters began crowing once again at the pre-determined time.
So the conclusion of the experiment is that the roosters have an inner circadian rhythm (the inner body clock), that keeps them crowing even when they see no light whatsoever. This is the same body rhythm that affects humans during time changes, low light months and sleep disorders.
This study was conducted by a team of scientists at Nagoya University in 2013 as part of a study to determine other animal behaviors, such as why cats meow and dogs bark.
In our own observation of at least 100 roosters here at Just Fowling Around, we have not seen any behavioral changes, nor that the crowing intervals are altered in any way. We have some roosters that will crow at any disturbance, while others will crow to announce one of the hens that has laid an egg, and others that crow at various intervals throughout a 24 hour time period.
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