Cwacks, the Cylinder chickens

Cwacks are large domestic birds used as pet and cattle in most of the Surface societies.

Basic Information

Anatomy

Chickens in the Cylinder are genetic descendants of the Earth chicken Gallus gallus domesticus. They were evolved toward a larger size and more muscular legs, making them completely unfit to flight while being excellent runners.   Compared to a regular chicken, Gallus gigantus has much larger legs, a longer neck, as well as much larger tail feathers. The body feathers, however, kept the same size and mostly grew in number.

Genetics and Reproduction

Like their Earth ancestors, Gallus gigantus' reproductive behavior is triggered by the amount of food available. As a consequence, domestic chickens, being well-fed by their owner, are virtually constantly in heat. A female typically lays an egg the size of a pint every other day, whether it has mated with a male or not.   Once a female has managed to lay five to seven eggs, or when food becomes scarce again, it becomes broody. The females of a group usually nest close to one another, while the few males stand guard around the nests during the 42 days incubation period. It is quite ill-advised to try and steal eggs when the brooding has started, unless willing to face a herd of furious beaks, claws, and feathers.

Dietary Needs and Habits

Chickens tend to eat everything. Although the bulk of their diet is grain, it is far from uncommon for a chicken to eat insects, or to peck down and eat small rodents or reptiles. In a farm, chickens are usually fed scraps from their owners, as well as large portions of grain. It is quite unsafe to enter the chicken pens during feeding time with an open wound, as the flesh may attract the birds, and their beak is particularly powerful and non-sterile.

Additional Information

Domestication

Although the Cwacks returned to a feral state during the first centuries after the Regression, they were initially part of the Worldship livestock. Thus, their second domestication by humans circa 1000 AR did not alter much of their traits.   However, over the years of selective breeding, an important number of specialized breeds with various aspects and functions were created.

Uses, Products & Exploitation

Depending on the breeds, tamed Cwacks have various functions:
  • Workforce :The larger breeds, especially the Esperan Whites and the Tamed Golden, with individuals reaching 60 kg, are often used by nomadic tribes and wanderers to carry some weight.
  • Meat and eggsource : most Cwacks breeds are raised for meat and eggs. Depending on the regions, the breeds vary in size: usually, the smaller ones lay more eggs and breed slightly faster, while the large ones can be killed for a village feast.
  • Feather source : The Nordic Pygmy is the most famous feather specialized breed. Although it is fairly small (1.2 m for 20 kg), it produces a huge amount of long and thin feathers, with colors ranging from white on its chest and legs, to bright red on its back. What is more, it is very tolerant to plucking, and regrows feathers in just a few months.
  • Aristocratic pet : While the Clown Cwack (1.5 m, 45 kg, grey-blue and brown) and the Blond Pygmy (1 m, 12 kg) are among the most popular, a large amount of Cwacks were selectively bred for their beauty, loyalty, or intelligence, to serve as affectionate companions to the higher end of People's societies.  
Genetic Ancestor(s)
Scientific Name
Gallus gigantus domesticus
Lifespan
20 years
Average Height
1 - 1.7 meters depending on breed
Average Weight
10 - 60 kg depending on breed
Average Length
1 - 1.8 meters

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