Batay roosters - A passion and a country tradition


La “Batay-roosters” although legally prohibited, remains tolerated in the name of the patrimonial value (law of 1964). Raised, pampered and trained like real athletes, these roosters represent a real economic interest for their owners. This explains why even if the fights are bloody, there is only rarely a fatal outcome. The rooster must be able to fight several times, even several years.

With this in mind, the owner prefers to interrupt a battle, even if it means losing his bets, to preserve your animal. Because beyond the spectacle and the tradition, it is indeed the bets which are at the center of these demonstrations. With the stakes of the owners of course, but also the associated stakes of the spectators, the sums involved can go up to 400 or 500 euros.

Battles must obey strict rules and subject to a neutral arbitration. After the opponents have been let loose in the "round". At least a meter apart, the fight will revolve around rounds interspersed with breaks which allow to refresh the fighter, to clean him and to massage his muscles. The meeting will end either with a victory, either by abandonment if one of the two animals is too injured, either by a loser if there were no winners after two o'clock.

It is in the early stages that the battle is most spectacular. The attacks are aerial and the more precise shots, but for the neophyte, the show continues in the hall. The tension is growing, the cries of the punters become more strident and the atmosphere more and more energized reinforces the impression of participating in a privileged moment.

A rooster is considered a loser if it goes out thrice running round, if he refuse the fight or if he no longer in good condition to fight. A fight is considered null if none of the roosters has abdicated after 2 hours or if it appears that the roosters refuse the battle. It is then up to the owners to cancel the fight.

First step, every 8 days, 10 to 15 minute exercises or alternate jumps, loss of balance, races to strengthen the legs and wings and manual stimulation to learn to peck. Then every 15 days, small initiation fights from 20 to 25 minutes. Finally, in some cases, real private fights between roosters from different farms. It will take between 10 and 12 months so that the rooster is fit to compete.

Le gallodrome is dark, bathed in a strong scent of fried chicken. Around the “round”, against a background of strident “cocoricos”, the cries are heard, “30 against 10 on the Striped”, “A moi le jaune” _ In the center, the fighters jump, cross and tear in an astonishing mixture of lively colors. The crowd, especially male and overexcited, the atmosphere is overheated. The “batay-coqs” has started.

The first cockfights were undoubtedly imported to the island by the slaves and indentures of India who populated the meeting, bringing with them their rites and traditions.


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