Rooster or as well known as cock fighting is a long-standing form of entertainment and especially organised during traditional festivals throughout Vietnam and still very popular. Apart from the gruelling scene I might see I wanted to go. For one thing the weather had been still grey in grey and drizzling rain nearly all day on the other I got a package of Digibase C41 developer which I wanted to try in an alternative process with X-Pro 100 Chrome film from Lomography.
The Viet Culture site states:
A good fighting cock must have the small head of a peacock, the body of a cormorant, deep eyes, long black upper legs, short lower legs, wings neatly wrapped like a shell, a long and a strong neck
Raising roosters for cockfighting is according to some of the owners a heavy investment. Not only in time and labour. The prospective fighting rooster will be chosen from young chickens very carefully. The new fighter will be treated individually. All food and drink, bathing, separating from hens and training in fighting positions will be a lengthy process. A fighting cock must be so acquainted with its owner that it will allow only the owner to hold him.
There are three main species where the cocks are chosen from. They are called "sacred chickens" or "combat roosters” by the fans of traditional gatherings. Black roosters with a red comb and a long neck are said to be full of stamina and will fight to the bitter end. White roosters with ivory-coloured feet and round yellow eyes seem to be on the hot-tempered end and their performance is like a "lightning strike". And than there are the "five-coloured cocks" coated in black, yellow and brown, with red and blackish blue feathers. They fight much more flexible but they might run away if they lose as well.
The fight will be hold in an approx. 1.5 m-wide ring walled by a 20 cm-high screen. All the spectators are gathering outside this ring and betting heavily as well. The owners of the fighting roosters are allowed into the arena to take care of their animals.
Before the fight begins there is an agreement on the terms among the owner of the roosters. The things to consider are size, weight and combat achievements. The roosters are kept in two separate parts of the ring until a signal is given to start the fight. The fight can be quite bloody as the fighters usually start with an attempt of some trial feints to get a feeling of their their competitor's reactions.
After that there can be mortal thrashings like double kicks against the rival's body, a cut to the neck using spurs, or pecking out the rival's eyes. The fight continues until one bird is defeated. I was told that there are two forms of compensation. One is that the loser pays an agreed-upon sum lo the winner; the other, the loser forfeits both money and the defeated bird.
More to find for all interested at the following sites: