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The spikes typically range in length from "short spurs" of just over an inch to "long spurs" almost two and a half inches long.In the highest levels of 17th century English cockfighting, the spikes were made of silver.

Remains of these birds have been found at other Israelite Iron Age sites, when the rooster was used as a fighting bird; they are also pictured on other seals from the period as a symbol of ferocity, such as the late-7th-century BC red jasper seal inscribed "Jehoahaz, son of the king", In some regional variations, the birds are equipped with either metal spurs (called gaffs) or knives, tied to the leg in the area where the bird's natural spur has been partially removed.

A cockspur is a bracelet (often made of leather) with a curved, sharp spike which is attached to the leg of the bird.

"it is not known whether these birds made much contribution to the modern domestic fowl.

Chickens from the Harappan culture of the Indus Valley (2500–2100 BC) may have been the main source of diffusion throughout the world." "Within the Indus Valley, indications are that chickens were used for sport and not for food" (Zeuner 1963) At first cockfighting was partly a religious and partly a political institution at Athens; and was continued for improving the seeds of valor in the minds of their youth, but was afterwards perverted both there and in the other parts of Greece to a common pastime, without any political or religious intention.

Historically, this was in a cockpit, a term which was also used in the 16th century to mean a place of entertainment or frenzied activity.

William Shakespeare used the term in Henry V to specifically mean the area around the stage of a theatre.

Ironically, the sharp spurs have been known to injure or even kill the bird handlers.

In the naked heel variation, the bird's natural spurs are left intact and sharpened: fighting is done without gaffs or taping, particularly in India (especially in Tamil Nadu).

Advocates of the "age old sport" Two owners place their gamecock in the cockpit.

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