Further to Paul's comment below, as a child we always kept chickens in
south-east England and when feeding them, called just as he describes
but we never called them chooks. I always thought it was in imitation
of the hen calling her chicks - but my rendition makes the first calls
shorter and sharper, more 'chueck' (not chuck) followed by a longer
'choooook'. First came across 'chooks' meaning chickens when in Sydney.
I know James has said he is not interested in the use of 'chook' in
the meaning of 'chicken' but this is for anyone is interested in the
etymology of 'chook' in that sense.
It seems to me that most people assume that the word chook is a
modification of the word chicken, but I am not sure this is the case.
I grew up in Ireland and while not a native Irish (i.e. 'Gaelic')
speaker, there were numerous Irish words which had survived into
common daily usage. As a little lad I (and everyone else in Ireland
who had chickens) would call the chickens for feeing by repeatedly
calling the word 'tioc' which is the Irish for 'come' and pronounced
'chook'. Nobody referred to the chickens as chooks, though: it was
just the word used to call them. The chickens were well acclimatised
to this and would know it was feeding time when they heard that call.
(Now that I think about it, amuses me to remember that people would
commonly stretch out occasional 'tioc' so that the effect was a
'chooooook, chook, chook, chook, chook, choooooook, chook, chook etc.
etc. with the result of actually sounding like a chicken.)
This bit is pure speculation but I imagine that the early Irish
keepers of chickens in Aus used the same call, and non-Irish speaking
locals may have thought they were calling the chickens 'chooks' rather
than calling TO the chickens to 'come' for their meal.
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