In modern cockfights, the natural spurs on a gamefowl’s legs are removed and replaced with a sharp, knife-like weapon called a gaff. Fighting roosters use gaffs to attack and wound their opponents when in combat inside the pit. The ones who attach these deadly blades to fighting roosters are called gaffers. Learn more about them here.
What Does a Gaffer Do?
In the cockfighting industry’s livelihood chain, gaffers are positioned high up and treated akin to gods. This is because it is literally in the gaffers’ hands if a fighting rooster wins or loses. Gaffers attach the sharp, metal gaffs to the legs of the roosters and while it may look easy, gaffers say otherwise.
A lot of cockfighting arenas have special areas for gaffers where they can wait for their clients. Each gaffer has his own corner for his items, typically sleek attache cases that are filled with blades. In the Phillippines where cockfighting is a lucrative industry, gaffers get 1,000 PHP per gamefowl.
If a master gaffer is the one who attaches the blades, they can charge 3,000 PHP per rooster. If the fighting rooster wins the prize pool, the gaffer can take home 300,000 PHP and more, especially during big derbies and events. On a good day, a gaffer services up to 40 cockfights, easily making 40,000 PHP a day.
The cockfighting industry employs a lot of people, from breeders to betting managers to gamefowl doctors and more. One of the highly-regarded jobs in the industry is a gaffer, the person who attaches the sharp blades to the legs of a rooster.
Gaffers earn a lot of money, servicing up to 40 gamefowls per event, but it is not an easy task, and one wrong move could be fatal.