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Young male chicken which has been castrated and fattened to improve its flavour and also make it artificially fat. The Romans discovered the merits of gelding a cock produced a plumper and meatier bird - the important point being that the meat stayed tender. They are generally killed when between six and nine months old, when the birds weighed between six and eight pounds.
For a period of about 10 years (during the late 1940"s and mid 50"s) a synthetic female sex hormone, diethylstilbestrol, was often used to fatten these chickens more quickly, but it turned out to be a weak carcinogen, and there were also worries about its effect on the virility of men, so its no longer used in most countries. Capons have disappeared from supermarket shelves.