In Africa, a black hen or a gamecock is used. An African diviner sprinkles grain on the ground and when the bird has finished eating, the seer interprets the designs or patterns left on the ground.
This type of divination has been attributed to the famous philosopher Iamblichus, who died about the year 330 A.D., after restoring various mystic rites dating back to the times of the ancient oracles.
His followers did quite well until Valens became roman emperor of the East and began a campaign to stamp out oracles, soothsayers, astrologers, and even philosophers, since their tendency was to favor those practitioners of the mystic arts.
The Roman mystics traced a large circle on the ground and divided it into sections bearing the letters of the Greek alphabet. Grains of wheat were sprinkled on the letters and a white rooster was placed in the center of the mystic circle.
From then on, the sponsoring seer, or seers, watched while the inspired fowl moved from one letter to another, spelling out a message as it pecked at the grains. That message was interpreted as the answer to the question mutually chosen by the observing seers.