Chicken Breeds: Asil or Aseel

Creative Commons-licensed image courtesy of Flickr user mjc2010
Creative Commons-licensed image courtesy of Flickr user mjc2010

The Aseel or Asil is an ancient chicken breed developed in India primarily as a fighting bird. This breed was developed between 2500 and 3000 years ago, and takes a lot of special handling.

Today there are hundreds of sub-types of Asil chickens in India. The colors vary widely by breed, in every spectrum of the chicken rainbow. The Asil are closely related to the Malay and other tropical Asian breeds of chicken.

Like other hot climate breeds, Asil are closely-feathered, with small (pea) combs, a very upright stance, and glossy feathers. They handle hot weather, particularly humid tropical summers, very well. However, they are not suitable for colder climates.

As a fighting bird, the Asil roosters must be kept separate from each other. This violence can even manifest when the birds are chicks. Asil roosters will fight to the death, as they have been bred for specifically this purpose. Asil hens can be aggressive, as well. Most Asil breeders keep the birds in pairs (one rooster and one hen), individually caged and kept apart from the others.

Asil are not very good at laying eggs. A hen will lay between 5 and 40 eggs per year. Interesting to think that this is probably the original production output for the domesticated chicken’s wild predecessors.

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