Game Chickens: What Are They?

Bantam Rooster
Bantam Rooster

Game chickens are not an actual breed of chicken, rather they are a group of various breeds that retain many of the features of wild chickens. If you are like most people, chances are you have never heard of the wild chickens that inhabit the jungles of Asia! Game chickens have these magnificent birds as their direct ancestors. These showy birds have impressive feathers, colors, and are strongly muscled. They are definitely not your typical barnyard chicken. Although historically popular as fighting cocks, the birds today are used mainly as show birds and for their meat.

The elegant roosters, or gamecocks, have a strong territorial instinct that leads them to defend their territories and hens against intruding males. They aggressively fight off these intruders in order to remain the only breeding male in the area. They will actually fight to the death. This is what made game chickens the preferred fighting chicken. Even the females have a stronger territorial urge than other types of chickens. The game chickens are more similar to their ancestral wild chickens in this regard than are domesticated chickens that have been breed to be docile in groups. As cock fighting is illegal in most regions of the world, these impressive animals have become popular as show birds. Many are considered heritage poultry breeds and are kept by fanciers of these ornamental chickens. Be sure to visit to find out more about raising these exotic breeds of chickens.

Cock fighting was a popular sport in many regions of the world in the past. Today, of course, most people are opposed to blood sports and the sport is legal only in a few places around the world. During the 1800s and before, game breeds were developed by crossing different fighting breeds in an attempt to create stronger fighters. Some of the more popular breeds are still found today, while others have nearly disappeared. One of the most popular fighting breeds in the United Kingdom was the Old English Game fowl. These birds come in a wide variety of coloration and although they are no longer used for battle, they are still an aggressive breed towards others of their kind. Roosters can never be kept together, and even the hens can be aggressive. These beautiful chickens have elegant plumage and muscular bodies. There are all white varieties as well as others that have a mix of feather colors ranging from golden to almost black.

Perhaps one of the oddest looking game chickens is the Modern Game fowl. This chicken has extremely long legs and stands in an upright position. It appears as though it is standing on its tiptoes just looking for a confrontation. Both a standard size bird and a little bantam version are found and are almost exclusively raised as ornamental birds. These active birds resist confinement, as do other game chickens. They have short, hard feathers and are not cold resistant birds.

The Asil or Aseel breed originated in areas of Pakistan and India and are large, beautifully plumed birds. Although aggressive towards other chickens, this breed enjoys human company. It is one of the game breeds that has been crossed with others frequently in the past to create superior fighting birds.

If you have an interest in raising fascinating game chickens or typical barnyard birds, be sure to visit for all your chicken needs!

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