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Breed Facts

Status:
Threatened

Use:
Show

Egg Color:
White to Tinted Light Brown

Egg Size:
Small

Market Weight:
3.5 – 4 lbs

Temperament:
Extremely active and flighty

Characteristics:
Very good table bird, once used for cock-fighting, breed has hardly changed in 2 millennia

Old English Game Chicken

Old English Game chickenGame fowl were introduced to England by the Romans in the 1st century A.D, and thus began a long history of cock-fighting for sport in England. As an affordable sport it attracted participants from all walks of life. Anyone could raise chickens and cock-fighting was extremely popular in England for centuries, until it was banned in 1849. Cock-fighting was even introduced into public schools in England in the early 1800s, to introduce and inspire the youth towards endurance, strength and courage as displayed by the fighting cocks.  The Old English Game chickens descend from the ancient fighting cocks and have changed little in shape or appearance in 1000 years.  Now raised for their exotic appearance, the breed’s history is imprinted in its appearance.

Game fowl have specific adaptations suited for their former life in the ring. The traditional Old English has a compact, muscular body, broad shoulders, with hard, glossy feathers. The feathers are tight to the body to prevent a competitor from grasping them in the beak. They also have large well-curved beaks, long necks with strong heads, fearless eyes, and indomitable spirit. The comb and wattles of male birds are trimmed early in life. This is referred to as dubbing. Old English Games come in a variety of colors, and the tail feathers of both sexes are broad and strong, making the tails both large and distinctive, especially the curving tail feathers of males. In the United States, Old English Games were selected for speed, and are smaller, narrower and softer feathered than their British counterparts. Today most Old English Game chickens are raised for exhibition. They may be aggressive to other fowl and must be confined appropriately. The females lay few eggs and although they are excellent brooders they can be overly aggressive mothers. Because of their excellent muscle distribution, Old English Game makes a wonderful table bird. They can tolerate extremes of climate, are good foragers and do well in free range situations; however, they have great stamina and can fly (and escape) very well. They are a long lived bird, with some living as long as 15 years or more.


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