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    Old English Game

    Chicken breed

    Ornamental breed that can be tough for beginners with its' large size and possible aggressive nature..


    Authored by Sam Peterson

    Breed type

    Ornamental / Meat

    Egg color


    Pen or free-range?




    Old English Game quick facts

    Lifespan: =15 years

    Weight: Females (Hens) - ~6.5 lbs; Males (Roosters) - ~5.5 lbs.

    Appearance: Large in size with wide variations of feathering that hugs the body 

    Egg Production: 100-160 eggs/year

    Good for Beginners: No, they tend to be aggressive when interacting with other breeds

    History of Old English Game chickens

    The Old English Game is a storied breed with a unique history. They come in a handful of varieties and many colorations, but generally they are well-built, active birds. The breed has a history in English cockfighting, but after it was outlawed, this chicken breed became more of a specialty chicken. They retain many of the behavioral traits from their cockfighting days. They have been undergoing a revival in recent years and have found a strong, dedicated following from their owners. They are very strong birds with attractive musculature, a trait inherited from their fighting past which helps to make them good game birds. Their musculature and full builds make them attractive meat chickens for some as well.

    Old English Game temperment and good-to-knows

    The Old English Game is not seen as a beginner-friendly breed. This is for a handful of reasons, but most commonly their aggressiveness with other birds. As a former fighting breed, roosters are highly aggressive with other males. Even the hens can be regarded as temperamental. Chicks will need special care to avoid fighting one another and they generally cannot be kept with docile breeds. Territorial roosters can be noisy and love to battle one another. These birds are great flyers and much prefer the ability to free-range. Confinement can often stress them out and can cause fighting between the flock. The rarer bantam variety is generally seen as less aggressive, but this goes bird-to-bird. This breed is generally kept by experienced breeders for these reasons.

    These chickens are not necessarily star producers of eggs but can be counted upon to lay anywhere from 100 to 160 average-sized eggs a year. The shells are a cream color. They often go broody and make reliable, protective mothers. They are better known for their meat production, but some consider Old English Game meat a bit ‘gamey’. The majority of owners simply keep these birds for their striking appearances.

    Visual characteristics

    The Old English Game stands out immediately through their confident stature. They have bulky, athletic forms with an upright posture. A recognizable feature of this breed of birds is that their plumage is drawn tight to the body, an adaptation from their fighting days. Roosters sport tall, bright red combs that offer classic appeal. They have large, broad tails that complement their muscular bodies. The Old English Game comes in an extensive number of color variations that are sure to please any prospective owner and helps to make them great show birdsTwenty-eight are counted by the American Poultry Association, and nearly any color combination can be found amongst their ranks. Within the breed, there are two primary strains: the Oxford and Carlisle. The Oxford variations are a bit slimmer with more of an active disposition while the Carlisle is a beefier, squat variant. Bantam varieties of the Old English Game also exist but are less common than the full-sized variant.

    Health and care

    Caring for the Old English Game breed is largely a matter of allowing them the appropriate space to roam and preventing fighting. When given the correct environment, they are strong, healthy, and self-sufficient birds which can live more than fifteen years. In free-range situations, they are predator-savvy and have the strength and flying ability to generally keep themselves safe. They can supplement regular feed well through their foraging ability. They do well in the cold but do not enjoy extreme heat. They will need ample shade, but they would prefer to avoid especially hot climates altogether. Though they can be self-sufficient, general bird care will help your Old English Games to live their lives to the best extent. Keeping them clean and free of parasites is good practice for any keeper.

    Frequently asked questions about Old English Game chickens

    What care measures do Old English Game chicks?

    Baby Old English Game chicks require a warm and secure brooder and high-quality chick starter feed. With time, owners should properly socialize the chicks and provide them with time outdoors, as it will help them to acclimate to their natural environment.

    Does the Old English Game breed require a lot of space?

    Yes, this chicken breed needs enough space to roam, as they prefer a life outside of the coop. That said, most suburban backyards should provide enough space for an average sized flock.

    Is an Old English Game good for backyard flocks?

    No, this breed is known for its more aggressive and territorial nature. As a result, they struggle to share their space with other breeds.

    Are old English Games good game birds?

    Yes, these chickens are historically known as both good game hens and roosters because they possess desirable traits for game fowl such as agility, endurance and fighting instinct.

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