The Asil or Aseel chicken is a breed of chicken that we would never recommend to new chicken owners. In fact, even experienced chicken owners would do well to steer clear of this breed. We will take a look at why throughout this page.
However, as always, we are going to start by talking a look at the facts about the Asil chicken, or what can this breed bring to the table, quite literally in some cases.
Asil Chicken Facts at a Glance
|Eggs||40 per year|
|Egg Shell Color||Tinted|
|Temperament||Docile, with |
|Recognized Variety||Black Breasted Red,|
|Use||Meat + Show|
|Comb Type||Pea comb|
|Weight||Male: 5.5 lb. (2.5 kg) |
Female 4 lb. (1.8 kg)
|Country of origin||India|
|Admitted to APA||1981|
The Origins of the Aseel Chicken
The Asil chicken is an ancient Indian breed of chicken. Although, oddly enough, there is no standardization of the breed in India. Although, we suppose that this makes sense.
This breed was developed more than 3000 years ago and it was meant to be a cockfighting chicken or game bird.
This means that there does not need to be any standardization. People will just mix in the breeds that work well for cockfighting.
In Europe and the United States, the Aseel chicken is a standardized chicken. However, due to the difficulty in raising this breed of bird, plus the fact that it doesn’t really serve any use outside of being for show, it is bordering on extinction in most countries.
This breed was named after the Arabic word Aseel, meaning “trueborn“ or “purebred” or “of long pedigree”. You know, back in those days, when the Aseel was developed, India was under Muslim rule.
The Look of the Asil Chicken and Recognized Varieties
The thing with the Asil chicken is that there there are so many varieties of the bird due to the lack of standardization that it is tough to say exactly what one looks like.
We can give you a general overview. However, do bear in mind that if you headed to India, you would find dozens and dozens of different Asil chicken looks.
They all share the same base DNA, but they will have been modified in various ways in an attempt to be better chickens for the cockfighting arena.
One of the main things that links the various forms of the Asil chicken will be the legs. These are going to be incredibly long and very, very powerful. This is because chickens will tend to use their legs a lot during cockfighting events.
But as we already said, here in the US there is one standardized version of the Aseel chicken.
In US the standard Aseel chicken was admitted to the APA in 1981. This chicken stands quite tall, it has short, tight plumage; and it has a rather compact body. The breasts will always be on the wider side. One of the main highlights of the look of their body will be the longer tail feathers that many of them have.
There are a variety of different colors for this breed, but the vast majority of them are going to be black or red.
In US, there are five different recognized varieties of the Asil chicken:
- Black Breasted Red,
Their comb type will always be a small pea comb, without wattles.
The maximum weight that an average Asil chicken will hit is 5.5 lb. (2.5 kg), although there are some versions of this breed in India that can hit 13 – 15 lb. (6kg-7kg), although those ones are going to be a lot rarer.
Aseel Chicken is Still Used as a Game Bird in India
The Asil chicken is purely bred for cockfighting in India. All of the birds that have been exported around the world have descended from cockfighting birds.
This means that they retain all the aggressive tendencies that the Indian birds have. We are going to talk more about those later on.
Of course, it is likely that you are reading this from a country where cockfighting is illegal, so you probably do not need to worry too much about the whole cockfighting aspect of the breed beyond the fact that it does make the Asil Chicken a bit more aggressive chicken breed, more than other birds.
The Use of the Asil Chicken as a Meat Bird
Even though in the United States and Europe, this can be used as a show bird, due to its rarity, there are not that many shows running. It is one of the more niche birds that people end up raising. However they are certainly used as a meat birds.
Even though there will not be enough meat on it to make it viable to eat. We are sure that the cockfighting birds do end up being eaten, but this is more so that something can be done with the carcass of the bird as opposed to anything else.
Due to the low number of eggs that these chickens lay each year, you would never be able to put together a viable flock of meat birds from them.
Oddly, despite the Aseel chicken not being a good meat chicken breed, a little bit of its DNA can be found in one of the most popular meat birds in the world, the Cornish Hen. This is because while the Aseel chicken is not a good meat bird, it is an incredibly hardy bird.
It can put up with some tough conditions!
The Aseel Chicken Eggs
The Asil Chicken will only lay 40 tinted eggs per year, so it is going to be awful as an egg bird.
However, some people will have the Asil Chicken in their flock anyway. This is because while they do not lay that many eggs, they can be used to raise the eggs of birds that do not get broody. The broody Asil hens are excellent mothers.
Obviously, you will need to keep them separated still. This is because the Asil bird may be a touch too aggressive towards any other bird in the coop.
Raising Asil Chickens
As we said before, raising this chicken is just going to be too difficult for most people. This is because it is one of those birds that hatches with an aggressive nature about it already.
The chicks always tend to fight with one another. This breed is known by having aggressive roosters, so if you put two roosters in the same coop, then they are going to fight to the death.
Since there is just so much fighting going on, it is tough for most chicken owners to deal with, particularly if they have a limited amount of space in which to keep the birds separated.
That being said, this bird is surprisingly friendly towards humans. Many people have formed bonds with the Asil chicken. It never gets aggressive towards humans at all.
Of course, this doesn’t really negate the fact that you would probably be raising more than one of them at a time, so you will still have to put up with the fighting.
This bird is surprisingly hardy. It is resistant to the vast majority of diseases that can befall other chicken breeds.