Old English Game Chicken – Standard and Bantam

Both chickens, the Old English Game and the Old English Game bantam are unique as a breed. Not particularly due to the way in which this chicken looks. That is pretty standard. It is more the fact that this is a chicken that is still around!

Each chicken is developed with some purpose. It could be chicken for eggs. It could be chicken for meat. It could be for shows. Not with the Old English Game, though, because It was originally built for cockfighting! But it has been more than a century since the last time this breed was used in fighting.

Since that is illegal just about everywhere in the world, the chicken simply is not bred in the same quantities that it was in the past.

Despite this, the chicken continues to thrive. It is endangered, but this is not a breed that will be disappearing any time soon. Let’s look.

old English game
Photo By 4028mdk09CC BY-SA 3.0

Old English Game Facts at a Glance

Eggs40 per year
Egg Color White to tinted light brown
Comb TypeSingle
Weight Male:
Standard: 5 lb (2.25 kg)
Bantam: 24 oz (680 g)
Standard: 4 lb (1.8 kg)
Bantam: 22 oz (625 g)
Country of origin England

The Unknown Origin

We do not know the origin of the Old English Game fowl, sadly. In fact, nobody seems to know it. Obviously, this is a ancient chicken breed that came from England, but this is about as much as we know.

This is because this is the oldest chicken breed in the world. Well, of the ones that still exist. It is likely that the breed turned up in the UK shortly after the Roman invasion.

What we do know is that the Old English Game was bred for cockfighting and not much more. Even today, this is a chicken that is not going to be all that productive. This is, partly, why the use of the chicken breed is dying out. Yes. This is a show chicken and you can still see them at shows, but not as much as they were shown in the past.

It is a pretty niche bird nowadays.

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The Appearance of the Old English Game

If you look at the Old English Game, you can tell that this is a bird that has pretty much been bred for fighting. It is a nice and slender bird. It has what are, perhaps, the most powerful legs of all chicken breeds.

The wattle and comb are small too, which prevents them from being targeted. They have a small single comb with five points. Obviously, you are not going to be fighting these nowadays (please don’t!), but the features that made it suitable for fighting are still there.

To cap it off, the feathers of this bird are going to be fairly hard. This is a trait that some breeders tried to get rid of a few decades ago, but it didn’t catch on.

It turns out that the vast majority of people who want an Old English Game find that the defining feature is the feathers.

Old English Game Bantams

The Old English Game Bantams were created recently. They are not an ancient breed, like the large fowl.

There are no differences, except maybe in the colors, when comparing the bantams and the large fowl. They look identical, except the size, of course. Actually, Old English Game Bantam is a true miniature of the Old English Game.

The Old English Game roosters weigh 24 oz (680 g) while the hens 22 oz (625 g).

Will you Consume the Meat of this Chicken?

While we have not tasted Old English Game fowl ourselves, a lot of people had. Most would likely not consume Old English Game chicken again.

They claim that the meat is quite ‘gamey’. This means that it is going to taste a lot different to chickens that you may have tasted in the past.

This may or may not be something that you want but, to be honest, you probably wouldn’t want to raise this chicken solely for the meat. They are expensive to raise, and the meat simply doesn’t taste good.

Old English Game for Eggs

You are not going to be getting that many eggs from an Old English Game. In fact, you would be lucky to get 40 of them per year. This is less then an egg a week.

Yeah. It is always going to be a treat when the Old English Game lays an egg, but you are not going to get them with any sort of consistency, so you certainly wouldn’t want to try and build an egg flock that is completely filled with Old English Game chickens. It wouldn’t be worth the time or effort.

Old English Game for Shows

As we have said several times on this page; this is a chicken breed that is mostly used for shows. Although to get a show quality Old English Game, you are going to need to part with a rather sizable sum of cash.

However, there are shows pretty much everywhere nowadays, particularly if you are in England. If you have a show quality Old English Game, or even something that comes close to show quality, you are going to be ending up with a chicken that looks ridiculously beautiful. It is going to be a true addition to your garden.

Personality of the Chicken

This is a tough chicken to raise. If you have zero experience raising chickens, then this is not one for you.

The thing with this breed is that it is a chicken that has been bred to be aggressive. You probably do not want to have it in close proximity to any other chickens, particularly if the breed is different. It is going to try and start a fight and, yes, you may end up losing your chickens as a result.

If you do have multiple chickens in the same coop, then there needs to be a considerable amount of space between each bird, or there is going to be a conflict.

You may also find that that the chicken is a bit aggressive towards you. So, if you are looking for a chicken that you are looking that you can get up close and personal with, then this breed isn’t for you. In fact, you are probably never going to be able to get close to it.

Interestingly, despite the aggression towards other breeds, the Old English Game is a breed that seems to be more than happy to take other birds under its wing. Although it does need to be associated with them since they are an egg otherwise, of course, there will be conflicts.

Care Tips

The care tips for the Old English Game are pretty much the same as any other chicken breed. This means that you need to make sure that the majority of the feed is grain. Then you need to top this off with some fruits and vegetables.

One interesting fact about them is that they can be capable of long flight, so keep this in mind if you don’t have chicken coop with a high fence.

As we said before; you also need to ensure that the Old English Game chickens have a lot of space and is not kept close to other birds. Do not approach it too regularly either, because it will be aggressive towards you.

2 thoughts on “Old English Game Chicken – Standard and Bantam”

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