Shamo Chicken Breed – This Is Why It Isn’t For Everybody

Discussing the Shamo chicken is going to be quite tricky. This is because it is recognized as one breed in US and Australia, but it isn’t a breed of chicken in Japan, as such. Instead, it is a collection of seven different breeds in Japan. There is a significant amount of overlap between these breeds, though.

You will see what we mean as we discuss this chicken in more depth!

Shamo Chicken Facts at a Glance

Eggs60 – 80 per year
Egg Shell Color Tinted shell
Temperament Flighty and Aggressive
Recognized VarietyBlack, Black Breasted Red, Dark, Wheaten
UseShow, Meat and Cockfighting (in some countries)
Comb TypePea comb (occasionally, walnut comb)
WeightMale Standard: 11 lb. (5 kg)
Male Bantam: 44 oz. (1.25 kg)
Female Standard: 7 lb. (3.2 kg)
Female Bantam: 35 oz. (990 g)
Country of originJapan, Thailand
Admitted to APA1981
Shamo Chicken Breed Facts

The Origins of the Shamo Chicken

The Shamo chicken is seven different chicken breeds that were developed in Japan. However, all of these breeds of chicken originate from Thailand.

This is actually where the name Shamo comes from. At the time, Thailand was known as Siam, which eventually became Shamo in Japanese.

Shamo chicken
Ko Shamo Chicken

All of these breeds of chicken have a designated status in Japan as ‘special chickens’. This means that they are important to the culture of the country.

Unlike a few of the other breeds of chicken that come from Japan, though, the Shamo chicken can be found all over the world.

All seven of these breeds of chicken are officially recognized in Japan. While only five are recognized in the United Kingdom.

In US and Australia there is only one breed called only Shamo chicken, with two varieties: standard and bantam.

Other domestic chicken breeds were developed from the Shamo chicken, those are the Yokohama chicken and the Phoenix chicken.

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The Look of the Shamo Chicken

Since we are talking about multiple chicken breeds here, we are going to talk about the similarities that these breeds have, rather than the differences.

The Shamo chicken are classed because they have a tall, upright posture. In fact, their body is so straight that you would swear that they are walking just like a human!

There is a reason for this posture, and we will come to that part shortly.

This is the second tallest chicken breed (Malay chicken is the first). The Shamo chicken can grow to about 30 inches (76 cm) in height.

They do no have any feathers on their face and throat.

Photo by dalemcneill

In Japan, there are three Shamo chicken breeds that stand out from the others.

You have the Chu-Shamo and the O-Shamo. These chickens are the largest of the seven breeds of Shamo chicken. You then have the Nankin Shamo. This is going to be the bantam breed of chicken.

As a Cockfighting Chicken

As we said, these chickens have an upright posture for a reason. This is because these chickens are bred to be cockfighting birds.

In Japan, cockfighting is still legal, and the Shamo chicken is the type of chicken that is commonly used for these events. As a result, they have a taller posture as it helps them to ‘fight’.

To this day, the main reason why these chickens are bred is for cockfighting.

Obviously, this doesn’t apply to the rest of the world where the birds have been exported to.

However, since the majority of them are bred in Japan, you really can see the Shamo chicken as a fighting chicken.

As a Show Breed of Chicken

Outside of Japan, the chicken is not used for cockfighting. Well, it shouldn’t be. Cockfighting is illegal in nearly every country that the Shamo chicken has been exported to.

Instead, this breed is going to be used as a show chicken.

As we said, there are seven breeds of Shamo chicken in Japan:

  • O-Shamo
  • Nankin-Shamo
  • Ygido
  • Yamato-Shamo
  • Ko-Shamo
  • Kinpa
  • Ehigo-Nankin.Shamo

Yes. These breed names can be a bit of a mouthful! Not all of them are officially recognized breeds outside of Japan.

However, to be honest with you, this doesn’t matter. This is because most chicken shows will feature just Shamo chickens as a category.

They will not be split up into their seven breeds. So, if one chicken breed is seen as overlapping with another chicken breed, this is fine. They can all enter the same competition.

As with most ornamental chicken breeds, you do not have to be showing them off to get enjoyment from them.

shamo chicken
photo by steve p2008

A lot of people outside of Japan will buy the Shamo chicken as an ornamental breed.

It isn’t really recommended for new chicken owners (see the final section as to why), but it can work.

Shamo Chicken Colors

Here in the US the things are very clear. You don’t need to remember all these names. Just because these breeds are so similar, the American Poultry Association recognizes only one Shamo chicken.

In US there are four color varieties of Shamo:

  • Black,
  • Black Breasted Red,
  • Dark,
  • Wheaten

The Shamo Chicken for Meat

A Shamo rooster can weigh up to 11 lb., while the hen can reach 7lb. However, we can’t imagine that it would make a great meat chicken breed at all.

As with all chicken breeds, it is likely that Shamo chickens will eventually end up on the plate, but they are certainly not going to be raised for this.

Remember, since these chickens are used mostly for cockfighting, they are going to be dying fairly frequently, and something is going to need to happen to them when that happens.

The Shamo Chicken for Eggs

While it is dependent on the breed, most Shamo chickens should lay between 60 and 80 eggs per year.

The vast majority of these are going to be used for breeding purposes. However, if you are not planning on breeding the Shamo chicken, then their eggs are of a reasonably decent size (assuming that you do not have the bantam version of the breed), and they should be pretty tasty if you want to eat them.

These birds should be fairly easy to breed. They can be quite broody, and the hens are excellent mothers. Remember, due to cockfighting, the owners will be getting through a lot of these birds.

This means that they need to be producing a lot of these birds. As a result, they have been bred to breed well.

Raising the Shamo Chicken

The reason why we do not recommend Shamo Chickens to new chicken owners is the fact that this is an incredibly aggressive chicken breed. Yes, some individuals can be docile, but most of the roosters are aggressive.

Once again, we have to bring the cockfighting aspect into the mix. These chickens have been bred to be fighters.

Their whole personality is about it. Even the Shamo breeds that were never destined for cockfighting still have a bit of a fight in them.

This means that raising multiple roosters can be incredibly difficult. Unless you keep them separated all the time.

But, we would never recommend it. The birds would be far too territorial, and this is just going to end up causing you a ton of problems.

The bird may even end up being aggressive to you. You will probably need to train your chickens not to act like this.

Remember, as far as they see it, you are just another animal invading their space and they will fight you.

This is why they probably will not make brilliant ornamental chickens for those that just want a chicken roaming around their yard. They are prone to attacking others.

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